MCpl Emily Reiman – Supplied Photo
MCpl Emily Reiman doesn’t miss a beat when she’s asked who her hero is.
“She’s always been my inspiration, her and my Nana when she was alive,” says Reiman. “Just absolutely one of the strongest people that I know. I try to think of myself ‘Who’s the toughest woman?’ It’s definitely my mum. She just has that can-do attitude, and she’s always the one that’s telling me to press. If you believe in something to really work for it.”
Reiman, originally from the Niagara Falls area, has been in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since 2014.
“I was actually in policing before this. I was in law enforcement, my whole life prior. This is actually my second career and I just decided I wanted to do something where I can kind of travel and move around. I have been able to do that and have some amazing experiences.”
This year marks the two-year term of Reiman’s time as the Military Co-Chair of the 4 Wing Defence Women’s Advisory Organization (DWAO), which she says is growing and features an array of associates.
“I think we’re up to about 60 members now, which is really neat. Men and women, and different ranks as well. NCM’s, officers; it’s a wide variety of people, which is really nice because you want to have different opinions and perspectives and different ways to tackle issues.”
Reiman says some highlights of what the DWAO has been able to accomplish in her time as co-chair includes uniforms for expecting members.
“I’m proud of the whole team because we have made a lot of change over the last two years. Some of the things that are implemented now, even prior to the campaign coming out about the lactation rooms, we were already implementing that at 4 Wing. We were kind of ahead of the curve there,” detailed Reiman. “The other big thing is making changes or proposing changes for the maternity uniforms, which has never been done. That was pushed up to national and it actually was approved. Now they have a working group that’s looking into the maternity uniforms and how to make them better for all the elements.”
According to the Canadian government, women make up about 16 per cent of all Regular and Primary Reserve Members of the CAF as of 2020.
Reiman says looking forward, she hopes the DWAO continues to be a strong voice for those currently serving and those who may in the future.
“One of the issues is retention. The problem with that is it’s not a straightforward answer, and a lot of equity issues are not a straightforward answer. I guess what I would love to see, and it is happening, but it’s always slow like any changes, is really just a more equitable future for everyone in the CAF. I say everyone, because, of course, you want to see women get ahead, but you want to see everyone on an even playing field, and that’s going to take time.”
October marks Women’s History Month in Canada. The theme for this year is “Women Making History Now.” CAF Defence Champion for Women Rear-Admiral Rebecca Patterson says women across the country are doing just that.
“As the Defence Champion for Women, I want to emphasize that women in defence are recognized as national leaders who are spearheading defence goals. They proudly serve Canada, fulfilling significant roles in the military and the public service alike. Over the years, women in defence have boldly challenged stereotypes and barriers in the workplace. Their determination, dedication, and professionalism have driven positive change within the Defence Team, across Canadian society and around the world. This month is one to celebrate their accomplishments and to inspire women, and all Defence Team members, to continue reaching the highest levels in our organization.”