The lived experience of women veterans of the Canadian Forces




Buydens, Sarah Louise

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Research was conducted using hermeneutic-phenomenology and semi-structure interviews to explore and understand the lived experience of women veterans of the Canadian Forces. Women recently entered Canadian military combat positions, taking on a profession historically exclusively occupied by men. Due to the lack of research on women veterans of the Canadian Forces, knowledge was drawn from research about women in nontraditional work, American paramilitary and military occupations, as well as an historical review of women’s involvement in the Canadian Forces, to provide context to the research themes. Participants comprised of 6 women veterans who described 11 essential and 4 significant themes. Unique contributions to literature include essential themes such as, Slut or a lesbian, take your pick, Proving I’m good enough, Trying to be treated better, Got some support, Visible and singled out, Perpetual outsider, Given gender based tasks or opportunities, and Women demeaned. Suggestions for future studies and implications for counselling practice are discussed.



Canadian military, Combat, Counselling, Department of National Defence, Equality, Gender discrimination, Harassment, Hermeneutics, Military, Navy, Army, Air Force, Nontraditional career, Nontraditional job, Nontraditional work, Occupational gender stereotypes, Occupational gender segregation, Paramilitary, Phenomenology, Semi-structured interviews