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Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan became the highest ranked women in the Combat Arms

A pioneer for women in the Combat Engineer trade, Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan became the highest ranked women in the Combat Arms in a ceremony held on June 15.

“Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan continues to be a trailblazer for women in the Canadian Armed Forces. Her promotion and assumption of the demanding role of Operations Chief of Staff of the Canadian Army is an example of our diverse and equal-opportunity military and the hard work and perseverance she brings to the job. I am proud of her accomplishments and am confident that her wealth of experience as a combat arms leader will serve her well in her new role,” said Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.

Over the course of her 30 year career in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Carignan has deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Golan Heights, and Afghanistan as the Commanding Officer of the Task Force Kandahar Engineer Regiment.

“Brigadier-General Carignan is a true role model and has proven herself to be an exceptional leader of men and women. As the Defence Champion for Women I congratulate Brigadier-General Carignan on her promotion and posting. This will inspire our serving women and those considering a career in the CAF. Her success is yet another demonstration that doors previously closed to women in the Canadian Armed Forces are now fully open,” said Rear-Admiral Jennifer Bennett, Director General, Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct and Defence Champion for Women.

Carignan holds several degrees including a Degree in Fuels and Materials Engineering obtained at the Royal Military College of Canada; a Masters of Business Administration from Université Laval; and a Masters of Military Arts and Science from the United States Army School of Advanced Military Studies in Kansas.

She recently received the prestigious Gloire de l’Escolle medal which recognizes graduates of l’Université Laval who have stood apart in their achievements professionally and in their service to the community.

With her promotion, this trailblazer will assume the role of Chief of Staff, Army Operations. In this role she will provide strategic staff support to the Commander of the Canadian Army to direct, manage, synchronize and sustain the Army. She will also be in charge of managing the Army Staff on behalf of the Commander of the Canadian Army.

“With thirty years of experience in the Canadian Army as a soldier, a student, an educator and a leader, Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan is now ready to contribute to our nation’s defence as a General Officer in the Combat Arms. With her excellent record of service in Canada and internationally, she will continue to serve and lead in her new position as Chief of Staff, Army Operations at the Canadian Army Headquarters,” stated Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander Canadian Army.

As of February 2016, women make up 15 per cent of the CAF, both Regular Force and Primary Reserve combined, totally 9,5459 women in the Regular Force and 4,404 in the Primary Reserve. Amongst allies, the CAF is “highly regarded” as being on the forefront of military gender integration. These initiatives are a result of Parliament passing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 and the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1985.

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MIshall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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