Some books are catalysts. Shake Hands with the Devil was one. For 2017, that book is Out Standing in the Field. In her memoir, Sandra Perron describes her experience of the Canadian Military - one of the most important institutions of our nation. What she has to say is exactly what the top brass has been paying lip-service to for years, and doing nothing to improve.
In 2016, the Auditor General's Report noted that the military had no strategy to recruit women, even though they are required to meet a target that 25% of the uniformed personnel be women. According to Statistics Canada, 1,000 members of our military say they have been sexually assaulted in the past year.
In her revealing and moving memoir, Sandra Perron, Canada's first female infantry officer and a member of the Royal 22e R#65533;giment - the legendary "Van Doos" - describes her fight against a system of institutional sexism. Though repeatedly identified as top of her class throughout her training, she was subject to harassment by her male colleagues.
Her military experience, however, wasn't all negative. Through two deployments to Bosnia and Croatia, Perron forged lasting friendships with men and women, serving her country with courage and compassion, and her determination helped pave the way for women's inclusion in the Armed Forces.
Out Standing in the Field is the story of a soldier who refused to let her comrades or her country down, even while serving a military institution that failed her repeatedly. Beautifully written, Perron's memoir is a testament to her fortitude and patriotism, and serves as proof that the spirit of a true hero cannot be bent or broken.