With its “no-exclusion policy,” Canada is also recognized internationally as one of the few militaries to have officially removed all barriers to women. Canadian women have served and died on the front line in Afghanistan, and make up four percent of the roles in Canada’s so-called combat arms divisions, and 14.8 percent of military roles overall.

Karen Davis, a gender integration expert for Canada’s armed forces, acknowledges that women have to adapt to the “masculine warrior culture” of combat units.

But when Canadian men and women were sent to fight on the front lines in Afghanistan, fears that women’s presence would hurt all-important unity did not bear out, she said.

“What we learned when we went into Afghanistan is that Canadian soldiers are trained to do a job, no matter if they were men or women,” Davis said, adding that proper and rigorous training before deployment helped make this happen.