Unsung Heroines – Canadian Museum Salutes the Women of the World Wars

Nurses with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in Normandy, July, 1944. (Image source: Government of Canada)

Nurses with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in Normandy, July, 1944. (Image source: Government of Canada)

World War Women sheds new light on the sacrifices of the ordinary wives, sisters and mothers who shattered the glass ceilings of their day while helping to deliver victory.”

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A poster for the Canadian Women’s Army Corps.

CANADA’S NATIONAL war museum is celebrating the considerable role women played in the Allied victories in both the First and Second World Wars.

World War Women, which opened last week in Ottawa, runs at the museum from now through April of 2016. It explores the numberless contributions women made on the front lines and at home during the two global conflicts.

“Canadian women performed crucial and often dangerous tasks during both World Wars, from manufacturing munitions to leading liberated prisoners through an Indonesian jungle,” say organizers of the exhibit. “The museum is proud to present their stories in the special exhibition World War Women”

The displays will use interactive multimedia technology along with historical artifacts and archival material to showcase this incredible yet often overlooked chapter of history.

Veronica Foster, aka "Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl", was a Canadian version of Rosie the Riveter. (Image source: Library and Archives of Canada)

Veronica Foster, aka “Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl”, was a Canadian version of the fictional American icon Rosie the Riveter. (Image source: Library and Archives of Canada)

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A Royal Canadian Air Force poster aimed at Canadian women.

Among the women highlighted in the exhibit are performers like ventriloquist Connie Laidlaw of the Victory Entertainers; Alice Wong, who made Sten guns at a foundry outside Toronto; as well as Mary Adelaide Cooney, a combat nurse with the Allied army in the 1943 Italian Campaign.

According to museum officials, World War Women sheds new light on the sacrifices of the ordinary wives, sisters and mothers who shattered the glass ceilings of their day while helping to deliver victory.

“Women broke through gender barriers to become munitions workers, truck drivers, mechanics and more,” said Stephen Quick, director general of the museum. “This new exhibition tells these stories through their voices and looks at the many ways in which women threw their energies into the war effort, often while grieving husbands, sons and brothers killed in battle.”

For more information, visit the World War Women website.

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