Words without Deeds: A Toxic Culture of Leadership and Gender Integration in the Canadian Forces, 1989-1999
In 1998, the Chief of Review Services (CRS) assessed the Canadian Forces (CF) had fell short in reaching “full integration,” a goal which the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) gave the Canadian military in 1989. The CRS noted, from interviews of servicewomen, that leaders would say “the right thing,” yet leaders seemed “unaware of problems” and appeared to “condon[e] negative behaviours.” Therefore, in the 1989-1999 phase of gender integration, leaders did not express a commitment to gender integration in word and conduct. In fact, in the CF culture of leadership during the 1990s, inaction, breach of discipline, ambivalent attitudes, and deceit were common practices. This thesis explores how a toxic leadership culture rife in the Canadian military during the 1990s (also known as the “decade of darkness”) contributed to the shortcomings of gender integration, in that it let the development of a climate antagonistic to women that infiltrated all ranks of the CF, and affected the behaviours of subordinates and peers, both male and female.