Females have been in the army in Canada for over a century, but still constitute only a tiny percentage of its forces. Serving in the infantry is an even less common position for a Canadian woman. Sisters in Arms introduces us to Kimberley Ashton, a combat engineer, Corporal Katie Hodges, and Corporal Tamar Freeman.
Ashton is a gentle-looking person with a slow, quiet way of talking -- the type one would expect to find in a hospital tending to children or injured soldiers. Having already been posted to Bosnia, she prepares to go to Afghanistan. Even the way she talks about being in the army is hardly tough, until she describes finally laying down the law with disrespectful male colleagues. There's a certain determination in her voice that betrays a stronger mettle.
Corporal Tamar Freeman is exactly the opposite at face value -- a tough-as-nails medic who performs operations and keeps a steel jaw through bomb blasts and tending to burned children. She acknowledges that her frame is tiny and carrying heavy equipment in the Afghan heat can be exhausting, but what one lacks in size can be made up for in skill: with firearms. However, when she has time to recount dragging a friend's body out of a torn-up truck, she becomes vulnerable.
Corporal Katie Hodges also has a daredevil attitude about her, but turns out to be idealistic in her aims. She holds on to hopes of helping women and girls in Afghanistan to have better lives.
We see these soldiers express sincere hopes of helping another country get out of a bad situation, and worry about their families breaking apart. We dip in and out of their private mental lives and their working environments, where many of their colleagues give them a tougher initiation than their male counterparts. Sisters in Arms takes an up-close-and-personal look at the very slow-moving process of incorporating women into the army that's facing many obstacles, even in this 'liberated' age and nation. They are at the front-lines of multiple battles, both in Afghanistan and within the ranks of the Canadian military.
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