CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

‘I’m the proudest girl in the world!’: a WWII recruitment film

The Story

1941: For the first time in Canadian history the call goes out for women to enlist in women's divisions of the Army, Navy and Air Force. Recruiting films make training bases look like holiday camps and highlight the new-found glamour of a woman in uniform. By the thousands women answer the call. They leave behind roles as homemakers or department store clerks to become "Wrens," "CWACs" and "WDs." "Sure I'm proud! Can't you tell? This is the latest fashion for mademoiselle," declares an attractive young woman as she gestures to her army uniform. In this 1944 short musical film called The Proudest Girl in the World, the prospect of joining the army is made to seem an exciting option for young Canadian women during the Second World War. With a catchy tune and Hollywood-style choreography, the actresses in the film sing about the army jobs open to women, including accounting, stenography, typing and even "confidential work."

Medium: Television
Program: Film
Broadcast Date: Feb. 26, 1944
Director: Julian Roffman
Cast: Zephyr Hughes
Duration: 2:07

Did You know?

• Canadian women had a long history of organizing for home defence, but had not previously been allowed in the armed forces except as nurses. As the bureaucracy of the Allied war machine grew, women were needed for clerical and other jobs in order to release men for combat. In 1941 the Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWACs) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women's Division) were formed. In 1942 the Royal Canadian Naval Women's Service (Wrens) was formed.
• As in the First World War, women were not allowed in combat roles. They were given clerical, administrative, communications and support jobs.
• The Armed Forces recruited both single and married women, though they sometimes avoided young single women to avoid "moral issues." By the end of the war 45,423 women had enlisted.
• All three women's services were disbanded in 1946. Women were again recruited in the 1950s as the forces expanded during the Cold War.
The Proudest Girl in the World was a two-minute Hollywood-style musical produced by the National Film Board of Canada to encourage women to enlist. It was directed by Canadian Julian Roffman.
• Roffman went on to write, direct and produce B-movie horror and crime flicks such as The Bloody Brood, The Mask (a.k.a. Eyes of Hell), The Pyx (a.k.a. The Hooker Cult Murders) and The Glove (a.k.a. The Lethal Terminator).




On Every Front: Canadian Women in the Second World War more