Women have served in every major American conflict since the Revolutionary War. Female veterans who have served our country deserve to receive the resources and support they have earned through their service and sacrifice.
“Soldier On: Life After Deployment” is a new documentary which follows three female soldiers as they struggle to readjust to civilian life. The women face a number of challenges, including the difficulty of renegotiating relationships with friends and family, substance abuse, psychological depression, physical health problems, PTSD, and employment difficulties.
Although the percentage of female veterans in America has more than quadrupled since the 1970s, women often find that VA medical centers aren’t equipped to serve the unique needs of female veterans. While male and female veterans experience similar challenges surrounding the transition into civilian life and the trauma of combat, among women in the military there is a significant need and demand for resources that are specifically designed for female veterans.
A number of initiatives have emerged to serve both female veterans and active duty women alike. Highlighted below are some of the more recent campaigns that are making an effort to serve female veterans and soldiers.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has teamed up with Women Veterans Interactive (WVI) to launch a social media campaign surrounding the state of our country’s female veterans. Here are several areas around which their collaboration will raise awareness:
Products and Equipment for Women. For women who serve, the frustration of dealing with ill-fitting gear is real. In addition to physical limitations, research suggests that wearing ill-fitted and uncomfortable gear has a negative impact on female soldiers’ cognitive performance and ability to make decisions. The integration of women into all military combat positions — including elite special operations — has put increased pressure on the Army and Marine Corps to solve issues of ill-fitting body armor in particular.
Operation Dress Code, a regional clothing drive for women veterans, began operations this month in San Diego. The clothing drive collects women’s clothing and professional workwear to help female veterans represent themselves with confidence and authenticity in the workplace.
Resources for Homeless Female Vets. There are an approximately 55,000 homeless women veterans in America. By and large, supportive housing programs for veterans aren’t suited to the needs of women veterans and veterans who are raising children as single mothers. Molly Potter has spent the last year spearheading fundraising efforts for organizations like Final Salute, a Virginia-based nonprofit that advocates for homeless female veterans and their kids.