According to the Department of Labor (DOL), there are nearly 2 million women veterans in the United States today–that’s 10% of the total veteran population! As we celebrate the bravery and integrity of our women veterans this month, there are several ways we all can lend our support, raise awareness, and help our sisters in arms.
Why Do Women Vets Need Our Help?
Many women vets feel invisible or may not identify that they may need help. And, with gaps in services available for women vets and their children, women soldiers leaving service and transitioning to civilian life are struggling.
Unlike their male counterparts, women vets are juggling women’s healthcare needs, mental health, and often domestic or sexual assault and violence—all while trying to find a job, secure housing, and tend to their family’s needs, on top of their own.
What you should know about women vets:
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, about one in five women have told their VA healthcare provider that they experienced sexual trauma in the military.
- The American Legion reports that 10% of homeless veterans under the age of 45 are women.
- The DOL shares that 84% of female veterans are of working age (17-64 years) compared to 55 percent of male veterans.
Three Ways to Help Female Vets
Women vets don’t always seek out help—and when they do, they often need immediate support.
There are a variety of ways we can proactively build advocacy and grow a network for these women in need, so when they do reach out, they have the services already in place to help.
Many women’s veteran support services offer extensive outreach and educational resources—helping female vets better understand what financial, housing, medical, and mental health services they may have available to them.
You can help further these efforts in a few simple ways, that bring lasting and beneficial impacts:
- Be the change you want to see
We can all be strong advocates for equity and respect for our fellow women soldiers and veterans. As we’ve discussed so often here in my blogs and resources, there have been some recent legislative advancements that are moving us in the right direction – but there’s so much more work to be done.
Be vocal in your communities and seek out local veteran’s agencies. Call your legislators.
Many veterans’ housing programs don’t allow for children. And so many women veterans are single parents. Additionally, women have unique medical needs that are sometimes missing from VA healthcare coverage. Reproductive and women’s health services, for example, aren’t always available in VA facilities and hospitals.
We can all raise our voices to help make sure these basic health and housing needs are met.
- Give your time and support
Committing to sharing your time and attention is a simple and deeply effective way to help women veterans across the country.
Not sure where to start? There are hundreds of charities that are always looking for help. A few organizations that you can look for in your communities include:
- American Women Veterans Foundation
- Department of Veterans Affairs – Center for Women Veterans
- F7 Group
- Fatigues To Fabulous
- Grace After Fire
- Military Women in Need
- Operation Reinvent
- Service Women’s Action Network
- She Served
- Women Marines Association
- Women of the Waves
- Women’s Army Corps Veteran’s Association
- Women’s Overseas Service League
- Women’s Trauma Recovery Program
- Women Veterans Connect, Inc
- Women Veterans Rock
- Shop the Women’s Veteran’s Gift Guide
A fun and festive way to support women vets who are now working as small business owners, is to put your holiday shopping dollars to good use.
The Women’s Veterans Alliance recently compiled a shopping guide featuring a host of while also finding special and unique gifts for your friends and family! Check out this year’s holiday gift guide here.
Your purchase dollars go to a very good cause: The Alliance’s mission is to connect global women veterans and share gifts, talents, resources, and experiences to help boost career opportunities and wellness resources.
For more information
Be sure to read more about the inspiring women who have contributed to our historic armed forces in my blog archive. And reach out to share your own story or ask questions. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me any time!