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Today’s Female Veterans: Feeling Invisible and Disconnected

According to an article from “Social Work Today,” female veterans have myriad

underaddressed, gender-related concerns from their time in the military that follow

them after discharge.

Women comprise a growing minority of veterans as more are entering the military,

serving their country, and being honorably discharged. While the restriction of women

being assigned to combat units has been lifted, women always have served in this

predominantly male arena, but their roles have expanded over time — and so have their

unique issues.

Sexual Assault During Active Duty

While the Department of Defense (DOD) acknowledges that sexual assault exists in the

military and is committed to zero tolerance, it continues to be an underreported crime.

Reports indicate that growing percentages of women did not report military sexual

trauma (MST) because they feared reprisals from their coworkers and were concerned

that their accusations would not be believed.

Bias Against Mothers Women

who have served in the military face the same difficulties

that confront many of today's working mothers—the delicate balance between work

and family is no easy task. However, for female veterans, there may be an even more

unforgiving reality for them when they return to civilian life.

Health Concerns

Women veterans have unique health care requirements compared with their male

counterparts. Their chief complaint was that their battle equipment was usually ill

fitted. Gear was designed to fit men, resulting in injuries to their necks, backs, and hips

that continue to cause them pain even years later.

Homeless Female Veterans

Estimates show that female veterans are at least twice as likely to be homeless as

nonveteran women. In addition, women veterans are more apt to be single parents,

with other issues associated with homelessness that may include unemployment, poor

mental and/or physical health, and substance use disorders.

As we rally for the rights of any disenfranchised group, we must seek ways to organize,

lobby, and demand ways to overcome the challenges confronting today's women

veterans and make their difficulties visible.

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