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
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.
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.