Female Veterans Face Their Own, Specific Challenges

All military veterans face challenges when it comes to returning to civilian life, but as the conservative media outlet Newsmax.com pointed out in a recent story, the growing number of female veterans must cope with some unique ones.

Soldier holding folded American flag

Soldier holding folded American flag

The article  by Tony Piccoli, in noting the rapid growth in the number of female veterans in the past 15 years, focuses on five of these:

  • Invisibility

“Many returning female vets have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either can’t fathom what they’ve been through, or discounts their military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male veterans,” Piccoli wrote. “Even as their numbers grow, these women have sometimes struggled to find and connect to one another and build mutually supportive veteran networks of the kind that are more established and taken for granted among male veterans.”

  • Falling through cracks

“Women say that sense of female invisibility can persist even in the institutions created to help the military population. Benefits and service programs operated by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs “tend to lag behind in serving women,” The Wall Street Journal reported, citing the 2014 DAV study and other sources.”

  • Self-isolation

“Women veterans will sometimes place themselves beyond the reach of help,” according to the story.
“We have found that women veterans underutilize VA care, largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services,” the agency’s chief consultant for women’s health services wrote in 2013.

  • Unemployment

The DAV report found unemployment among recently discharged female veterans running more than a point above jobless rate for male service members in 2013.

  • Homelessness

Female veterans were no more likely to suffer from PTSD than male veterans, according to a 2012 VA study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. Yet they were the fastest-growing segment of the veteran homeless population, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported in 2011.
 

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