Women in the Military
- Click here to read the full GAO report (PDF Form).
- Text "REPORT" to 69866 and be the first to know when IAVA's Issue Report on Women in the Military launches in August.
In recognition of the outstanding contributions of women to the military, IAVA has testified on Capitol Hill about the unique challenges facing our newest generation of female veterans, ranging from access to VA health care to disparities in PTSD diagnosis for male and female soldiers in combat. Read below to learn more.
- Read about the role of women in the current wars
- See a history of women in the military in pictures
- Meet Tammy Duckworth, OIF Veteran
- Meet Monica Brown, Silver Star Recipient
- Listen to IAVA Member Veteran Carolyn Schapper's congressional testimony about women warriors and PTSD
- Watch the trailer for the acclaimed documentary LIONESS about female combat veterans in Iraq
- Spread the word- tell a friend to come learn more about women in the military
I. Women Serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Beyond
Today, women are serving in the military in greater numbers than ever before.
- 20 percent of all new recruits
- 15 percent of the active-duty military
- more than 11 percent of the forces deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan
Although excluded from official "combat roles," there is no clear front line in the current conflicts. Many female troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to direct fire while serving in support roles, such as military police, helicopter pilots, and truck drivers. Even those who don't travel outside the security perimeter of a military base are constantly threatened by mortars and rockets. As one female veteran put it, "Life in Iraq and Afghanistan is combat."
Over 100 women have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 600 have been wounded in action. And like their male counterparts, many are also returning home with invisible wounds, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as a result of combat experiences.
II. The History of Women in the Military
III. Meet Tammy Duckworth, OIF Veteran
Since coming home from Iraq, Tammy has remained active in the public arena, regularly speaking to veterans’ groups, testifying before Congress on issues of medical care for returning veterans and running for a U.S. Congressional seat. She also continues to serve her country as a Major in the Illinois National Guard.
From 2006-2008, she served as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In March 2009, her leadership on veterans’ issues reached national attention. Tammy Duckworth was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as the Undersecretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the VA, and eagerly awaits her confirmation hearing next month. She is a proud IAVA Member Veteran.
IV. Meet Monica Brown, Silver Star Recipient
While attached to Charlie Troop, 4/73 Cavalry, 18-year-old Monica Brown found herself under fire outside a remote village in Afghanistan. The rear Humvee in her convoy had rolled over an Improvised Explosive Device and was now in flames. Bullets ricocheting off her vehicle signaled the start of an ambush.
Instead of taking cover, however, Monica grabbed her medic bag and ran through gunfire to help her fellow soldiers. As mortars and small arms fire continued to rain in, and the ammunition in the burning Humvee started to explode, Monica tended to one of the injured soldiers, shielding him from harm.
Because of her actions, and the courage of the rest of her unit, the two injured soldiers in the Humvee survived their wounds that day. For her extraordinary bravery, Monica was awarded the Silver Star. She is only the second female since World War II to receive the nation’s third-highest combat honor.
V. Women Warriors And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
On March 24th, IAVA Member Veteran Carolyn Schapper testified at a hearing before the House Veterans Subcommittee on Disability & Memorial Affairs about the disparities in PTSD diagnosis for male and female soldiers in combat.
During her deployment to Iraq from October 2005 to September 2006, Carolyn participated in over 200 combat patrols as a member of a Military Intelligence unit with the Georgia National Guard. Read her prepared testimony here or watch it online. Note: Windows Media Player required.
VI. Women Combat Veterans in LIONESS
In their efforts to document the changing role of women in the U.S. military, directors Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers produced the critically-acclaimed documentary LIONESS about a group of female support soldiers-mechanics, supply clerks and engineers-end up fighting alongside the Marines in some of the bloodiest counterinsurgency battles of the Iraq war. Click here to learn more or watch the trailer below for a preview.
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