Supporting our Women Warriors
During his Second Inaugural Address, President Abraham Lincoln pledged America’s solemn obligation “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” More than 140 years later, the spirit of Lincoln’s words are very much alive.
However, women have joined the military’s ranks—serving in new roles, in greater numbers than ever before, and in combat. Like their male peers, women veterans have shown enormous dedication and courage in defending their country. But too often, they do not receive the same support, within the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
While new positions and doors of opportunity have been opened for women in the services, they still face significant, unique challenges. Career progression is often slower for women and they are underrepresented in the military’s senior ranks. Challenges for women with young children and a perceived lack of opportunity for advancement have led many women to leave the service early in their careers. Inadequate military health care for women and staggering rates of sexual assault and harassment are also hindering some female troops from continuing their military careers. These challenges are not only bad for servicemembers’ well-being and reflect the military’s failure to properly protect its own, but they have a substantial impact on the mission readiness of the overall force.
When they come home, female veterans are confronted with new challenges. While it has made strides in recent years, the VA is still underprepared to pro- vide adequate care to the surge of female veterans coming to its hospitals and clinics. In addition, women veterans face significant barriers when entering the civilian workforce, and homeless rates among female veterans are on the rise. Given the lack of support services for our women veterans, this comes as no surprise.
Female troops and veterans deserve the same access to high-quality health care, transitional resources, and benefits as their male counterparts. After honorably fighting abroad, they should not have to wage new battles here at home. In order to fully honor their outstanding contributions to the military and service to the country, much more must be done to support our women warriors.
Click here to read the complete Issue Report.
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