She Who Borne the Battle

IAVA’s Campaign to Fully Recognize and Improve Services for Women Veterans

She Who Borne The Battle
For the last 14 years, IAVA has fought and won monumental victories on behalf of veterans. This year, we launched one of our most important campaigns ever: to recognize and improve services for women veterans.

October 12, 2018: IAVA Takes Action to Change VA Motto with Formal Petition.  As “Women Serve” Monument is Dedicated in NY, IAVA Again Calls on President and VA Secretary Wilkie to Change Outdated VA Motto. Read the petition HERE and cover letter HERE. Read the press release HERE.

The Problem

IAVA Soldier and girl
Over 345,000 women have deployed since 9/11. While the number of male veterans is expected to decline in the next decades, the population of women veterans will increase. Women continue to take on new roles and responsibilities throughout the services. Yet, their service and sacrifice is often overlooked.

Though the quality of care and services provided by the VA for all veterans needs to dramatically improve, this is particularly critical for women veterans. The number of women seeking care at the Department of Veterans Affairs has increased by 80%. While the VA has created a firm foundation of care for women veterans, it is past time that the VA, with the support of Congress, bring that foundation to scale.

Not only do women veterans encounter barriers to care and benefits, they do so in a culture that often does not accept them or fully recognize them as veterans. The time to act is now. Improving access to care and benefits while changing the underlying culture to one inclusive of women. This glaring problem is best exemplified in the gendered and very outdated motto that greets every person, male and female, who walk into the VA:

Department of Veteran Affairs
“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and
his orphan.”

IAVA’s extensive best-in-class research has shown the scope of the challenge.

She Who Borne

IAVA Has A Solution

IAVA WomenIAVA launched the She Who Borne the Battle campaign to right this wrong and transform the landscape for women veterans in our country forever. Learn more about the campaign (PDF).

We need to take the American people to a place where women vets are envisioned just as readily as men. Congress must act to not only bring equality to VA healthcare for women, but also resource-sensible services like childcare. “Access to Quality Care for Our Veterans” should be gender blind, which in the case of supporting single parents, can impact men just as much as women.


  1. Foster Culture and Leadership Change in the VA
  2. Strengthen Data and Transparency Through Research
  3. Recognize and Support Women’s Peer Programs
  4. Increase Initiatives to Better Inform on Existing Programs
  5. Require High Level of Community Care Cooperation

We will change the VA motto to represent ALL veterans.

Phase 1: Storm the Hill

Storm The Hill 2017 logo

IAVA Members and Staff will bring She Who Borne the Battle to Capitol Hill October 1 – 5, 2018. Learn more about Storm the Hill.

Phase 2: The Deborah Sampson Act Introduced In The Senate

IAVA joined Senators Tester and Boozman to introduce the Deborah Sampson Act, bi-partisan, comprehensive legislation to improve recognition and services for women veterans. IAVA members are working tirelessly to make sure the bill is quickly passed and signed by the President. Track the bill’s progress HERE.

Who is Deborah Sampson

Phase 3: Testimony Before Congress

IAVA Chief of Staff Allison Jaslow testified before Congress on March 22, 2017 on the importance of recognizing and providing services for women veterans. Watch her testimony here:


Phase 4: Thousands Call On Representatives To Support The Deborah Sampson Act

Urge Congress to cosponsor and work to pass the Deborah Sampson Act (S. 681), bipartisan legislation to fully recognize the service of women veterans and improve the services our government provides them. Tell Members of Congress to pass the Deborah Sampson Act now!

Learn more about the Deborah Sampson Act here.

Phase 5: 18 Veterans and Military Service Organizations Partner with IAVA on the Deborah Sampson Act

IAVA is proud to partner with 18 leading VSOs and MSOs on the Deborah Sampson Act. Learn more here.

Phase 6: Monthly Vettogethers

Monthly Vettogethers nationwide in support of the SWBTB campaign

Phase 7: IAVA Gives Voice To Veteran Mothers On Mother’s Day

IAVA Celebrates Women Veterans on Mother’s Day


Phase 8: IAVA And Veteran Congresswomen Introduce House Bill

The only two women veterans in the House of Representatives, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), joined Rep. Esty (D-CT) to introduce the Deborah Sampson Act in the House. Watch Members of Congress and IAVA leaders speak on the historic introduction of the bill here:


Phase 9: Deborah Sampson Act Moves Forward in Senate

IAVA’s Executive Director Allison Jaslow testified on the Senate version of the Deborah Sampson Act in front of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, moving the bill forward and picking up momentum.

Phase 10: IAVA draws attention to women KIA’s on Memorial Day

IAVA launched its 6th annual #GoSilent digital activation campaign to remind Americans to honor the fallen on Memorial Day. This year, IAVA is drawing special attention to the nearly 200 women who have been killed in action since 9/11. To pledge to #GoSilent, click here:

Upcoming Phases:

*No plan survives enemy contact. Therefore, these phases lines and elements may (and likely will) change. And we will be victorious. It’s only a matter of how soon or how long it takes. And your help and support is key. Be sure to check back often for updates and join the fight to ensure you get the latest changes and alerts. Together, we will change history forever.*

Deborah Sampson Act Partners

Deborah Sampson Act Partners

Senate Bill Co-Sponsors (S. 514)

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ)
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA)

House Bill Co-Sponsors (TBA)


In Partnership With

Soldier On film

Join the Campaign



Get Help Now — Rapid Response Referral Program

To be connected to one of our veteran transition managers, email and please include your name, location, and the issue you are seeking assistance with. Once you reach out, someone will be in touch within one business day to begin assisting you.

Rapid Response Referral Program

Get Help Now — Veterans Crisis Line

If you are experiencing a crisis you should immediately call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255.

Veterans Crisis Line

Discuss She Who Borne the Battle on IAVA’s Virtual Veterans Hall Now