This week, IAVA’s research team began a month long tour to bring a voice to the growing population of female veterans nationwide. On Wednesday and Thursday night, we hosted female veterans at our conference space in Washington D.C. to hear what they had to say on their experiences both as a veteran, and female veteran.
This effort started with the overwhelming response we received when we launched IAVA’s first ever survey for female veterans. Nearly 1,500 females have completed the survey to date, and the majority also said they’d love to participate in a focus group to go more in depth on some of the topics the survey covered. And so our national tour was launched.
Over the last two nights, we’ve seen some emerging themes across the groups.
Our participants focused a lot on their challenges seeking health care at the VA and specifically the variation in the quality of care depending on what clinician they see. There’s been a range of praise and disappointment, but overwhelmingly an expression of frustration at not being able to make their own choices concerning who provides their care.
They overwhelmingly focused on the challenge of findings a support network once they left military service, and the lack of mentors both while in uniform and now as veterans who understand their experiences. They also highlighted some of the challenges they’ve faced as women veteran seeking looking to establish themselves as professionals in the workplace, only to have their service devalued, particularly for those still volunteering in a Reserve Component.
But they also stand proud in recognizing that all of the challenges they have faced have made them stronger, and while it can be demoralizing to not be recognized for the service they’ve provided because they don’t “look the type,” all of these experiences have made them more resilient.
On Monday, IAVA’s team heads to the West Coast. We encourage all women veterans of all eras to sign up. You do not have to be an IAVA member to participate.
- April 14 at Twitter HQ, San Francisco, CA
- April 15 at NextSpace HQ, Los Angeles, CA
- April 16 Hoplon Financial Group, Irvine, CA
- April 17 at Pat Tillman Veterans Center, Tempe, AZ
- April 27 at the National Able Network, Chicago, IL
- April 29 at the Center for Brain Health, Dallas, TX
- May 7 at IAVA HQ, New York, NY
These groups are confidential and will help to inform IAVA’s advocacy work and programmatic efforts, as well as the nation at large about the service and sacrifices of America’s female veterans.