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Women Veterans’ Fight for Equality Gains Momentum with Bipartisan Women’s Caucus Panel

WASHINGTON, DC (November 7, 2017) – Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Executive Director Allison Jaslow joined the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute and the bipartisan House Women’s Caucus for their annual Women Veterans Briefing in Washington D.C. Jaslow underscored the need for  IAVA’s groundbreaking She Who Borne the Battle campaign. Launched not long after the “Marines United” photo scandal revealed shocking harassment of women troops in the military, IAVA’s #SheWhoBorneTheBattle campaign is anchored by the Deborah Sampson Act and a quest to change the outdated VA motto that excludes women.
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Jaslow joined Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration,  Shurhonda Love, Associate National Legislative Director of Disabled American Veterans and Cindy Hall, President of the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute on the panel to discuss the need for increased recognition and improve services for women veterans.  

“More than 345,000 women have deployed in support of combat since 9/11, women are breaking down barriers in the military, but far too many women veterans still feel invisible. That’s why IAVA is  prioritizing women veterans this year,” said IAVA Executive Director Allison Jaslow. “Not only are women veterans lacking the recognition they deserve, but often the care and support for our unique needs. But we cannot change the landscape for women veterans  without leaders in Congress stepping up and taking action. IAVA is grateful for the opportunity to have a conversation with the bipartisan Women’s Caucus about the urgent needs of women who’ve served.”

The Deborah Sampson Act, a comprehensive bill to expand care and support for the over 2.2 women veterans, and that VA change its gender-exclusive motto.  Last week, IAVA sent a letter to Secretary Shulkin asking him to change the agency’s sexist motto before Veterans Day. 

In 1959, the head of what what then the Veterans Administration, established the agency’s motto as: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”  Each day that the VA preserves this motto, it ignores and obscures the needs of women veterans. IAVA first made this call in March well before scandals forced other institutions across the country to forced improve their cultures for women. 

She Who Borne The Battle: More than 345,000 American women have deployed since 9/11 and over 2.2 million women veterans live in the US total. Women are the fastest-growing segment of the veteran population and that trend will continue as the number of male veterans simultaneously declines over the next decades. However, many women veterans are left without recognition and the proper care to support their needs when they return from their service. She Who Borne the Battle will change this by providing a foundation of public awareness, local support and policy changes solely targeted at recognizing and supporting women veterans. This includes changing the exclusionary VA motto, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and for his orphan,” to a motto that includes “She Who Borne the Battle.” Learn more at www.SheWhoBorneTheBattle.org.


Veterans Month: In response to unprecedented national division and the politicization of veterans and the military, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) launched a campaign to connect and empower veterans to unite all Americans this Veterans Month. The leading voice of the Post-9/11 generation of veterans announced “I March For”, a digital campaign to bring all Americans together to march for veterans and to highlight the bonds between all Americans through their connections to our nation’s veterans. “I March For” invites veterans, active duty service members, as well as all civilians, to march on the ground or virtually in honor of someone, or an issue personal to them. Reminding all Americans of the sacrifices made by service members of all generations, and the potential they represent as leaders in times of adversity, IAVA will bridge difficult divides in America and create a shared bond around our nation’s veterans.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.