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 This glaring problem is best exemplified in the gendered and very outdated motto that greets every person, male and female, who walk into the VA: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
We need to take the American people to a place where women vets are envisioned just as readily as men. Not every GI is a Joe, but our culture sadly still thinks that way. 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.
Foster Culture and Leadership Change in the VA
Strengthen Data and Transparency Through Research
Recognize and Support Women’s Peer Programs
Increase Initiatives to Better Inform on Existing Programs
Require High Level of Community Care Cooperation
We will change the VA motto to represent ALL veterans.
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.
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!
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: iava.org/gosilent
*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
Senate Bill Co-Sponsors
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen. Patty Murphy (D-WA)
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Sen. Margaret Hassan (D-NH)
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Sen. Sherrod Bown (D-OH)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
House Bill Co-Sponsors
Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT)
Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN)
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)
Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)
Rep. Aumua Radewagen (R-AS)
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA)
Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR)
Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH)
Rep. Lance Leonard (R-NJ)
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA)
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY)
Rep. Gregorio Sabla (D-MP)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA)
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
To be connected to one of our veteran transition managers, email firstname.lastname@example.org 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. https://iava.org/rrrp-contact-us/
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.
Discuss She Who Borne the Battle on IAVA’s Virtual Veterans Hall Now
This Memorial Day, remember to
Honor the Fallen
Go Silent this Memorial Day at 3:00 PM EDT
This Memorial Day, IAVA will lay a wreath before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, and later pause for a moment of silence at 3PM EST. Gather your friends and family across the country and pause with us for a national moment of silence to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.