(BPT) - Today, more women are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces than ever before. Because of this, more women are transitioning from active duty to civilian life every year, and these women face unique challenges during that process.
Here are a few interesting facts about women veterans that you need to know.
Women make up 15 percent of active duty troops.
This June marks the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act, which permitted women to serve as permanent members of the military. Today, more women are enlisting in our Armed Forces and are serving in a greater variety of roles than ever before. This also means that in the future, there will be more female veterans.
A unique transition.
According to the Women's Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD of the VHA at Boston University, female veterans face unique challenges not only during deployment, but during the transition back to civilian life. Like their male counterparts, many women veterans return with physical wounds, PTSD or even problems with substance abuse or depression. In addition to these challenges, female veterans may also face difficulties readjusting to life at home, finding social support and career planning. Many of the services for transitioning veterans have unintentionally been geared toward men.
Identifying as a veteran.
Many female veterans are reluctant to call themselves veterans if they have not experienced combat. So often in public, female veterans find themselves mistaken for the spouse of a service member, even when wearing U.S. military apparel.
Organizations taking notice.
Fortunately, organizations like WoVeN (Women Veterans Network) at Boston University are working to convene peer support groups specifically for women to empower them with resources, information and education to improve their quality of life. WoVeN was founded by researchers from the Women's Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University. Through two grants totaling more than $720,000 from the Walmart Foundation, WoVeN continues to expand their support to help build strong connections among women veterans — enhancing wellness, relationships and career satisfaction.
Open for business.
More female veterans are starting their own businesses. In fact, according to the Small Business Association, over a five-year period, the rate of veteran-owned female businesses increased by more than 300 percent. Organizations such as the Coalition for Veteran Owned Business (CVOB) are making it easier for all veterans to start their own businesses.
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