The women veterans’ corner, I would like to touch on a subject that is near and dear to women’s hearts that are getting out of the military. Why leaving the military is harder for women veterans.
Transitioning classes offered by the military are often ineffective and unhelpful for women transitioning out. More than 30,000 women leave the military every year. There are 2 million women veterans in the United States and Puerto Rico according to data from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It is projected by the year 2040, women will make up 18% of the veteran population.
As more women transition from active duty to civilian life, they face unique challenges. Some of these include, lack of a community or peer support, lack of childcare assistance and financial instability. While some of these affect all veterans, the issues are compounded for women because of cultural stereotypes and gender pay gaps.
Civilians often fail to recognize Women as Veterans, leading to a mistrust between women veterans and their civilian counterparts. About 67% of women veterans find their financial transition from the military difficult compared to 47% of men. More women veterans experience a loss of income during transition as compared to men, according to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
Women who show strong leadership skills are perceived as intimidating by the public. The military has a direct communication style that doesn’t fit into the civilian world. The societal penalty for directness is higher for women than men. Women who are assertive and strong are seen in a negative manner, but men are called leaders.
More women are apt to be single parents than male veterans, making stability and housing problematic. Finding affordable childcare while pursuing education is a major obstacle.
Subsidized programs help, but the earnings of women, going to school and working, sometimes place their incomes just over the eligibility threshold.
There is a lack of peer networks where women can share their experiences which leads to isolation during the transition.
These are just a few hurdles women veterans must face when transitioning out of the military. I would like to add some resources for women veterans to access.
Foundation for women warriors
The foundation provides one day, professional development workshops that bring Women Veterans with leaders in business and school to teach about negotiating salary, self-branding and a sense of community. It serves the women veterans community in Southern California and is unrated by Charity Navigator which is the largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities in the United States.
Final salute Inc.
Their programs have assisted women veterans and children in over 30 states. One program, called H.O.M.E. (Home Outreach Mentorship Encouragement) provides a full range of transition services like housing, food, clothing, child care assistance. Another program called S.A.F.E. (Savings Assessment and Financial Education) offers financial education to help with financial planning. It is unrated by Charity Navigator.
This is a coordinated network of organizations dedicated to serving the military community by connecting them to resources for their specific needs. It serves both men and women veterans. AmericaServes is an integer of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and is not listed on Charity Navigator.
As for winter plans, the Women Veterans committee will once again be traveling the state around our hometowns. Some of the target visits will be the vet centers and hospitals and clinics in the state.
This concludes my report for December. Have a merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year’s.