Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You to Our Service Women and Men

While Veteran’s Day is a time to celebrate those who have served in our armed forces, we can also use this opportunity to look at how our veterans are faring once they return from war. Today, we have more women in the armed forces than ever, but they also face unique challenges that must be addressed. The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for female veterans ages 25-34 is 11.3%, which is more than twice as much as the unemployment rate for all veterans. This is part of a greater problem faced by female veterans in the US: they aren’t getting enough support once they return from war.
A report conducted by Disabled American Veterans shows how services for female veterans are still lagging behind. Female veterans face unique challenges that their male counterparts do not, such as higher rates of Military Sexual Trauma and PTSD, for example. Veteran Affairs medical centers often lack gynecological staff and there is still not enough peer support groups or counseling geared towards female veterans and their needs. As the proportion of women in the armed services increases, it is important to make sure that these women are given adequate support once their service has ended and they return home.
Unemployment is another challenge highlighted in the report. However, recent developments show that we are moving in the right direction. The Veteran Affairs Center for Women Veterans is working with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) to give female veterans assistance in finding leadership and career opportunities. Measures such as this will help our female veterans have greater representation in the workforce.
Though women are not permitted to apply for front-line combat positions until 2016, nearly 200 women who were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq were killed in the combat, and we wish to acknowledge and thank them and their families for the sacrifies made for their country.
The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus wishes to express how grateful we are to all of the women and men who have served in our armed forces. Today we will join the people of the United States in honoring our veterans and celebrating the hard work they’ve put in for our country.