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Women Veterans

For the first time in U.S. history, women comprise about 11 percent of American troops serving in combat theaters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates women will soon account for 10 percent of the total veteran population. Women veterans have unique needs and challenges that affect their ability to maintain meaningful employment – for instance, many are single parents with dependent children and have histories of trauma, especially of a sexual nature. VA and community-based service providers have developed programs offering specialized services for women.

  • All VA medical centers and many Readjustment Counseling (Vet) Centers have a designated Women Veterans Program Manager to help women veterans access VA benefits and health care services. For a state-by-state listing of Veterans Health Administration facilities, click here.
  • VA began a systemwide initiative in November 2008 to make comprehensive primary care for women veterans available at every VA medical facility (medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics). According to a GAO report released in July 2009, the facilities are in various stages of implementing this initiative.
  • All Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices have a Women Veterans Coordinator to help women veterans apply for VA benefits and assistance programs. To locate your local office, click here.
  • Most State Departments of Veterans Affairs have a designated Women Veterans Coordinator to help women veterans. A list of coordinators can be found here.
  • Some community-based organizations have programs specifically designed for homeless women veterans; find an organization near you here.

A collection of employment-specific resources for women veterans can be found below.


RESOURCES

The Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation, a research and education institution solely dedicated to issues that affect working women, published an initial report in 2007 titled “Understanding the Complexity of Women Veterans’ Career Transitions” as part of its “Women Veterans in Transition” research project. Subsequent BPW publications based on that research include:

  • Recommendations for Employers to Recruit and Retain Women Veterans (PDF)
  • Building Strong Programs and Policies to Support Women Veterans (PDF)
  • Recommendations to Support Women Veterans (PDF)

BPW’s “Women Veterans in Transition” page features other resources that address employer attitudes, public service sector employment and the job search process.

BPW also has a Connect-A-Vet webpage with nearly 200 links to resources for women veterans. These resources cover a range of topics including employment, education, finances, government agencies and programs, housing services and facilities, health, legal support, and professional organizations and special groups.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s Center for Women Veterans website contains important statistics and resources about women veterans. From there, you can link to the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans page and view reports from the committee’s meetings. A PDF of VA Homeless Veterans Programs Director Pete Dougherty’s presentation to the committee on Oct. 28, 2009, is available via the site and here as well.

The Department of Labor's (DOL) Women Veterans' Employment initiative is a collaborative effort across Department of Labor (DOL) agencies to identify and address the employment challenges of the women veteran population. Resources, employment tips, the latest news, and more on employment issues related to women veterans can be found at DOL's website.


LITERATURE

Employment Assistance Guide for Service Providers Helping Homeless Veterans
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

NCHV produced this guide in partnership with DOL-VETS to enhance the assistance offered by employment specialists working with homeless clients. It provides an overview of special challenges faced by homeless men and women, and identifies the community resources in place to help them with housing, health, income supports, job search and placement assistance, substance abuse and family counseling, and other services they may need. There is also a comprehensive list of employment assistance resources, both public and private.

Understanding the Complexity of Women Veterans’ Career Transitions
Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

This research project report examines the results of a 2007 survey, which was undertaken as part of a pilot study on the career transition experiences of women veterans.

Homeless Female Veterans: White Paper
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

This paper explores the recent rise of homelessness among female veterans and looks at the unique challenges that increase their susceptibility to homelessness. The final page lists resources for female veterans in need of assistance.This report provides a brief historical perspective of women in the military and accounts for the population, age, geographic distribution, socio-economic characteristics and other identifying features of women veterans.

Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers
Women's Bureau, Department of Labor

​Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers, also known as the “Trauma Guide,” was created to address the psychological and mental health needs of women veterans. The guide is also a compilation of best practices aimed at improving effectiveness in engaging female veterans. Written for service providers, the guide offers observational knowledge and concrete guidelines for modifying practices with the goal of increasing re-entry outcomes.

 


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