Disabled Veterans National Foundation Calls for Increased Attention to Meeting the Social, Economic and Health Needs Faced by Women Veterans

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While overall veteran employment shows a slight improvement, nearly one in five women who served in Afghanistan or Iraq are without adequately paying jobs.

Disabled Veterans National Foundation

Disabled Veterans National Foundation

The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), founded by women veterans to change the lives of soldiers returning home with emotional and physical wounds, is urging Congress and the nation to increase the attention given to issues faced by women veterans in light of statistics showing their needs for housing, health care and jobs, which are not being adequately sufficiently met.

While overall veteran employment shows a slight improvement, nearly one in five women who served in Afghanistan or Iraq are without adequately paying jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of women requesting medical services at VA health care facilities has doubled from 2000 to 2011, and female veterans are four times more likely to be homeless compared to both their female civilian and male veteran counterparts.

“The difficulties faced by women veterans are complex and increasing,” said Precilla Wilkewitz, President of DVNF. “Our organization and many others have been committed to helping women veterans, but our country needs to make their issues a higher priority. While female veterans are due the same benefits as male veterans, they have unique problems and needs, particularly in the areas of health care and housing. Additionally, many women veterans are single mothers, and we need to be concerned about them because their children are our country’s future.”

As the U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan continues, unemployment for post-9/11 female veterans surged to 19.9 percent in September, compared to 12.1 percent in August. More women than ever are enlisted in the armed services, so more women veterans are returning to civilian life, comprising about 15 percent of all homecoming returning veterans.

Women veterans have issues that are not faced by male veterans, said Wilkewitz, including trauma from sexual assault during their military service, lower paying jobs, unique health and mental health issues, and homelessness, which often includes dependent children.

“For example, the Department of Defense estimates that one in four women who serve in the military are raped or assaulted,” said Wilkewitz. “Also, there is a shortage of safe living environments for homeless female veterans, which only perpetuates the cycle of being homeless and unemployed. There are even fewer facilities available for homeless women who have children.

“Female veterans bring great value to our country, to our families and to our workforce. It’s critical that attention be focused more strategically on immediate care when they return home, training and jobs, and housing and health care.”

About Disabled Veterans National Foundation: The Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to change the lives of men and women who came home wounded or sick after serving our country. A nonprofit 501c3, DVNF was founded in the fall of 2007 by six women veterans to provide disabled men and women of the military with help obtaining housing, medical care, counseling and meaningful jobs. For more information, visit http://www.dvnf.org.

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