While many people think about veterans and how to honor these brave individuals, honoring women veterans specifically is often overlooked. According to statistics verified by the United States Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs women made up 14.6 percent of the total military membership at the end of 2013, and there were more than 1.8 million women veterans.
Women veterans can often face additional obstacles when they transition back to civilian life. Many of these women are single parents, and female veterans have higher rates of homelessness. Women are also at a higher risk for military sexual trauma which can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health and physical conditions.
Honoring Women Veterans Recognizes Their Unique Sacrifices
There have been women veterans for many years, but these females were usually small in number and they were typically not publicly recognized. As more women have served in the military in recent years and more positions open up for females in the various branches of the military more of an effort at honoring women veterans is being made.
What Can You Do to Honor Women Veterans?
Honoring women veterans is something that should not be reserved just for Veterans Day. There are things that you can do to show your gratitude to females who have served every day of the year. It is nice to be remembered on this important holiday but it can mean much more if you make an effort to show your thanks at other times as well.
Push for Change
One of the best ways of honoring women veterans is to push for changes in the law and in the benefits that female veterans are eligible. A considerable amount of emergency housing for veterans does not allow children, yet many women veterans are single parents. This can force these vets into homelessness.
Women also have unique medical needs that are often neglected through the VA healthcare system. Reproductive and female health services are not always offered at VA facilities and when they are, there are often long wait times for women who need them. Become an advocate for change so that our women veterans are treated properly and get the benefits they deserve.
Volunteer at a Veteran Organization
One way of honoring women veterans is to volunteer at organizations that work with this population. There are a number of great charities and veteran organizations with programs that can make a difference in the lives of our female veterans. Some organizations that accept volunteers include:
- Fatigues To Fabulous
- Grace After Fire
- Military Women in Need
- Operation Reinvent
- Service Women’s Action Network
- Offer to Help Out
Honoring women veterans with a special ceremony is great, but it may be more helpful if you offer to help a female veteran when they need it most. There are women vets in your local area that could use some assistance. Look and see what opportunities there are in your area to make a difference and help one of these brave women when they need it most.
Use a Special Skill or Unique Talent That You Have
Determine what special skill or talent that you have which could be used to help a female vet. This gives you a way of honoring women veterans that goes much deeper than just saying thanks. If you are an attorney you can offer to do pro bono work for a female veteran. If you are a great cook, then whip up some dishes and offer them to a woman who served and could use the food.
Provide a Home for a Female Hero
When it comes to honoring women veterans, providing housing will do this, and help a female vet and her family have stable housing. Even if you do not have any building skills there are organizations that can use your labor or donation to help house women veterans. These organizations and programs include:
- Habitat For Humanity
- Building Homes For Heroes
- Homes For Our Troops USA
- Wounded Warrior Homes
- Operation Finally Home
There are so many ways that honoring women veterans makes a difference. From a simple thank you to large donations, it all helps.
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The worst part of war should not be coming home.