Women are the fastest-growing segment of America’s veteran population. Home to 111,000 women who have served, Virginia ranks fourth in the nation.
For both male and female veterans, readjusting to civilian life after serving in faraway lands and extended deployments can be a trial. For women vets, however, there can be additional challenges and hurdles. Society still tends to assume that all veterans are men. The Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies created to assist Johnny when he came marching home, are still limited in scope when it comes to helping Jane transition from military life. Access to adequate health care, readjustment benefits, and employment assistance can be especially challenging for women.
Fortunately, these problems are far less prevalent in Virginia than in most states. The commonwealth’s Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) is one of the best in the nation. Its programs geared toward women vets are unmatched.
Today and tomorrow, the VDVS and partner organizations are holding the fifth annual Virginia Women Veterans Summit at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria. More than 600 female military veterans are expected to attend. The summit includes nationally known speakers and leaders on a variety of topics of interest to female veterans and active-duty women in the process of transitioning to civilian life. Representatives from several major corporations, including Amazon, Dominion Energy, and Deloitte, and numerous state and federal government agencies will be present. Navy veteran Robin Beres, Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial columnist and associate editor, is the master of ceremonies. More information is available at https://www.dvs.virginia.gov/. For those unable to attend the event, American Legion Post 84 has partnered with the VDVS to host a resource fair for women veterans in Richmond. The event will honor our women veterans and provide information on services and resources available in the metro area. Light refreshments will be provided. The resource fair will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on June 20 at the Virginia War Memorial. It is free and open to women veterans but space is limited. If interested in attending, RSVP by June 17 to 84.post.legion@ gmail.com.
Female veterans are smart, savvy, and they have excellent leadership skills — exactly what’s needed for the well-educated workforce that Virginia’s growing economy demands. The commonwealth and veterans service organizations within the state are wise to reach out to them.