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AAWGT: Making a difference in our community!

February 13, 2019, Education Meeting

unsung and unserved: the double-edged sword facing today’s women veterans

AAWGT launched the 2019 educational program year on February 13 with a powerful presentation on how much further the military needs to move to fully welcome women soldiers.

Lt. General Flora D. Darpino, USA (Ret.), the first female to serve as the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General,  discussed her current work as trustee and Secretary of the Service Women's Action Network, tackling longstanding gender disparity in health services for women veterans. Research on women soldiers' experience with quality and accessibility of VA health services was presented by Laura Pinnock whose firm, ALTARUM, conducted the research on behalf of the Veterans Administration. In addition, Dee Loftus, a psychotherapist with Arundel Lodge Behavioral Health Center, and Army veteran Patricia A. Craig, Chairperson for the Mental Health Advisory Council for the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center, shared their moving experiences from decades of treating post-military veterans.

Returning service women often face issues similar to those of returning male veterans - PTSD, depression, and relationship problems with children and with spouses.  Unlike male veterans, however, women veterans are much more likely to have been the victims of military sexual trauma and are three to four times more likely to become homeless. One of the greatest barriers to women accessing VA medical benefits, including mental health services, is that many don't understand they are eligible. Fear of stigma, lack of child care, and long lead times for appointments are other barriers for women in need of mental health care. Despite the stories of hardships and the constant struggle to win respect and recognition of women as veterans, it was a hopeful evening, led by four strong women who are working and advocating to better the experience for active and veteran military women.

Presentation handouts:

Anne Arundel County Statistics on Veterans

Baltimore Sun Article: Women Veterans Do Not Recognize Themselves as Veterans

Challenges and Barriers for Military and Veteran Women

Domestic Abuse Now a Crime

Inconvenience of Being a Woman Veteran

Pew Survey of Women Veterans, December 2011

Rethink Veterans - Who is the Woman Veteran

Who is a Woman Veteran

Women Veterans Strategic Plan and Timeline by Women Veterans Task Force

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