She’s Doing It: And in combat boots!!

by Gloria Feldt on July 27th, 2011
in 9 Ways Blog, Carpe the Chaos, Gender, Inspiration, Leadership, No Excuses, Power Tools, She's Doing It, Workplace and tagged , , , , , , ,

Woman in U.S. Army Uniform_USARMYDid you know women are the fastest growing group of armed forces veterans with estimates of growing from 1.8 million in 2010 to 2.1 million by 2036? I didn’t until I read some recent reports.

Women have made great strides throughout the U.S. Military, serving in almost every position now.  This is a big change in an organizational culture designed by men for men. Change as we know, can create chaos, or at least the feeling of chaos. This week’s “She’s Doing It” celebrates those brave women in uniform, and looks at how they are using No Excuses Power Tool #5, “carpe the chaos” when Janie comes marching home.

Women veterans face very specific issues not only when they are deployed but also when they return home to civilian life.  According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs over 200,000 women are currently serving in the armed forces.  About 11 percent of the U.S. forces currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are women. Yet the solution to the problem (opening up opportunities for women who want to serve in the military) changes the problem. For example:

“The idea of women serving in the military is no longer a novel or an unusual one. In fact, women are enlisting more than ever today. As a nation, we’ve made great progress in that regard.  Where we’ve fallen short, however, is in meeting the challenges service women face when they come home. Too many women who once proudly wore our uniform now go to sleep in our streets, under our bridges and in vacant homes. Many of them sick, hungry, and without a shred of certainty about what tomorrow holds.”  — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

In Los Angeles County alone, authorities counted 909 homeless female veterans earlier this year, a 51% increase from 2009. Women also make up a growing portion of the homeless veterans in San Diego, which just held its 24th Annual Stand Down event which was organized specifically for women veterans. For more than two decades, Stand Down events have been offering homeless veterans around the country a few days of respite and help getting back on their feet.

In mid-July Labor Secretary Solis released “Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers” that not only explains the unique experiences and needs of women veterans but  provides tools to those who work with these veterans.

US Labor Secretary Solis and Women Veterans (DOL)Solis says the guide is the result of nationwide listening sessions with women veterans and services providers to not only help these veterans out of homelessness but to find jobs and successfully reintegrate into civilian life.

“It’s about more than raising awareness and providing information, it’s about changing a culture. It’s about giving back to all of our Veterans in a way that ensures both men and women get the treatment that they have rightfully earned.”    — Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis

9Ways Roll Call:  If you are a woman actively serving or a veteran, have you had experiences unique to women?  What more can/should be done to to solve problems such as veteran homelessness and returning back to civilian life?  How can you best “carpe the chaos” during this time of change when the military is changing and people may be more open to new ways of thinking?

Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

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