The Women Veterans Task Force advances equity in provision of access to resources, benefits, and healthcare for women veterans.
The bipartisan Women Veterans Task Force (“Task Force”), chaired by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) will work to increase the visibility of the two million women who have served in the U.S. military and promote inclusivity and equitable access to comprehensive healthcare, benefits, education and economic opportunity, and other federal resources, particularly at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Women have served in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War. Long before women could formally serve, hundreds of women, like Deborah Sampson and Cathay Williams, disguised themselves as men to serve in the armed forces. Thousands more served in critical roles such as battlefield medicine and intelligence. Hundreds of thousands of women answered the call to serve in World War I and World War II, and their invaluable contributions were recognized when women became permanent members of the armed forces in 1948. Currently, seven women veterans serve in Congress, four in the House of Representatives, and three in the Senate.
Today, there are two million women veterans living in the United States. Women comprise the fastest growing subpopulation of both the military and veteran populations. Currently, women comprise nearly 20% of serving military personnel and 10% of the veteran population. The women veteran population is projected to grow to 18% of the total veteran population by 2040. Reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other institutions where appropriate, keeping in mind jurisdictional limits, is required to keep pace with the rapid growth of the women veteran population, and ensure equity in access to resources.
The primary concern is creating a cultural transformation in which women veterans are visibly recognized for their service to the nation, and have a sense of belonging. In order to access the resources that are available to them, the Department of Veterans Affairs must first foster an environment that is safe and respectful. The Women Veterans Task Force will develop policy specifically focused on supporting women veterans, and on transforming existing systems and institutions with an eye on equity, through outreach, oversight, and legislation.
1. Culture: Ensuring a welcoming and inclusive culture at the VA
2. Healthcare: Providing equity and access to VA healthcare, including women-specific care, such as gynecology and obstetrics
3. Economic Opportunity: Improving economic opportunities for women veterans and their families
4. Benefits Access: Guaranteeing that women veterans have equal access to VA benefits, including education, disability, and pension benefits.