NEW YORK - Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest non-partisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released its new issue report, "Women Warriors: Supporting She 'Who Has Borne the Battle,'" on the unique service and homecoming challenges facing female troops and veterans. The report is the cornerstone of IAVA's first annual "Week of the Women Warriors," a multi-faceted effort to honor the courage and sacrifice of female servicemembers.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
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"Week of the Women Warriors": Launch of Groundbreaking Report on Female Troops and Veterans
Newest Report on Women's Unique and Urgent Service and Homecoming Challenges
NEW YORK - Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest non-partisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, released its new issue report, "Women Warriors: Supporting She 'Who Has Borne the Battle,'" on the unique service and homecoming challenges facing female troops and veterans. The report is the cornerstone of IAVA's first annual "Week of the Women Warriors," a multi-faceted effort to honor the courage and sacrifice of female servicemembers.
"Women make up 11% of the force in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, their challenges have largely been overlooked and underreported. IAVA's new report pulls together the most up to date information on a broad range of issues confronting female servicemembers and veterans," said IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. "Countless women have served bravely and honorably for their country. It's time for the Department of Defense, the VA, lawmakers and the public to take bold action on behalf of these women warriors and give them the support they have earned."
IAVA's newly released report explores a wide range of issues, including:
- Sexual Assault, Harassment and Military Sexual Trauma (MST): Women in the military have been coping with significant and underreported sexual assault and harassment for decades. The report examines the statistics behind this prevalent issue, the measures that are currently in place and steps that must be taken to aggressively address this systematic problem.
- Higher Divorce Rates for Female Servicemembers: Marriages of female troops are failing at almost three times the rate of male servicemembers. The report examines the data behind this troubling trend.
- Barriers to VA Health Care: In recent years the VA has been challenged to care for female veterans, who now make up 12% of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking VA health care. The report examines the fragmentation of women's VA services, privacy and safety concerns and problems communicating eligibility and benefits to female veterans.
Homelessness among Female Veterans: Of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, almost 10% are women, and many of them have families. The report examines this growing trend and the urgent economic challenges facing female veterans.
Week of the Women Warriors: During this week, IAVA.org will feature a new Women Warriors Center. Anchored by the new report, the Women Warriors Center will highlight ways veterans and civilians can get involved with supporting female veterans. Visitors will be able to read the report, learn about the history of women in the military, sign on to IAVA's letter introducing the report to Congress and participate in an aggregation of associated Twitter activity. Female veterans are encouraged to join Community of Veterans (COV), an online social network exclusively for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the first of what will be an annual week to honor and advocate for female troops and veterans.
The full report can be found here.
Today at 11:00AM E.S.T., IAVA will host a press conference call to discuss the full 2009 "Women Warriors" Issue Report. The call will include Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA), Erin Mulhall, IAVA Deputy Policy Director for Research and author of the report, and Cara Hammer, IAVA Veteran Support Associate and Iraq veteran.
Call-in number: 1-800-369-3164 FREE
Participant passcode: IAVA2009 (4282-2009)
To arrange an interview with IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff or a female member veteran, contact Chrissy Stevens, 212-982-9699, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 150,000 veteran members and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country's newest generation of veterans and their families.