Toolkit helps veterans recognize women warriors

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Veterans looking for a way to enhance outreach and assist local women veterans within their communities now have just what they need. There’s a helpful toolkit to aid Chapters and Departments in ensuring the contributions and sacrifices of the nation’s women veterans are properly recognized.

“Many women veterans don’t self-identify as a veteran or have a misconception that they are not eligible for VA benefits because they did not serve in combat or because they only served stateside,” said DAV’s 2014–2015 Women Veterans Interim Committee Chairwoman Kimberly Tatham. “Outreach events provide them the information they need to access their earned VA benefits through our Service Officers throughout the U.S.”

The Department Women Veterans Committee Toolkit, developed with the help of DAV’s Women Veterans Interim Committee, was introduced at the 2015 National Convention in Denver. Inside, the kit contains:

  • Information on VA women veterans programs and services.
  • A breakdown of current legislation centered on women veterans.
  • Tips for conducting community outreach.
  • Women veterans publications, including DAV’s 2014 report “Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home.”
  • Helpful links to a variety of gender-specific resources.

“Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home” revealed women who served often face roadblocks and challenges during their post-military transition, as many policies and programs are focused on and were designed primarily for men. Today, as the number of women in the military rises and their roles in national defense continue to evolve, the need for equalized care becomes increasingly critical.

The toolkit arms DAV members with the resources to help women veterans counter these potential challenges.

“Women transitioning from military service to begin their civilian lives can benefit from strong community involvement, particularly alongside fellow women veterans with whom they can relate shared experiences,” said National Legislative Director Joy Ilem, who also helped bring the toolkit to fruition. “We highly encourage Departments to establish a women veterans advisory committee so we can help bring down the barriers that stand in the way of a successful transition.”

While the toolkit’s main purpose is to serve as a reference guide for Department-level Women Veterans Committee members, it can aid Chapters in their efforts to reach women veterans as well.

“DAV has had a very successful history of embracing, accommodating and serving our country’s disabled veterans, and the time has come to focus on our growing population of women veterans,” said Dean Ascheman, a 2014–2015 member of the Women Veterans Interim Committee. “The kit developed by the committee will play a big role in that effort.”

Learn More Online

The toolkit is available for download at: www.dav.org/wp-content/uploads/WV_ToolKit.pdf.