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“One ship sails east and another sails west with the self-same winds that blow.
Tis the set of the sail and not the gale that determines the way they go.
And the winds of the sea are the ways of fate as we voyage along through life,
Tis the act of the soul that determines the goal, and not the calm or the strife.”

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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(919) 637 - 7679

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and our services are offered free of charge to Combat Female Veterans and their families.

Our offerings will vary, as they are dependent upon the emergent needs of those we serve. Areas of focus include, but are not limited to: Connecting our Veterans with benefits services, educational resources, and other community support structures; Addressing food insecurity, housing needs, and homelessness among female Veterans; Providing limited emergency assistance; Advocating for the unique needs of Combat Female Veterans and their families - at the state and national levels.

CFVF United seeks opportunities to partner with and support the efforts of other Veteran organizations within our communities, with preference given to programs and projects directly benefiting female Veterans.  We welcome your outreach!

Executive Summary: By Combat Female Veterans Families United
 
The United States military has seen a significant increase in the number of female service members serving in combat zones in recent years. These women make immense sacrifices and face unique challenges during and after their time in service. As they return to civilian life, female veterans encounter a range of challenges that are often distinct and more profound than those faced by their male counterparts. This white paper aims to shed light on the specific obstacles experienced by female veterans, providing a comprehensive understanding of their needs and offering recommendations to support their successful transition to civilian life.
 
Introduction
 
The integration of female service members into combat roles has been a transformative development in the U.S. military. Women have proven themselves as capable and dedicated warriors, serving in combat zones alongside their male counterparts. However, their experiences and challenges during and after deployment differ significantly from those of male veterans. The transition from military to civilian life presents a unique set of obstacles for female veterans, resulting from the intersection of gender-related issues, combat experiences, and the reintegration process.
 
Challenges Faced by Female Veterans Returning to Civilian Life From Combat Zones
 
1. Psychological and Emotional Trauma: Female veterans who have served in combat zones often experience high levels of psychological and emotional trauma. Exposure to combat situations, violence, and the loss of comrades can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These mental health challenges are compounded by the stigma and lack of understanding surrounding female veterans' experiences, making it difficult for them to seek help and access appropriate support services.
 
2. Gender-specific issues: Female veterans returning from combat zones may face unique gender-specific challenges, including sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination during their time in service. The transition to civilian life can exacerbate these issues, as they navigate a predominantly male-oriented veteran support system and struggle to find resources tailored to their specific needs.
 
3. Transition to Civilian Employment: Female veterans often encounter difficulties in translating their military skills and experiences into meaningful civilian employment. Stereotypes and misconceptions about women in the military can also hinder their job prospects, leading to higher rates of unemployment and underemployment compared to their male counterparts.
 
4. Access to Healthcare and Support Services: Female veterans may encounter barriers in accessing healthcare and support services, particularly in addressing their gender-specific medical and psychological needs. The Veterans Affairs (VA) system may not adequately cater to their unique healthcare requirements, leading to challenges in receiving comprehensive and sensitive care.
 
5. Role as Caregivers: Female veterans are often primary caregivers for their families, and the transition to civilian life can present significant challenges in balancing their caregiver responsibilities with their own adjustment to post-deployment life.
 
To address the challenges faced by female veterans returning from combat zones, the following recommendations should be considered:
 
1. Improving Mental Health Support: Enhance mental health resources tailored to the unique needs of female veterans, including increasing access to gender-sensitive counseling and support programs.
 
2. Gender-specific Transition Programs: Develop and implement transition assistance programs that specifically address the gender-specific needs and challenges of female veterans, including employment assistance, healthcare access, and family support.
 
3. Combatting Stigma and Discrimination: Implement initiatives aimed at reducing stigma, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination within the military and veteran support systems, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for female veterans.
 
4. Advocating for Policy Changes: Advocate for policy changes that address the specific needs of female veterans, including reforms in VA healthcare, increased support for female veteran entrepreneurs, and measures to reduce gender-based inequalities in the military and veteran sectors.
 
Conclusion
 
Female veterans transitioning from combat zones to civilian life face a myriad of unique challenges, requiring targeted support and resources to facilitate a successful reintegration process. By recognizing and addressing the specific needs of female veterans, the military, government, and society can honor their service and ensure they receive the support they deserve as they navigate the transition to civilian life.
 
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense, the number of female veterans is expected to reach 2.2 million by 2043, reflecting a significant and growing segment of the veteran population. Furthermore, as of 2019, an estimated 17% of post-9/11 veterans are women, compared to just 4% of veterans from previous eras.
 
In terms of mental health, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2015 found that 16% of female veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan experienced PTSD, with women being more likely to develop PTSD than their male counterparts. Additionally, around 40% of female veterans reported military sexual trauma, which can lead to significant mental health challenges in the post-deployment period.
 
In the realm of employment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of 2021, the unemployment rate for female veterans was 5.6%, slightly higher than the rate for male veterans at 4.8%. This highlights ongoing challenges for female veterans in accessing meaningful employment opportunities post-service.
 
These statistics underscore the significance of the unique challenges faced by female veterans returning from combat zones and the imperative of developing targeted support programs to address their distinct needs.
 
According to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (NCVAS), as of 2021, approximately 20% of women serving in the military reported experiencing military sexual trauma (MST) during their service, compared to around 1% of men. This underscores the prevalence and impact of gender-specific challenges faced by female veterans during and after their time in service.
 
In terms of healthcare access, a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2019 found that female veterans encountered difficulties in accessing gender-specific healthcare services, with some facing long wait times and limited availability of specialized care. This highlights the need for improvements in healthcare access for female veterans, particularly in addressing reproductive health and other gender-specific medical needs.
 
Additionally, a study by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization revealed that approximately 40% of female veterans reported experiencing challenges in accessing VA healthcare services, often due to issues such as long wait times, lack of gender-specific care options, and difficulty in finding providers with expertise in women's health.
 
These statistics emphasize the critical importance of addressing the specific challenges faced by female veterans returning from combat zones, particularly in the areas of mental health, employment, healthcare access, and gender-specific support services. It is imperative to develop targeted interventions and policy reforms to ensure that female veterans receive the support and resources needed for a successful transition to civilian life.

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