Transitioning out of military service creates enough stress, but women seem to face additional obstacles, says Beverly VanTull, program manager of the Virginia Women Veterans Program for the state’s Department of Veterans Services.
VanTull said that since Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam authorized the department to build an initiative around the needs of women veterans, interest has grown.
“Women veterans are hidden in plain sight,” said VanTull, noting that the U.S. Department of Labor data show that for every 10 male veterans, there is just one woman veteran.
“It’s just another day at work for women; it seems like men connect readily with service,” she added. “There’s a lot more women who impose stipulations on themselves to consider the significance and depth of their service, perhaps telling themselves that they didn’t deploy, or if they did deploy, that they didn’t see any combat.”
Additionally, VanTull said a women veteran has to push back on myths and stereotypes of both being a woman and being a veteran. “It’s like you have to prove your skill-set in a male-dominated industry.”