Military service can be demanding, and there is no denying that. However, coming back to civilian life has its share of challenges, especially for women veterans. Veterans returning home from long periods in service are likely to experience challenges. Be it in the form of getting narrowing opportunities or trouble feeling a sense of belonging, the women veteran transition experience is a unique aspect.
The return to normalcy for women veterans involves a lengthy transition process. At KW Productions, let us share some specific hurdles women veterans often face in their personal lives and in professional careers.
Stereotypes are the worst obstacle for women veterans, especially those searching for employment. While the ratio of female veterans in military services has increased dramatically recently, stereotypes are still there.
Still, when people think of veterans, they often think of them as men. As a result, women who were in military service are forgotten quite often, which could lead to misunderstandings in social and professional circles. While in the military women are equal in rank, yet when exiting the military civilians do not see rank and often do not see women veterans at all.
Both in the private and government sector, programs that were set up decades ago become outdated today. The programs are designed to help veterans transition into their daily lives. This is because those programs were created during an era when there were only a few female veterans. Transition programs focus on special forces or transitioning a ‘warfighter’ male mentality from the trenches into the boardroom. Women veterans fought in many cases side by side their male counterparts behind enemy lines in many capacities too. Transition services should be more encompassing of the whole person and their unique skills and experiences and less about gender imposed ideals.
The typical image of a soldier perceived in common people’s minds is a man. Sometimes, civilians do not seem to get what females do in the military. Since people’s notion of war and soldier comes from the movies, they are not aware of the reality when it comes to envisioning a female soldier.
That is partly because it is challenging to find prominent roles in movies that portray female soldiers. Unfortunately, even among older men veterans, there is a lack of understanding of what women veterans do. Women veterans are not portrayed as role models in the media or our social circles. We need to see more women in the military talk about their roles in the workforce and also males to act as allies around them and the work they do.
The health of military women has been declining in the past couple of years. Challenges like financial instability, lack of social support, and caregiving responsibilities add to stress. According to studies, a lack of social support can lead to increased depression symptoms, anxiety, and comorbid depression.
Female veterans are increasingly reporting trouble connecting to civilian communities when they return to their civilian life. In addition, reintegration challenges associated with poor transition outcomes are greater for women and minority (racial or ethnic or sexual orientation) veterans.
KW Productions aims to support women veterans to receive benefits and the needed support so that their transition process is smoother.