According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2016 veterans made up 7.4 percent of our population. Of that number, only 8.6 percent are female (or .6 percent of our entire population).* Talk about a group of rare, and in our opinion elite, individuals.
Since President Truman’s 1948 signing of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, which allowed women full military status in both the regular and reserve armed forces, women have contributed significantly to our national defense and more than proved their mettle.
Yet the question remains: do military women face challenges unique to their gender? And if so, do they benefit from associating with same-sex peers? As no two female vets are the same, we believe it depends on who you ask. However, a great amount of the research we did supported Army Reservist Teresa DeLuca’s assertion in her blog, What’s It Really Like to Be a Woman in the Military?
DeLuca asks herself, “So what does it take to join the military as a woman?” Her answer: “It takes other women.”**
If you’re a female vet who subscribes to that notion, this short guide to women-only veterans organizations is for you. We’ll talk about membership criteria, group missions, activities and other factors that make each one special.
Oftentimes when two vets from the same branch of the service meet, they tend to lapse into their own familiar, branch-unique dialect, trading stories about experiences and places only they can truly appreciate.
If can be difficult for vets to share their experiences and ideas, especially when they’re required to explain everything to someone with no military background. So all too often, they don’t get the chance.
That’s why the following organizations (just of few of many) can be such a good fit for female vets who’d enjoy the camaraderie and support of their peers.
- Women Marines Association: Missions include preserving the history of women Marines, providing charitable and educational programs, assisting women Marine veterans in need and promoting patriotism.
- Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association – Army Women United: Members are active in volunteer work (especially with the VA Hospital), community service, fundraising and honoring women of service with special awards.
- Air Force Women Officers Associated: Formed in 1975 to preserve friendships, form new ties and promote recognition of military women, this group also offers support to women involved in educational or training programs.
- All Navy Women’s National Alliance: Dedicated to honoring “women of the sea” and their contributions, as well as fostering growth and a sense of community, this group also counts Marines and Coast Guard vets among their numbers.
This category is definitely a redundancy, since all women’s veterans groups are concerned with serving their communities and each other, to some extent. However, the following organizations are tailor-made for both those who could use a hand and those with a hand to lend.
- Grace After Fire: Designed to help female vets make the transition back into civilian life, this organization provides peer-to-peer support, financial assistance and community resource navigation through the volunteer efforts of fellow female vets.
- Women Veteran Social Justice: This group also relies on female veteran volunteers to mentor, empower and support fellow female veterans, while also striving to create a powerful network of members through technology and common interests.
- Women Veterans Rock: A coalition of women’s veterans organizations, this group’s members engage and empower each other through online support and special events like leadership retreats, delegations and rallies.
- Women Veterans Interactive: Founded by a homeless, disabled female veteran, this group tackles issues like homelessness, inadequate medical care and unemployment among women vets through outreach, advocacy and education.
Enjoying the support and companionship of like-minded friends in personal endeavors like writing, public speaking, book clubs, motorcycling or gun clubs make for compelling reasons to join or even start your own special interest veterans group.
- RomVets: This all-woman, all-veteran authors group started when a few friends met up at a 2002 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and now boasts a roster of over 200 creative writers.
- Women Veterans Alliance and WomenVetsUSA: In addition to many other initiatives, both these organizations connect women vets with volunteer speaking engagements for the purposes of education and advocacy.
- Groups Just Waiting to be Formed: Although we’re not sure any women veterans-only book, motorcycle or gun clubs currently exist; there are scores of women-only book and motorcycle clubs already out there, with women-only shooting leagues starting to follow suit.
As far as the sheer number of women veterans organization there are, we’ve only just scratched the surface here. And as more women veterans join the population (roughly 18,000 per year), the types and missions of the groups they join or form are bound to broaden and proliferate, which will most certainly be a rich and welcome addition to U.S. society.
Proof of Service
Of course, in order to join or form most types of veteran’s groups, it’s important to be able to prove that you are who you say you are. And, as most vets know, an easy, fast way to do that is to provide your DD-214 form.
But if you’re one of the millions of vets who just aren’t sure of your form’s whereabouts, you’re probably missing out on more than club memberships. There’s an abundance of well-earned discounts, benefits, loans, courses, etc., just waiting to be accessed with your DD-214.
It’s no secret that ordering your DD-214 through eVetRecs can be tedious, time consuming and, often, frustrating. The team at veteran-owned DD214Direct.com understands the struggle, but more important, we understand how to retrieve your forms from government storage facilities faster than anyone, anywhere.
- Each state maintains its own records for the National Guard, as well as DC, meaning that there are 51 separate agencies housing NG records.
- The Army does maintain its own repository, but the National Archives CAN access Army records on request. However, they can’t do so for the Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, Marine Reserves or Merchant Marines.
- Air Force Records are housed by two separate agencies which operate independently of each other.
- On occasion, National Archive-owned records end up in the possession of the VA, which requires a search of one of 50 different VA locations. The ONLY way to find these records is to speak directly to the office in which it’s housed.
- Unfortunately, when the National Archives receives a request for records that are housed elsewhere, the best most applicants can expect is a letter that basically says, “Go somewhere else.”
Courteous, professional DD214Direct.com agents begin working on orders immediately, from creating expertly structured requests, to constant follow-up, to skillfully navigating not only the National Archives’ system, but also government repositories outside the NA’s system (where “lost” records are often found).
Our three-tiered pricing lets you choose your desired delivery speed (we can even email your records!). So, if browsing local veterans groups sounds more appetizing than dealing with request forms and red tape, why not let the pros at DD214Direct.com help out?