LANSING, Mich. — Currently, there are roughly 44,000 women veterans living in the state of Michigan. To honor them, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared June 12, ‘Women Veterans Recognition Day.’
In a statement, Whitmer’s office says "the proclamation, stemming from a Senate resolution put forth by Sen. Peter MacGregor, is the latest critical step in recognizing and supporting women veterans, who have been historically overlooked and under-served."
Nationally, there are about 2 million women vets in this country. That represents 10% of the total U.S. veteran population. Over the next decade, that number is projected to increase by about 180,000. Here in Michigan, women vets are out-pacing men in the numbers as well.
According to Whitmer's office, "Women veterans made up just 7 percent of the state’s veteran population in 2015 (compared with 93 percent male veterans), that ratio will more than double by 2045 when women veterans will account for 16 percent of the veteran population (compared with 84 percent male veterans)."
The governor says "Michigan women have been stepping up to serve our country for generations, and it’s time they get the respect and recognition they earned."
In addition to declaring Wednesday, 'Women Veterans Recognition Day,' she's urging policy makers to make sure women vets have year-round support they need when they return home.
Based on data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), some challenges they face stem from the circumstances listed below:
- 1 in 4 women veterans responded “yes” when screened for military sexual trauma.
- More than 40 percent of women veterans in the VA system have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
- A higher percentage of women veterans have a service-connected disability and live in poverty than male veterans.
- Women veterans are two to four times more likely to become homeless than non-women veterans.
- The suicide rate of women veterans is 1.8 times higher than that of non- veteran women.
The state Veterans Affairs Agency has launched a three-year campaign called, “She Is a Veteran.” The goal of the campaign is to "recognize women veterans for their service, help them tell their unique stories and ultimately connect them to the benefits and services they earned."
Women vets interested in telling their stories or learning more are encouraged to do so here.
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