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How many women are on active duty in the U.S. armed forces?
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More women are on active duty in the military that any other point in U.S. history. Incredibly, of the over 2 million women that have served since the Revolutionary War, 1.9 million are current living veterans. We’re in an entirely new era of women at war.
And it’s not just in numbers. Women’s roles in the military have evolved rapidly in the last few years, moving from traditional nurse and support staff roles into zones of real, life-threatening combat. In Iraq and Afghanistan, female soldiers have guarded bases and POWs, patrolled hostile areas, gathered intelligence, rebuilt towns and commanded battalions.
As the military becomes integrated, so must the support back home. The current VA health care system has struggled to keep up with women that require more specialized treatment for problems like Military Sexual Trauma, an under-reported side effect of men and women soldiers sharing high stress situations. Worse still are the antiquated attitudes some female veterans are greeted with: the first time Staff Sgt. Marti Ribeiro walked into a VA clinic, an older male veteran asked, “You lost, darlin’?”
With female military service expected to continue to skyrocket over the next decade, lawmakers, citizens and even fellow veterans will have to rethink how they view the military make-up, both on and off the battlefield. Policies will need to continue to adapt towards equal standards regardless of sex. The old methods of military advancement will even need adjusting to take full advantage of today’s woman warrior.
What do you think? Has the government done enough to address the needs of women veterans? What you think should be the military’s priorities regarding gender roles? Sound off below by adding a comment!
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