Abigail Adams cautioned John Adams to “remember the ladies.” On this, our annual celebration of Veteran’s Day, we need to honor the 33,000 New Jersey women who have served in the armed services.
Recent studies confirm women veterans are reluctant to seek assistance from institutions such as the Veterans Administration because they feel their needs are largely ignored and/or they have suffered some form of trauma and are wary of further association with these male-dominated institutions. They often do not self-identify as veterans and are likely to feel less pride in their service. Women veterans come home to greater unemployment, poverty and health issues than their male counterparts.
While a NJ Commission on Women Veterans was established in 2009 in recognition of the unique needs of women who serve, including counseling following military sexual trauma, the commission has taken little action. This needs to change. Let’s not forget to remember, honor and care for the women who serve.