How can you advocate on behalf of women with military service? Consider participating in vet-to-vet outreach, volunteer activities, and social events. Veteran and military board and professional memberships and trusteeships, public speaking engagements, and fundraising are means for communities and veterans to connect.
Communicate with your state and federal legislators or delegates...run for legislative positions. When the 2015-2017 114th Congress opened, 101 members (4 women/97 men) had military experience, a steady decline since 2005. The 2018 elections (116th Congress) halted this decline with more than 150 veterans running for the U.S. House of Representatives, more than 75 elected,16 serving their first terms, 3 of whom are women joining the House. The 116th congress will include 95 total veterans (6 women),18 in the Senate (2 women) and 77 (4 women) in the House. In 2012 and 2014, 12 and in 2016 14 veteran first-termers were elected.
It's all about engaging in open, civil dialog on issues impacting women who choose to serve in the military, raising public awareness, and responding to "Calls-to-Action".
Some Who Impact Change
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
AAUW, a national grassroots organization, focuses on empowering women as individuals and as a community through research, public policy development, education, campus leadership and case support.
External Website: American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Business and Professional Women's Organization Foundation/Joining Forces for Women Veterans
BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces for Women Veterans provides support and resources to successfully obtain meaningful employment and a successful career as they return to their civilian lives.
External Website: BPW Joining Forces for Women Veterans
Center for Women Veterans (Veterans Administration)
The Center for Women Veterans monitors, coordinates and advocates for Veteran Administration (VA) health care and benefits services and other women veteran programs. The Center was established in 1994.
External Website: Center for Women Veterans
Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS)
The Committee, composed of civilian women and men who are appointed by the Secretary of Defense, provide advice and recommendations relating to the recruitment and retention, treatment, employment, integration, and well-being of women in the Armed Forces. It was established in 1951.
External Website: Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS)
Federal and State Legislators
You can quickly connect with your state and federal legislators using e-mail, writing a letter or calling their state or Washington D.C. staff.
External Website: Federal and State Legislators
#NotInvisible is the next generation of “Invisible No More,” which was a non-partisan coalition, working to end sexual assault within the U.S. military and to help sexual assault survivors heal. The release of the film "The Invisible War" serves as a catalyst for change in how the military handles sexual assault. Engagement with advocacy organizations, key policymakers, military leaders, and other stakeholders helps to raise public awareness, coordinate policy, and energize the grassroots to change military policy and behavior. Protect Our Defenders now leads this ongoing effort.
External Website: Protect Our Defenders
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) policy states: "The military has embraced the role of being a standard bearer of discipline, honorable action, and integrity. An opportunity exists to cultivate attitudes, behaviors, and responses in the military that blaze a trail for a burgeoning national and international response to sexual violence."
External Website: NAESV
National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA)
NASDVA members represent all fifty states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. They are the second largest provider of services to veterans and our roles continue to expand. State Directors are tasked by their respective Governors, State Boards and/or Commissions to address the needs of veterans regardless of age, gender, era of service, military branch or circumstance of service.
External Website: NASDVA
National Women's Law Center
The National Women's Law Center advocates on behalf of women in the military. They believe that women should have the opportunity to serve in any position for which they are qualified, be the beneficiaries of needed family supports, and be safe from sexual harassment and assault. They participate in national dialog and provide an online resource library.
External Website: National Women's Law Center: Military
Protect Our Defenders
Protect Our Defenders (POD) is a human rights organization that honors, supports, and gives voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members. POD seeks to fix the military training, investigation, and adjudication systems related to sexual violence and harassment — systems that often re-victimize assault survivors by blaming them while failing to prosecute perpetrators.
External Website: Protect Our Defenders
Servicewomen's Action Network (SWAN)
SWAN’s mission is to transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and freedom to serve without discrimination, harassment or sexual assault; and to reform veterans’ services to ensure high quality health care and benefits for women veterans and their families. SWAN accomplishes this mission through policy reform, media advocacy, litigation and community organizing.
External Website: Servicewomen's Action Network (SWAN)
Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)
Some VSOs are federally chartered, recognized or approved by the Veteran Administration (VA) Secretary for purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims under VA-administered laws. Individuals seeking representation should only rely on information found in the Office of General Counsel (OGC) Search for Accredited Attorneys, Claims Agents, or Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) Representatives.
External Website: VA Directory of Veteran Service Organizations
Women Veterans ROCK
“Women Veterans ROCK!” is a coalition of women veteran organizations and women advocacy organizations supporting women veterans & military families, specifically addressing housing, employment, education, finances, and health and wellness. Their four signature programs include the Veterans Day Rally, Women Veterans Summer Retreat, Women Veterans Civic Leadership Institute, and our “Get To Know Us” outreach programs. Women Veterans ROCK! is sponsored by The Healthy Caregiver Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization.
External Website: Women Veterans ROCK
Women's Legislative Network of the National Conference of State Legislatures
The Women's Legislative Network of NCSL provides state legislators with relevant and accurate information about women serving in the military, female veterans, and the unique circumstances of military families. The site includes news, resources and meeting minutes.
External Website: National Conference of State Legislatures