On May 20, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a roundtable discussion entitled, “The Growing Needs of Women Veterans: Is the Veterans Administration ready?” The discussion included members of the committee and panelists from related organizations, as well as administration representatives.
Chair Bob Filner (D-CA) stated, “Today, women serve in the [National] Guard and Reserve at a rate of over 17 percent, which is three percent higher than that of the active duty military. We also know that women are serving in combat conditions right along side their male counterparts. This brings to the forefront a whole new set of issues, such as effective treatment of war-related injuries and illnesses in women. Arguably, these issues have been somewhat ignored by the VA [Veterans Administration]. The VA recently reported that within 10 years, women are expected to become 10 percent of the VA’s patient population. Women are seeking VA health care at a faster rate than their male counterparts. Women who are seen at the VA today are also younger and of child-bearing age. These statistics beg the question: Is the VA ready?”
The discussion between the panelists and several members of Congress covered a range of topics, including military sexual trauma, women serving in combat, and accessibility of VA services. The entire discussion can be heard here.