Where are the female veterans? That was a question posed recently by the Las Vegas Sun newspaper. The state of Nevada wants to improve services for female veterans, but the problem is that they can not find them.
And as you read further, this issue of missing female veterans is not just an issue with Nevada. It is also a problem nationwide according to the Veterans Administration.
In Nevada alone, according to the Las Vegas Sun, "The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates more than 21,000 female veterans live in Nevada, but the state Department of Veterans Services has identified only about 2,500, according to officials."
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval established an advisory panel with a focus on female veterans. More specifically, the panel was designed to locate, educate and advocate for female veterans in Nevada.
Because the Veterans Administration will only push more tax dollars toward services for female veterans if there are women veterans using those services, the hope of the Governor and those advocating for female veterans is to locate these women and letting them know they are eligible for veterans programs and services.
The VA says female veterans are one of the fastest-growing populations; they will account for 10.5 percent of all U.S. veterans by 2020. Currently, about 9.2 percent of living veterans are women.
But identifying where the veterans live has been a struggle, partly because the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t require residents to note whether they are veterans, said Richard Beam, a VA spokesman.
Awareness is part of the problem. Not all women who served in the military, especially during World War II and the Korean War, realize they are veterans, Oates said.
“If they didn’t serve in combat, they don’t see themselves as veterans,” she said.
A recommendation seeks to change that by altering language on state documents. The committee suggests state agencies ask people if they’ve ever served in the U.S. military versus, “Are you a veteran?”
The committee also supports developing a database with information about Nevada veterans and a strategic plan to reach the population. Funding for a public-messaging campaign would be necessary, the report noted.
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