June marks the kickoff to summer break for many families, but did you also know it’s the month to celebrate our female veterans? June 12 is Women Veterans Day. While we take time to honor them on that day specifically, there are many ways we can and should support women veterans throughout the year!
1. Recognize and Honor Their Service
The Center for Women Veterans estimates that women make up 10 percent of the veteran population, yet “women veterans are not only overlooked by those around them but frequently struggle to consider themselves veterans.” Women veterans frequently share stories of being dismissed as veterans or being mistaken as a military spouse. Simply being more aware of the growing number of female veterans can make a huge difference!
2. Say Thank You
This may be the easiest and yet most impactful way you can support a female veteran. The best part? There are so many ways to say thank you! Shake her hand, buy her lunch, send her a card, or write her a letter. None of these take much time, but each has a huge impact!
Frequent moves and deployments can be hard on all military community members and can even impact feelings of connectedness as a veteran. Reach out to female veterans in your community. Ask about their military experience if they are comfortable sharing. If they are not comfortable, that’s okay, too. Sometimes just knowing another person is there for you is enough.
4. Support Women Veteran-Owned Businesses
Supporting veteran-owned businesses is a great way to support the small business economy. Go one step further and look for a women veteran-owned business to support. These leaders are making waves in the business world and the nonprofit sector. Check out this list of women veteran-owned businesses here.
5. Hire Women Veterans
Women Veterans are highly-trained, well-rounded leaders. Data from the US Department of Labor indicates they are more educated than the general female non-veteran population. Their combined years of service, commitment to a greater cause, and drive make female veterans a great addition to any workplace.
Volunteering your time is a clear demonstration of your support. Consider supporting local veteran groups or non-profit organizations. Not sure how to volunteer for veterans? The Armed Forces YMCA (ASYMCA) is a great place to start your volunteer efforts and is proud to support many women veterans who have a spouse that is active duty, through its services.
7. Fly the American Flag
Few symbols evoke the same pride and patriotism as the red, white, and blue. This visual representation of your support is immediate. While it is appropriate to fly the flag year-round by following flag etiquette, be sure to add Women Veterans Day to your list if your flag is typically only flown on holidays.
Educate yourself, your children, and those around you. Learn the history of Women Veterans Day. Visit museums and memorials, many of which have specific displays to honor the sacrifices and triumphs of our female service members.
9. Advocate and Empower
Advocate for women veterans. Show your support for female veterans by backing initiatives and programs that serve this population. Empower female veterans to acknowledge their service and take advantage of the programs and resources available.
Here’s how to help veterans. By supporting the ASYMCA, you will help provide military families with free and low-cost services, including youth development and educational programs, childcare, and resources to make mental health services more accessible for military parents — including veteran spouses. A gift, no matter the amount, makes a lasting impact on women veterans and their families.
To our women veterans, thank you! We see you. We hear you. We support you.