Thousand Oaks, CA – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, hosted a roundtable discussion with female veterans and active-duty servicemembers from throughout Ventura County to discuss the needs and challenges of the increasing population of women veterans.

“More than 2 million of America’s 22 million veterans are women. As the number of women using VA care continues to increase, we must provide solutions to address their unique needs,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “That is why I will continue to work to ensure that more gender-specific services and resources – like gynecology, mammograms, and prenatal care – are available at the VA. We must also make sure that VA provides improved access to other resources, like child care assistance and education and employment services. Today’s roundtable gave me a chance to hear directly from female veterans and servicemembers in Ventura County and get their input on what Congress can do to ensure the VA better serves them.”

The topics discussed during the roundtable spanned a wide range of issues from VA healthcare services to finding ways to better help female servicemembers transition to civilian life. The roundtable also featured Dr. Chaitra Hardison, a senior behavioral scientist at the non-profit RAND Corporation, who presented her research findings on the types of skills veterans gain in the military and how to market those abilities to employers.

“Veterans have so many skills they can offer civilian employers—from technical expertise to leadership and attention to detail,” said Dr. Hardison. “It was an honor to join Congresswoman Brownley and this group of women to discuss how female servicemembers and veterans can communicate with civilian employers about the competencies they developed during their military careers.”

“As female veterans, our experiences can often be entirely unique from our male colleagues,” said Jean Halsell, a veteran who served for 26 years in the United States Air Force. “It was great to discuss these issues today and continue building a sisterhood with other women who have also served in uniform and live in the area.”

During the 115th Congress, Representative Brownley has introduced several pieces of legislation to address the needs of female veterans, including:

  • The Veterans Access to Child Care Act (H.R. 95), which provides access to child care for eligible veterans nationwide while they are seeking care at the VA. H.R. 95 passed the House of Representatives on July 28.
  • The Building Supportive Networks for Women Veterans (H.R. 91), which expands and makes permanent the VA pilot program for counseling in retreat settings for women veterans. H.R. 91 passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on June 28.
  • The Women Veterans Equal Access to Quality Care Act (H.R. 93), which directs the VA to ensure that gender-specific services are continuously available at every VA medical center and community-based outpatient clinic.

Photos from the event are available here.

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