Washington, DC – Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs launched a new bipartisan Women Veterans Task Force to increase the visibility of the two million women veterans living in the United States and to promote inclusivity and equitable access to resources, benefits, and healthcare for women veterans.
The Task Force will be chaired by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), who is also the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee. This announcement came ahead of the first hearing of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in recent memory focused solely on the health of women veterans, which is taking place today.
“Women have served our nation in uniform since its earliest days, yet for far too long, the contributions and distinct challenges facing the growing population of female veterans have been forgotten or ignored,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “My vision is for this Task Force to have a national presence and create a national dialogue where we can identify all of the inequities faced by women veterans and determine how we can tackle them through legislation and other means.”
Women have served in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War. Today, women comprise roughly 17% of serving military personnel, 10% of the veteran population, and 30% of service academy students. Women are the fastest-growing subpopulation of both servicemembers and veterans. The Task Force aims to increase their visibility, improve equity between male and female veterans, and ensure that women veterans have access to the resources, benefits, and healthcare they have earned and deserve.
“By launching the bipartisan Women Veterans Task Force we can begin to shed light on the issues the more than two million US women veterans face and prepare VA for the future,” said Congressman Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “I am proud of Chairwoman Brownley’s leadership on this issue and am grateful to have Andrea on our team.”
Dr. Phil Roe, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs added, “As an obstetrician with more than 30 years of experience caring for women in private practice, women’s health has always been a priority of mine. I am glad to see that, with the creation of this task force, Chairman Takano and Rep. Brownley are making it a priority of theirs as well. With an increasing number of women veterans seeking care and benefits following their service, it is important that we break down any barriers that women face within VA and ensure that VA is a safe, welcoming place for them and all veterans in need of support. I look forward learning more about the goals and priorities that the task force will be pursuing in the coming months and to engaging in thoughtful discussions as a Committee about the unique issues women veterans are overcoming.”
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has made this Task Force a signature issue, including hiring Andrea Goldstein, a Navy veteran, as senior policy advisor to help lead the effort.
“Women veterans are thriving,” said Goldstein. “They are already resilient leaders in their communities, in industry, and in government, including here in Congress. I’m proud to be part of the Task Force’s effort to honor my fellow women veterans’ service by raising their profile, and supporting efforts to ensure they have equitable access to resources that they have earned.”