The VA Holds Its First Virtual Women Veterans Forum
There have been women in the United States Army since the Revolutionary War, and women continue to serve in it today. According to the Defense Department, women now make up 20% of the Air Force, 19% of the Navy, 15% of the Army, and almost 9% of the Marine Corps. Women now make up approximately 10% of the current Veteran population, the fastest growing demographic.
As a “woman-owned business” of more than 25 years with a focus on Veterans Disability, Personal Injury and Social Security Disability, what happened June 1, 2020 at the Veterans Administration (VA) was not lost on Jan Dils, founder of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law.
On this date, acting Deputy Secretary Pamela Powers led the VA’s first virtual Women Veterans Forum, which helped women Veterans from across the country learn about the care and services they can receive at the VA, and how the VA is changing to better serve the growing population of women Veterans.
“You have a voice in the VA, and we’ve learned a lot over the last few years about how to better serve you,” Powers told more than 1,500 women Veterans who joined the event by phone or online.
Powers said that about 60% of the VA’s employees are women, and that these employees and the growing number of women leaders at the VA are working to change the culture of the department to make sure women are comfortable at the VA. “We have women across this department helping to shape this department every day,” Powers said.
The VA has made progress by increasing the range of services available to women, including mental healthcare that is tailored specifically to women Veterans. These changes have resulted in an increase in the trust women Veterans have in VA – that trust has grown by 10% for women in the last six months, compared to a 6% increase for men.
Despite that progress, Powers said VA is working hard to make sure women Veterans are served well across the entire VA, and she encouraged all women to enroll for the benefits they’ve earned by serving their country.
“We’re here for all of our Veterans, and we hope that you choose the VA,” she said.
The Women Veterans Forum allowed several women leaders at the VA to explain the work they’re doing to ensure all VA facilities are inclusive.
Chief Veterans Experience Officer Dr. Lynda Davis explained how her office is set up to continuously poll women Veterans to learn more about their experience at the VA, which gives the VA the information it needs to improve services for women.
At the event, Center for Women Veterans Executive Director Jacqueline Hayes-Byrd and Deputy Director Elizabeth Estabrooks explained how the Center coordinates the delivery of care, benefits, services and programs for women Veterans, and advocates for culture change at the VA to ensure it serves women. They discussed the “I Am Not Invisible” campaign, which is aimed at increasing awareness and dialogue about women Veterans.
Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits Margarita Devlin discussed the compensation, pension, education, insurance, housing and other benefits available to women who served, and how the VA extended the process for applying for some of these benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And Chief Officer for Women’s Health Dr. Patricia Hayes outlined the growing range of care options for women Veterans, including primary care, fertility, and maternity care and gynecology. She noted that every VA medical center has a dedicated Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program coordinator.
For more information on resources for women Veterans, visit VA here.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law – Working for All!
“I started this company in Parkersburg, West Virginia, in 1994 as the solo attorney/employee. Today, I have a skilled, compassionate and diverse team of more than 118 serving clients throughout West Virginia, with offices in Parkersburg, Beckley, Charleston, Huntington and Logan, as well as one additional office in Charlotte, North Carolina,” states Jan Dils.
“I have always cared about Veterans’ issues. Over the years, our clientele of women has grown. As a woman that started in what was mostly a “male” career, I am honored to serve an increasingly diverse group of clients,” say Jan. “Women should not be ‘invisible in any field.’”
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we are experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate. And your first consultation is always free. Don’t struggle. Please contact the Jan Dils team at Fight4Vets.com or call 877.526.3455. Or you can simply fill out this form and we will contact you shortly.