WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs joins the nation in observing Women’s History Month in March by honoring women veterans for their significant historical contributions and encouraging them to take advantage of the VA benefits they’ve earned.

“VA honors women veterans of all eras for their courage and sacrifice,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki on March 8. “These veterans, and those who currently serve in uniform, are part of a proud history of women defending our nation. Today, women veterans are recognized for more varied roles and operations, but women have always been critical to our military.”

Women serve in every branch of the military, representing 15 percent of today’s active-duty military and nearly 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces. They serve as gunners, police, pilots, truck drivers and fuel suppliers. By 2020, VA estimates women will constitute 10 percent of the veteran population.

VA recently launched a “Stories of Service” video series depicting the role of women in the military, available at www.womenshealth.va.gov.  In these three- to five-minute video vignettes, women veterans spanning various eras and service branches talk about their experiences in the military and how they made VA benefits work for them.

VA offers women veterans employment services, education benefits, compensation for service-connected illnesses or injuries, and home loan guarantees, as well as high-quality, gender-specific health care. As part of an aggressive initiative to improve health-care services for women veterans, VA established a call center to let women veterans know about services available to them.

“We want women veterans to take advantage of VA benefits and services to improve their future,” said Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris, director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans.

“VA’s mission is to serve veterans. When it comes to health care, VA understands women veterans,” said Dr. Patricia Hayes, chief consultant for VA’s Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group. “We can provide women veterans with health care that will keep them strong and healthy in all stages of their lives.”

For more information, call 1-800-827-1000 or visit www.va.gov/womenvet.

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