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Women Veterans & Unemployment

December 10, 2011

I am wondering with some concern about the possible disproportionate inequality of opportunities outlined in the full text of the American Jobs Act, and wonder if others are noticing such as well? Particularly regarding women Veterans.

But first, my intent is to stimulate conversation and thoughts that may drive more than just discussion. I want to stimulate greater awareness about women Veterans employment needs and thereby provide solutions in the very near future.

I am a Veteran, and although the numbers stated below may not be exact ( I am not a statistician) they may provide a generalized snapshot for discussion, in greater detail. Much farther below is a list of resources for Women Veterans. I hope all who read this will share it with others and hire women Veterans. There is no reason women who have served our country should be with out a job or be homeless.

There are between 25 -26 million Veterans in the US, of which 39% are 65 or older. The average age of all Veterans is about 61 years old.

I want to hear some comments and thoughts relative to proposed American Jobs Act and whether it will really help any of the nearly 40% of the older Veterans in our nation, or the larger ever growing number of women Veterans?

Are certain existing and proposed economic programs forgetting about women in certain male dominant career fields and more importantly women Veterans as a whole.http://www.Veteransnewsroom.com/files/press/Veterans-Fact-Sheet-Veterans.pdf

Although Veterans comprise a richly diverse group, most Veterans are predominantly White, non-Hispanic, married males.  With that said, female veteran demographic characteristics are quite different from those of their male counterparts. Although, the majority of Veterans are male, only 6-8 percent of all Veterans are women, depending on where you get your statistics.

The average age of the female Veteran is about 47 years old.

Every day, women in the military proudly serve our country, but when they return home they often do not receive the recognition, benefits, services or opportunities they have earned and deserve. Please read and consider listening to Women Veteran Voices http://youtu.be/_x9zLFFkdtk

Also, might I suggest reading the results from a 2007 survey, “Understanding the Complexity of Women Veterans’ Career Transitions.

Women, including women Veterans, are an under-recognized and under-utilized group of workers who I believe are not equally afforded opportunities. And they should be specifically targeted for healthcare and job opportunities with regards to this latest jobs focus under the American Jobs Act and health reforms or any other state or local programs.

There are roughly 11 M Veterans in the workforce. And, as of January 2010, the unemployment rate for women Veterans was roughly 11.2 percent, compared to 9.4 percent for veteran men as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Then unemployment rate for younger women Veterans is even higher, read more.

Furthermore, Veterans live in six predominant states as noted below with numbers above one million service members. Let’s say that if the 8% figure for total number of women holds as a constant figure both for total women vets in the workforce and for each state as a rounded out figure one can roughly do the math of many women will need the support of the American Jobs Act.

  • CA with 2.1M Veterans (8% women Veterans would = about 168,000 female Veterans? Right?)
  • Fl with 1.7 M Veterans (8% women Veterans would = about 144,000 female Veterans?)
  • Tx with 1.7 M Veterans (8% women Veterans would = about 144,000 female Veterans?)
  • PA with 1M Veterans (8% women Veterans would = about 80,000 female Veterans?)
  • NY with 1M + Veterans (8% women Veterans would = about 80,000 female Veterans?)
  • OH with about 1M Veterans (8% women Veterans would = about 80,000 female Veterans?)


That’s possibly 680,00 women Veterans or more in six key states may need services and employment support, are there any information campaigns targeting these states for women Veterans?

Lets look at some numbers in a different way. I have heard that “we will bring jobs to the construction industry through the American Jobs act. I want to look at the construction industry for a brief moment from a woman’s perspective.

Pretend, I am a single mom with 3 kids to feed. Will it help me? Pretend I am a women veteran with three kids to feed and I am also single and unemployed. Will the Jobs Act help women get a job?  Or is it disproportionately gender biased?

I think I read somewhere that women account for 85% of all consumer purchases in this economy, including everything from autos to health care:

  • 91% of New Homes
  • 66% PCs
  • 92% Vacations
  • 80% Healthcare
  • 65% New Cars
  • 89% Bank Accounts
  • 93% Food
  • 93 % OTC Pharmaceuticals

Construction Industry ( it was brought up in speeches for the American Jobs Act, so it is being used as a comparative number but also to point out women in this field need greater support for employment services).

When OSHA was enacted, women made up less than one percent of workers in the construction trades. By 1995 that percentage had only grown to 2.3 percent, and today women comprised only three percent of the population of construction trades, slightly over one percent of operating engineers, and less than one percent of masons.

Further analysis shows how some of these figures might look in a bar graph. http://enr.construction.com/business_management/workforce/2010/extras/1013.asp

# of construction workers = 3M males

13.5 % unemployed = 222,222 males, 2-3% = 6,000 – 9,000 women

of which 40% (88,800) are Hispanic, average age 20-35, 60% don’t speak English.

#’s related to bridge builders/iron workers (About 88 percent worked in construction, with 51 percent working for foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors)

# Iron workers = 97,800 jobs in 2008 (13.5%= 13,203 men)

# Structural iron and steel workers held about 70,200 jobs (13.5% = 9,477 men)

# Re enforcing iron and rebar workers held about 27,700 jobs (13.5%= 3,739 men)


There might be 248,641 male construction related jobs that may be needed versus the # of Unemployed Women Veterans

11.2% unemployed women Veterans with an average age 47 = 2.8 million women Veterans who may need jobs and other services 

There may be about 680,00 or more women Veterans in six primary key states

Read the survey results below from “Understanding the Complexity of Women Veterans’ Career Transitions” It is important to note that this survey offers a first composite picture of transition into the workplace for the woman veteran. Additionally significant is the sample and methodology used, in the absence of a comprehensive database of women Veterans available to the public.

An initial look at the survey results indicates that the transition from the military into the civilian workforce is a multi-dimensional process. Policy makers may need to examine a number of factors in order to craft programs and services that more fully support women Veterans that are moving into the civilian workforce. In addition, the implications relate not only to the types of resources needed during transition but the timing and duration of those resources.

Information about employment resources for women Veterans specifically are quite fragmented, in my humble opinion. There is no consistent messaging or outreach for women Veterans as a single go to source. And, I would like to see greater effort by providing national information outreach campaigns that specifically target women Veterans with employment information and resources. It’s easy to get lost in the transition, all the differing systems, information resources and processes.

For the first time in U.S. history, women comprise about 11 percent of American troops serving in combat theaters in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates women will soon account for 10 percent of the veteran population. Women Veterans have unique needs and challenges that affect their ability to maintain meaningful employment – for instance, many are single parents with dependent children and have histories of trauma, especially of a sexual nature. VA and community-based service providers have developed programs offering specialized services for women.

  • All VA medical centers and many Readjustment Counseling (Vet) Centers have a designated Women Veterans Program Manager to help women Veterans access VA benefits and health care services. For a state-by-state listing of Veterans Health Administration facilities, click here.
  • VA began a system wide initiative in November 2008 to make comprehensive primary care for women Veterans available at every VA medical facility (medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics). According to a GAO report released in July 2009, the facilities are in various stages of implementing this initiative. Who will tell our women Vets? And, How?
  • All Veterans Benefits Administration regional offices have a Women Veterans Coordinator to help women Veterans apply for VA benefits and assistance programs. To locate your local office, click here.
  • Most State Departments of Veterans Affairs have a designated Women Veterans Coordinator to help women Veterans.       A list of coordinators can be found here.
  • Some community-based organizations have programs specifically designed for homeless women Veterans;find an organization near you here.

Connect-A-Vet Resources (source: The Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation, a research and education institution solely dedicated to issues that affect working women). Helpful resources especially organized for Veterans. All these other web sites offer a wealth of information to use as you transition from the military to civilian life, search for a new career or seek support for you and your family.


Financial – Small Business Assistance

Employment and Career Services

Financial Support Service

Financial – Benefits


Government Agencies and Programs


Housing Services and Facilities

Health – Support Groups and Grief Counseling

Legal Support

Legislation and Public Policy

Memorials, Cemeteries, and Services

Professional Organizations and Special Groups

Statistics, Facts and Research Tools

Resources for Parents, Teachers, and Family Support Professionals in Times of War

  1. sweetopiagirl
    December 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Inspiredweightloss.

  2. December 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you for the mention on your site.

    Alice M. Fisher, Owner
    Unlimited PR & Associates, LLC
    A Woman Veteran-Owned Small Business

  1. December 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm
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