Supporting Women Veterans

Oct 03, 2012
Chris Wagaman

Commission on Status of Women and Girls Joins New Coalition to Support Women Veterans:

State Library Survey Prompts Action

SACRAMENTO – The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls has joined a new coalition with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), the State Library and the California Research Bureau (CRB) with the goal of helping women veterans connect to their state and federal benefits and local veterans services. The members of the coalition are committed to taking concrete steps in the coming year to improve the lives of women veterans.

The partnership was prompted by results of a recent survey of the needs of California women veterans, which found that many programs available to veterans are unfamiliar to women and as a consequence go underutilized. The survey was requested by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and CalVet.

Five issue briefs were released by the CRB today that highlight data from the survey indicating that California's women veterans experience levels of unemployment, military sexual trauma and mental health concerns at rates higher than reported by national sources and by their male counterparts. Despite a wide range of available services, the survey found that many women veterans are unaware of the services or unsure how to tap into them.

"The numbers show that what you don't know can, in fact, hurt you, or at least keep you from getting what belongs to you," said Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, Commission on the Status of Women and Girls Commissioner. "Women veterans cannot and should not experience lesser life satisfaction because of their service to country. Unemployment, poor mental health outcomes and sexual trauma should not be tolerated," added Assemblymember Lowenthal.

The Commission on the Status of Women and Girls announced an outreach and education campaign designed specifically to target women veterans. Engaging the statewide members of the Association of California Commissions for Women and other partners, this effort will coordinate voluntary initiatives involving business, non-profit and community-based organizations, community colleges and local government. The initiatives will be designed to secure commitments from different sectors of our community to provide direct information about the services available to our women veterans.

Suzanne Doty, President of the Association of California Commissions for Women said "the interests of our women veterans in California are a high priority to our organization. We must respect and honor their service to our country. We look forward to working together to make certain these brave women know what services are available to them, and to fill any gaps that currently exist."

Links to all five briefs developed by the CRB follow:

California Women Veterans At A Glance:

California Women Veterans' Benefit Utilization:

California's Women Veterans and Military Sexual Trauma:

California Women Veterans and Mental Health:

California Women Veterans and Employment:

The full survey can be found at

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) website is

CalVet's Women Veterans Division provides advocacy, information and support to all women veterans and their families in California. The division also coordinates with veteran service organizations, interest groups, legislators and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to enhance the lives of women veterans and to keep them up-to-date on the changing laws that impact their lives. CalVet's Women Veterans Division can be reached at 916-653-2327 or email

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About the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls: Established more than four decades ago, the Commission has been refocused as of July 1, 2012 to research and report on specific issue areas, including gender equity in the media; educational needs of women and girls; gender in the workplace and employment; health and safety of women and girls; and women in the military, women veterans, and military families. The Commission will continue to serve as a central information resource on issues that affect the lives of women and girls.

The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls recently moved and is now located in the California State Library at 900 N Street, Suite 390, Sacramento, CA 95814.