In 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported 1,853,690 women veterans living in the United States, 214,098 women currently serving in active duty, 118,781 women serving in the reserves and 72,790 serving in the National Guard.
Since the start of women in the military as nurses in the American Revolution, the history of women in the military has grown to the numbers we see above.
“As a female in the army you always have to prove yourself 10 times more than a man and push yourself 10 times more just to prove a point,” said Jennifer Rasin, a transitioning Army veteran. “It was a matter of just being true to yourself and knowing you did what you needed to do and you gave your all in spite of the challenges.”
With over one million women veterans in the country, it’s important to acknowledge the rise of women in the military and the struggles women, and all veterans, may face upon exiting the service.
“It seems like no one wants to hire a female veteran,” Rasin said of her struggles to find a job after leaving the service. She currently is back in school to pursue a degree that will give her more options.
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) honors our women veterans with programs to help them start their own business after they separate from the service.
Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) is just one of the programs offered at Syracuse University through the IVMF. With 11 percent of the military service serving in Afghanistan and Iraq being women, V-WISE realizes the importance of empowering female veterans by honing their military skills into the skills they need to start their own businesses.
The program is separated into three phases. The first is an online component consisting of a 15-day course on business ownership and recognizing business opportunities. The second phase is a three-day conference held at various locations across the U.S. The three-day learning opportunity consists of networking, guest speakers and training tools. Upon completion of the conference, a resource and support network is provided as members start the journey toward entrepreneurship.
The program is available to all female veterans and active duty service members from all branches of any era. V-WISE is also open to female partners and spouses of active duty and veteran service members.
Jenny Hale is currently a Public Relations graduate student at the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Hale is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management with degrees in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Her minor is in Native American Studies. Hale has spent time volunteering at the VA Hospital and is an active military and veteran supporter. She is currently a public relations and marketing intern at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families.