New Survey Results from Post-9/11 Women Veterans Highlight Transition Needs

Recently, post-9/11 veterans shared their thoughts on the importance of addressing issues facing women veterans as part of the 2022 IAVA Member Survey. Among a variety of veteran-related topics, this collaboration between Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) surveyed over 5,000 current or former servicemembers about the importance of supporting women veterans. The women who participated in this survey also help us understand experiences of the roughly two in five women veterans living in the U.S. today who served after September 11, 2001 as they transitioned from the military into civilian life.

The 2022 IAVA Member Survey found that 75% of all members surveyed, men and women, thought that it was either “very important” or “extremely important” to address unique issues facing women veterans. About half of all IAVA members (48%) thought that women’s advancement in the military has been limited by past restrictions on women in combat, compared to only 27% who did not. Thirty-nine percent thought that lifting this restriction has improved public recognition of women’s contributions to the military. IAVA continues to champion full recognition for women veterans’ service – particularly in ensuring that women veterans have access to healthcare that meets their needs.

These recent survey results underscore the importance of addressing the specific needs of women veterans as they transition from military service to civilian life, the majority of whom reported a difficult transition. The findings suggest that better preparation may be needed for a successful transition: about half of these post-9/11 women veterans felt unprepared for their transition and for accessing their healthcare and benefits, and around one-third felt unprepared for accessing post-service education. Still, most women veterans surveyed rely on VA healthcare benefits (83%) and education benefits (71%) to build their post-service lives. This survey shows that much work remains for those serving veterans to identify and close these preparation gaps for women veterans, ensuring a smoother transition for those women who served.

Data from the almost 700 women veteran who participated in the 2022 IAVA Member Survey also informed the recently-published research spotlight on Women in the Military: From Service to Civilian Life. Here are some key highlights illustrating the experiences of these women veterans:

Transition

62% of the women veterans described their overall transition from active duty as difficult. 

0 %
said they experienced many challenges while transitioning out of the military.
0 %
say they still experience many challenges related to their military service.
0 %
had a job secured before they left the military.
Women veterans satisfied with their current job
79%
Women veterans considered themselves to be underemployed
31%
Women veterans unprepared to successfully navigate the transition from military to civilian life
52%

Healthcare

83% of the women veterans are enrolled in VA Healthcare. Of those 83%…

0 %
use VA primary source of care.
0 %
had south healthcare from the VA in the past month.
0 %
rated their overall experience with VA healthcare as good or excellent.
Women veterans receiving VA benefits other than healthcare
66%
Women veterans unprepared to navigate the healthcare and benefits system
51%

Education

71% of the women veterans have enrolled in higher education since separating from the military. Of those 71%…

0 %
used the Post-9/11 GI Bill
0 %
used the Montgomery GI Bill
0 %
used VA Vocational Rehabilitation training
0 %
of those seeking higher education say they could not have afforded school without the GI Bill
0 %
were unsure if they could afford school without it
0 %
graduated
Women veterans unprepared to access post-service education at the time of transition
36%
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