On October 22, 2011, I had the pleasure of moderating the “Women’s Issues Forum” at the Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP) 2011 National Conference held in Arlington, VA. It was a great opportunity to raise awareness about the current challenges women veterans face upon their reintegration into civilian life as well as the critical needs of women currently serving in the military and that of their families. Having worked for SWAN’s Peer Support Helpline until recently, I felt committed to voicing the concerns raised by our clients, who play such an important role in informing the policies for which SWAN advocates.
Panelists each had 5-10 minutes to introduce ourselves and highlight the work that we’re doing. I gave an overview of SWAN, using the mission and vision statements as a basis to explain what SWAN does. Other panelists were:
Kayla Williams (author, Love My Rifle More Than You)
Linda Kreter (founder of VeteranCaregiver.com)
Pamela Stokes Eggleston (Development Director of Blue Star Families)
Audience members were very engaged, asking many questions and sharing their own experiences as veterans or military family members. We discussed a range of topics, spanning from the positive effect of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) on service women, being that they have been disproportionately affected by the policy, to women veterans’ varied experiences at VA Medical Centers (VAMC).