Female Veterans


Much information about celebrating women has dominated the news recently. It is fitting to comment on a special group of women; our female veterans.

According to data from the 2009 American Community Survey, 1.5 million Veterans in the United States and Puerto Rico were women.  Women represented about 8 percent of the total Veteran population in 2009. These female veterans are a national resource. The are trained, disciplined citizens who have much to offer our country.

Almost half of all women Veterans have served during the Gulf War Era (August 1990 to the present). These numbers, as well as the assignment of women to what had been traditional male roles, has forced our society to alter their view of female veterans and likely females in general.

Over 200,000 women served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This total was exceeded only by the number of women who served during WW II.

Twenty-three percent of all women Veterans had a high school diploma or less as their highest level of educational attainment in 2009, compared with 44 percent of non-Veteran women.  About a third more women Veterans had some college as their highest level of education compared with nonVeteran women (47 percent compared with 32 percent, respectively).  Overall, a higher percentage of all women Veterans (30 percent) than non-Veterans (25 percent) had completed a Bachelor’s or advanced degree. Female veterans have demonstrated that they value training and education.

 Women currently comprise approximately 17% of our active services and may serve in 95% of ll Military Occupational Specialties.

For almost 100 years the American Legion has recognized the military service of our nations females. From the very beginning female veterans were welcomed into the American Legion as full and equal comrades. Female veterans could vote in American Legion elections starting in 1919. It was not until 1920, and the passage of the 19th Amendment, that the Constitution guaranteed a women’s vote.

We will continue to work to improve female veterans’ health care. We will continue to support legislation and Department of Defense policies that improve the family lives of our veterans.

The equal status of female veterans, and their increasing numbers and influence, is most clearly evidenced by the election of American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan, a veteran, and a female.


For God and Country

John Hince


American Legion Department of Texas