2021 Employment Situation of Women Veterans (VIDEO)
DOL Veterans’ Employment & Training Service, 2021

“I’d like to show you some comparisons by gender and veteran status, using the Current Population Survey, Annual Averages. I use annual averages because the monthly sample size of women veterans is small and volatile. We’ll start out looking at demographics and why I think these are so important to understand, and then we’ll go into some comparisons of labor force participation, unemployment, and a few other things in both 2019 and 2020.”

Key points include:

  • Among Gulf War II veterans, 47% of women and 39% of men are under 35 years old.
  • Among Blacks or African Americans, veterans have lower unemployment rates than nonveterans
  • Slack work or business conditions increased significantly in 2020 as the reason cited for working less than 35 hours a week among women veterans, male veterans, women nonveterans, and male nonveterans


Women Warriors Initiative Report, Wounded Warrior Project, March 2021 (PDF)

Previous Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) research found that women warriors experience military sexual trauma (MST), anxiety, and depression at higher rates than male warriors. To gain a deeper understanding of these issues, WWP developed the Women Warriors Initiative to better understand, empower, and advocate for these women warriors who have served our nation.

Key points include:

  • In many cases, warriors felt unprepared or even unwilling to transition, leaving some with a negative impression of their military service and a reluctance to access or trust Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) resources.
  • Women warriors universally agreed that preparation for civilian careers must begin sooner and cover more comprehensive topics than currently offered by DoD and VA… The TAP sessions women found most productive were those offering resume training and practice interviewing.
  • For those in rural communities, scarcity of providers contributes to inconsistent care… More must be done to increase ease of access to gender-specific health care in rural or underserved communities.


Female Veteran Experiences Survey: 2019-2020 Survey Results for California Community Colleges, Irvine Valley College, April 2020 (PDF)

“In an attempt to gain a better understanding of the unique circumstances faced by female veterans across the CCC, the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges (RP Group) worked with personnel from IVC to develop and administer a survey for female veterans. This report presents data from over 200 female veteran CCC students focused on their mental health and general well-being, their experience transitioning back to civilian life, their knowledge and use of Veterans Affairs (VA) and college-provided support services, and their perceptions of their college’s environment…”

Key points include:

  • Food and housing insecurity are clear challenges, as nearly half (45%) of respondents indicated facing some form of food insecurity after transitioning out of the military, while over half (56%) faced some form of housing insecurity.
  • Only 13% indicated being involved in any sort of campus-based social support group for military women, with most indicating that such supports do not exist. That said, the demand is there, as two-thirds indicated they would access support groups on campus if they existed, and that they would like campus support with reintegration into civilian life.
  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of participants indicated that their college understands the unique needs of serving student veterans. However, these students indicated a need for support that addresses the specific needs of female veterans, as only 30% agreed that their college understands their unique needs.


Women in the Military: Transition, Employment, and Higher Education After Service, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, March 2020

“This infographic provides key highlights on women in the military. The information in this document comes from our various data collection efforts centered on transition, employment, entrepreneurship, and higher education… Women in the Military Populations… Community Connectedness… Earnings… Entrepreneurship… Educational Attainment…”

Key points include:

  • 33% of female veteran respondents reported it took less than 3 months to find employment, compared to 41% of male veterans
  • 54% of female veteran respondents did not feel prepared to navigate resources in their local community, compared with 35% of male veteran respondents
  • Average earnings of female veteran respondents was $56,760, compared to $44,571 for female nonveterans


New York State Minority Veteran Needs Assessment, Center for New American Security, February 2020

“Disparities exist between the outcomes of minority veterans and their nonminority veteran peers. This report assesses the extent of those disparities for women; racial/ethnic minority veterans; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals… Analyzing the circumstances of minority veterans through focus groups, site visits to veteran-serving organizations, interviews with key stakeholders, and publicly available data, this needs assessment identifies: a) the differences between outcomes for minority versus nonminority veterans, as well as between minority veterans and their minority nonveteran counterparts; b) likely causes for identified variations, and c) recommendations for organizations that serve veterans to enhance equitable outcomes across the population. This needs assessment examines outcomes across four life domains: health, housing stability, financial stability, and social functioning… The second section presents the demographics of minority veterans in New York State specifically, and in the United States as a whole… Financial stability summarizes veterans’ overall wellbeing in terms of career, employment, and finances; prominent factors include educational attainment, income, wealth, and unemployment rates…”

Key points include:

  • Veterans are members of American society and are affected by many of the same challenges that their nonveteran peers face. Military service can help overcome many, but not all, structural and institutional barriers that have a disproportionate impact on women and minorities.
  • Black veterans experience unemployment at lower rates than black nonveterans but higher rates than white veterans, and women veterans have higher incomes than women nonveterans but lower incomes than men veterans.
  • Traditional homeless shelters pose barriers to single mothers and LGBT veterans.


Unemployment Rates of Women Veterans Enrolled in School  (PDF Factsheet)
DOL Veterans’ Employment & Training Service, 2019

“Veterans tend to attend school at older ages than non-veterans. In 2018, among 25-34 year olds, 35-44 year olds, and 45-54 year olds, women veterans were twice as likely as women nonveterans to be enrolled in school.”

Key points include:

  • The highest unemployment rates were among 18-54 year olds currently enrolled in school.
  • These trends have been consistent for five years, as long as data on unemployment among 18-54 year olds enrolled in school has been available.
  • In 2018, there was an annual average of 22,000 unemployed 18-54 year old veterans enrolled in school. Among these, 23% (5,000) were women veterans.


2018 Employment, Unemployment, and Education (VIDEO) | PPTX PDF Transcript
DOL Veterans’ Employment & Training Service, 2019

“In 2018, the unemployment rate of women veterans was lower than that of male veterans or nonveterans of either gender, however these differences do not exceed the margins of error and therefore the unemployment rates of these four populations are not considered to be statistically different.”

Key points include:

  • Women veterans are more likely than male veterans to be employed.
  • The highest unemployment rates are among 18-54 year olds currently enrolled in school.
  • In 2018, there was an annual average of 22,000 unemployed 18-54 year old veterans enrolled in school. Among these, 23% were women veterans.


Women Veterans: The Journey Ahead, Disabled American Veterans, 2018 (PDF)

“Women, now eligible to compete for assignment in all military occupational specialties and positions, are the fastest-growing subpopulation of the military and veteran communities. They comprise almost 20 percent of the active-duty armed forces, Reserve and National Guard and 10 percent of the total veteran population… But the population of women in these communities is growing more rapidly than the systems we have in place to support them. This has created an environment in which—whether intentional or not—women’s service to the nation is often less recognized, less respected and less valued than their male counterparts… It has led to a culture that, in many ways, continues to tell women they don’t quite belong… DAV’s Women Veterans: The Journey Ahead follows our 2014 report Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home, giving credit for the work done and successes achieved while also spotlighting remaining needs and making recommendations for a road map forward…”

Key points include:

  • Overall, women veterans are adequately employed and have higher incomes than comparable civilian women at all ages.
  • Disabled women veterans and those in school still struggle with employment.
  • State efforts to help military service members transfer experience, training and certificates to the private sector have helped all veterans find meaningful employment after service.


Veteran Women & Business: A Data Resource, National Women’s Business Council, November 2017 (PDF)

“Veteran women-owned firm increased 294.7 percent in number from 2007 to 2012. During the same time period, the number of non-veteran women-owned firms increased by 23.4 percent… This report develops a profile of the veteran women business owner through the presentation of business and business owner characteristics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 and 2012 Survey of Business Owners and Self-Employed Persons and 2015 Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs… It is not meant to be all inclusive but, rather, to highlight the current landscape of veteran women-owned firms based off of publically available data…”

Key points include:

  • Veteran women are outpacing their non-veteran counterparts in terms of launching new businesses… However, veteran women-owned firms continue to bring in lower receipts than non-veteran women-owned firms.
  • Women-owned firms often experience challenges with access to capital. Research has demonstrated that compared to men, women-owned firms start their business with nearly half as much capital as men.
  • On average, compared to their male counterparts, veteran women business owners tend to be younger. Nearly half of all veteran male business owners were 65 years or older while only 10.5 percent of veteran women business owners were the same age.


Women Veterans Report: The Past, Present and Future of Women Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, February 2017

“Since the time of the All-Volunteer Force, the number of women serving in the military has grown. Ultimately, these women make the transition from Service member to Veteran. In 2015, women comprised 9.4 percent of the total Veteran population in the United States. By 2043, women are projected to make up 16.3 percent of all living Veterans. This report summarizes the history of women in the military and as Veterans, profiles the characteristics of women Veterans in 2015, illustrates how women Veterans in 2015 used some of the major benefits and services that are offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and discusses the future of women Veterans in relation to VA. The goal of this report is to communicate an understanding of who our women Veterans are, how their military service affects their post-military lives, and how they can be better served based on these insights.”

Key points include:

  • The total population of women Veterans is expected to increase at an average rate of about 18,000 women per year for the next 10 years. Women Veterans currently are and will continue to be an important part of the Veteran community and an important part of VA.
  • In 2015, 23.4 percent of all women Veterans were currently divorced compared with 12.6 percent of non-Veteran women.
  • Overall, women Veterans were less likely than non-Veteran women to be living in poverty in 2015. About 10 percent of all women Veterans and 15 percent of all non-Veteran women had incomes below the poverty threshold.


Women Veteran Economic and Employment Characteristics, IMPAC International, LLC, February 2016 (PDF)

“This report profiles the demographic and employment characteristics of women veterans and compares these characteristics to those of male veterans, women non-veterans, and male non-veterans… The American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample, the March Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), and the August CPS Veterans Supplement were used for this report. The data and methodology used for this study parallel other data descriptions of women veterans conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other entities, but there are some differences in the data sources and the samples selected from the data that were required for the study methodology. The profile on women veterans presented in this report is descriptive only and causal analysis would be needed to explain factors that underlie the labor market outcomes of women veterans…”

Key points include:

  • A higher percentage of women veterans are African American (19 percent) relative to the women non-veteran population (12 percent) while a lower percentage are of Asian descent (1 percent) or members of other races (5 percent). A lower percentage of women veterans are of Hispanic origin (7 percent) compared to women non-veterans (14 percent).
  • Women veterans are more educated than their male counterparts. Some 46 percent of women veterans have Associates Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or higher compared to 34 percent of male veterans who have Associates Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
  • Women veterans are also more likely to have reported some type of disability (20 percent) than women non-veterans (16 percent), but less likely than male veterans (28 percent).


America’s Women Veterans, VA National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, November 2011 (PDF)

“Over the past 30 years, women have entered the military in ever-increasing numbers. Ultimately, these women will make the transition from Servicemember to Veteran. In 2009, women comprised 8 percent of the total Veteran population in the United States. By 2035, they are projected to make up 15 percent of all living Veterans. This comprehensive report chronicles the history of women in the military and as Veterans, profiles the charac­teristics of women Veterans in 2009, illustrates how women Veterans in 2009 utilized some of the major benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and discusses the future of women Veterans in relation to VA. The goal of this report is to gain an understanding of who our women Veterans are, how their military service affects their post-military lives, and how they can be better served based on these insights.”

Key points include:

  • Women who have served in the U.S. military are often referred to as “invisible Veterans” because their service contributions until the 1970s went largely unrecognized by politicians, the media, academia, and the general public.
  • Women have formally been a part of the U.S. Armed Forces since the inception of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901, but have informally served since the inception of our nation’s military.
  • The end of conscription and the transition to the All-Volunteer Force in 1973 marked a dramatic increase in the opportunities available for women to serve in the military.