Data Brief: Women Veteran Entrepreneurs, Institute for Veterans & Military Families, 2021

“This brief provides highlights from the 2020 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs focusing on female veteran entrepreneurs. These findings are based on the data collected from 432 female veteran entrepreneurs, which represents 27% of the respondents that answered the gender question of the 2020 survey. This study monitors trends in the activity, needs, and economic, social, and policy barriers of military-affiliated entrepreneurs in the United States.”

Key points include:

  • 48% of female veteran entrepreneurs started a business because they wanted to help society and support their communities
  • 48% of female veteran entrepreneurs were turned down by lender or creditor when applying for financing
  • 59% of female veteran entrepreneurs feel that the military has prepared them for their business challenges associated with COVID-19 pandemic


Psychosocial Risk Factors for Transitions Into Housing Instability Among Women Veterans, Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, March 2021

“Preventing and ending homelessness for women veterans, a priority of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), can be aided by identifying factors that increase their risk for housing instability… This study relied on data from the Veterans Health Administration’s universal screen for housing instability from Fiscal Year 2013 to 2016, and administrative data from electronic medical records. Using logistic regression, we compared 2 groups of women veterans: those who consistently had stable housing and those who transitioned to unstable housing after a period of housing stability.”

Key points include:

  • A history of military sexual trauma, lack of access to VA benefits and other financial resources, and single or divorced marital status were significant risk factors for women veterans’ housing instability. 
  • Findings are consistent with an existing theoretical model of housing instability and homelessness among women veterans, which highlights the importance of traumatic and adverse events and isolation as risk factors.
  • Risk factors and their effect of women veterans’ housing instability can be mitigated by new and increased supportive interventions, targeted to those at highest risk.


Gender Differences in the Predictors of Suicide-related Morbidity Among Veterans Reporting Current Housing Instability, Medical Care, February 2021

“Veterans experiencing housing instability are at increased risk of suicide… The objective of the present study was to explore whether correlates of suicide-related morbidity among unstably housed Veterans vary by gender and identify implications for improved care for these Veterans… The study cohort included 86,325 Veterans who reported current housing instability between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2016.”

Key points include:

  • Among unstably housed female Veterans, being younger than 40 years was associated with more than double the odds of having an indicator of suicidal ideation and >12 times the odds of having an indicator of a suicide attempt.
  • The presence of mental health and substance use conditions as well as a positive screen for military sexual trauma were associated with increased risk of suicide morbidity among both women and men.
  • Further research should explore tailored interventions to address the complex needs of unstably housed Veterans and how suicide prevention can be woven throughout.


Housing Instability and Homeless Program Use Among Veterans: The Intersection of Race, Sex, and Homelessness, Housing Policy Debate (PDF), February 2020

“This study describes race/sex differences in housing instability among veterans and examines whether there are disparities in their access of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) programs. The sample comprised 5,355,858 veterans who responded to VHA’s universal screen for housing instability (Homelessness Screening Clinical Reminder) between October 2012 and March 2016.”

Key points include:

  • Overall, white men had the lowest rate of positive screens at 2.1%; American Indian/Alaska Native women had the highest rate at 6.3%
  • Regardless of sex, white veterans had the lowest rates of housing instability.
  • Compared with men, women in each racial category had higher rates of housing instability.


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.


2019 Gender and Veteran Demographics (VIDEO) | PPTX PDF Transcript
DOL Veterans’ Employment & Training Service, 2020

“There are nearly 2 million living women veterans in the United States… Women currently make up approximately 10% of the overall veteran population…Veterans make up 14% of the men in America… But among women in America, only 1.5% are veterans.” 

Key points include:

  • In order to meet 1 woman veteran, you may have to meet 69 women.
  • To meet just one woman under age 35 who has served in the military, you may have to meet 102 women of that age group.
  • The median age of male veterans is 65 years, while the median age of women veterans is 51 years, a difference of 14 years.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Climate Snapshot Poll: Top Resource Needs of Veterans and Active Duty Service Members, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, May 2020

"In the second installment in a series of snapshot poll briefs, the IVMF research team, in partnership with Military Times, examines the impact of the coronavirus on the military and veteran community, including financial and other stresses during these unprecedented times. This second brief analyzes resource needs among veteran and the active duty service member populations in key areas such as employment, education, childcare, mental and physical health, along with caregiving resources…"

Key points include:

  • Female veterans reported a higher percentage of need in top resource areas.
  • Veteran and active duty minorities reported a higher percentage of resource need in key resource areas.
  • Active duty (over veterans) reported a higher percentage of need in key resource areas.


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 in the Military: Where They Stand (10th Edition), Service Women’s Action Network, 2019 (PDF)

“The tenth edition of Women in the Military: Where They Stand represents both change and continuity. The first eight editions were published by the Women’s Research & Education Institute (WREI) between 1991 and 2013. A ninth edition was published by the Alliance for National Defense in 2014 and now the Service Women’s Action Network has assumed publication responsibilities. Navy Captain (retired) Lory Manning is the principal author of this and all previous versions of this booklet…”

Key points include:

  • In both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, military women from the U.S. and other countries have shown the mental and physical toughness needed to perform well under fire, to defend themselves and their comrades with courage, and to endure the conditions inherent to life in a combat zone.
  • Fifty American servicewomen died and 383 were wounded in action during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), which ended in December 2014. One hundred and ten women were killed and 627 were wounded in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ended on 31 August 2010. One woman died and 12 were wounded in action in Operation New Dawn (Iraq), from September 2010 to December 2011.
  • As of now, five women have died and 68 have been wounded in action in Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq and Syria), which began in 2014; and to date four women have died and 12 have been wounded in action in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (Afghanistan), which began in 2015. Two women, both enlisted, have received the Silver Star for heroism—one in Operation Iraqi Freedom and one in Operation Enduring Freedom. Two women, both enlisted, have received the Silver Star for heroism—one in Operation Iraqi Freedom and one in Operation Enduring Freedom.


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.


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.


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.


Characteristics of Female Veterans-An Analytic View Across Age-Cohorts: 2015, U.S. Census Bureau, August 2017

“This brief examines the transition of female veterans from the military to civilian life. As there is no perfect measure of this transition, nor perfect data that align to the life course of veterans, this analysis uses three different age snapshots as career proxies to deter­mine if female veterans are different from nonveterans throughout their working ages, or if the differences are more prominent at the early stage of the transition from military to civilian life. The data used in this brief are from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year estimates and represent the civilian population of women 18 to 64 years old living in the United States… The ACS does not have a measure of years of work experience, therefore age is being used as a proxy in this brief. Women are categorized by age groups that correspond with approximate career stages. Women between the ages of 18 to 34 were considered early-career, those between the ages of 35 to 44 were mid-career, and those 45 to 64 years old were late-career…”

Key points include:

  • Early-career female veterans were older, married, have a child in the household, and enrolled in college at higher rates than early-career female nonveterans.
  • Mid- and late-career female veterans were more likely to be enrolled in college and to have a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared with similarly aged nonveterans.
  • Female veterans, in all age groups, were more likely to be employed, work full-time, year-round, work in the government, and have higher median earnings than their nonveteran counterparts.


2016 Industries and Occupations (VIDEO) | PDF Transcript
DOL Veterans’ Employment & Training Service, 2017

“An industry is a group of establishments that produce similar products or provide similar services… an occupation is a set of activities or tasks that employees are paid to perform… Some occupations are concentrated in a few particular industries, while other occupations are found in many industries.”

Key points include:

  • 16% of women veterans worked for the federal government in 2016.
  • Women veterans are equally likely as male nonveterans and nearly three times as likely as women nonveterans to work in protective service occupations.
  • Women veterans are more likely than women nonveterans to work in computer and mathematical occupations.


Women as Share of State Veteran Population (PDF Factsheet)
DOL Veterans’ Employment & Training Service, 2016

“Women as share of state veteran populations (2016-2025 projections)… Data obtained from "VetPop2014," U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics… Calculations done by U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans' Employment and Training Service, Women Veteran Program.”

Key points include:

  • It is projected that 12% of veterans nationwide will be women by 2025.
  • The state projected to have the largest percentage of women as a share of veterans by 2025 is Maryland (17%).
  • The state projected to have the smallest percentage of women as a share of veterans by 2025 is West Virginia (7%).


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).


Veteran and Non-Veteran Job Seekers: Exploratory analysis of services and outcomes for customers of federally-funded employment services, Summit, January 2015

“This exploratory investigation contrasts the experiences of Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG) veterans, non-JVSG veterans, and non-veterans who participated in federally-funded employment services. It examines employment rates, earnings, duration in employment services, and how quickly customers receive staff-assisted services. Comparisons were also made across gender, age, and military separation status.”

Key points include:

  • For those who received JVSG services, the gender earnings gap still exists, but it is considerably smaller ($2,386).
  • Earnings for males are fairly consistent across veteran classifications, and the closing gender earnings gap for JVSG veterans is due to substantially higher earnings for JVSG females relative to female non-JVSG veterans and non-veterans.
  • A greater percentage of males receive staff-assisted services within the first week after registration.


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.