Female Veterans: Transitioning From Military To Civilian Life
A return from military to civilian life brings significant challenges. Just like any changes in your military life, the more you prepare, the smoother things will go. This article focuses on the aspects of transitioning to civilian life, especially for women veterans.
Many researchers have pointed out that women servicemembers face various adversities in the military upon reintegration into society and transition into a societal structure. These researchers also suggest that women servicemembers experience an identity crisis throughout the transitioning stages of their military career and future plans.
Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life
Less than 10% of United States citizens serve in the military at some point in their lifetimes. This means that an overwhelming majority (about 90% of the population within the United States) has not experienced military life and what that entails. For example, they are not aware of the basic training or have not faced multiple physical tests & evaluations to assure that they can deal with the physical demands of the military. Also, they have not faced psychological & emotional challenges posed by military life.
Additionally, most people have not faced the struggles in trying to reintegrate into civilian life and women veteran transition into civilian life after serving in the military.
Since there are more women in the USA than men, these statistics show that the military is a male-dominated field. A much larger number of males are serving in the military and have served in the military than women. These historically gender-based differences pose adversities that many military women struggled with in the past and still today. Since female veterans and active-duty service members have been a minority in the military setting, common people have less insight into these women’s unique challenges in the military environment and upon returning home.
Since the creation of the GI Bill, veterans have had greater access to information. The GI Bill enables military members to return home and join a service.
All veterans, including male and female, experience difficulties in reintegrating into civilian life from life in the military for various reasons. These reasons range from psychological distress, changes during deployment or multiple deployments, adjustment issues to feeling out of place, and more.
Most of the reasons that appear to influence reintegration into civilian life and transition fall into three categories: structural and experiential differences, societal pressures and differences in society, and identity pressures.
The difficulty in reintegration depends on the severity, presence, and unique combination of hardships for both male & female veterans. While there is a horde of factors that can influence both men and women servicemembers’ transition, some struggles are accelerated for women veterans compared to men or are unique to female veterans.
Dr. Karen Walker
Personnel Research Psychologist at Department of Justice
Founder of KW Productions