When we say we support our troops, we should include WOMEN in that too. Women are the fastest growing segment in the US military, already accounting for approximately 14% of deployed forces. According to statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 20% of new recruits and 17% of Reserve and National Guard Forces are women.
As the number of women continues to grow in the military, so does the need for health care specifically targeted to their unique concerns. But it turns out that women service members who experience combat are as tough as the men they serve alongside. Men and women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 experienced very similar levels of combat-related stress and post-deployment mental health impacts during the first year following return from deployment.
Psychologist Dawne Vogt says, "Contrary to popular belief, women who go to war respond to combat trauma much like their male counterparts, and with the unpredictable guerilla tactics of modern warfare, barring women from ground combat is less meaningful." The findings are particularly significant given the recent call for the Pentagon to reverse its longstanding policy that bars women from ground combat. As of 2009, more than 750 women had been wounded or killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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