Shed Gender Preferences when Hiring Veterans | DCR Workforce Blog

Shed Gender Preferences when Hiring Veterans

At DCR Workforce, we’re encouraged by the number of companies who are demonstrating a true commitment to hiring veterans. LinkedIn just went all out, helping veterans import their profiles onto the Veterans Administration Employment Center website, which offers access to a million job postings in the public and private sectors. LinkedIn also gives veterans a free one-year subscription to its premium job seeker tools! LinkedIn is not alone. Coursera is offering one free verified certificate to veterans for select high demand courses ranging from data science to cybersecurity and healthcare. But how many initiatives are focused on women veterans in need of employment?

Not so long ago, only 2% of military jobs were allowed to be filled by women. When this limit was lifted in 1973, women started entering the military in huge numbers. 280,000 American women served in the Global war on terrorism, 14.5% of the 1.4 million service members on active duty are women; and 20% of new recruits to service are women. So, it is necessary for us to put processes in place to help them face the challenges when transitioning back to civilian life.

Shed Gender Preferences when Hiring Veterans

As illustrated amply by this table of veterans’ unemployment rates, there are higher rates of unemployment among women veterans in almost every category, which has been a matter of significant all-round concern. First Lady Michelle Obama is sponsoring and supporting various initiatives which draw attention to the fact that women veterans are finding it harder to find employment than their male counterparts. Let’s examine the issues which make it more difficult for women veterans to return to civilian employment.

Women Veteran Unemployment – Some Causes and Concerns:

  • Women veterans are more likely to be single parents with one or more dependent children, reducing their flexibility in terms of work hours and locations.
  • Their education levels are lower than the general female population.
  • In addition to the trauma of military service leading experienced by men, some women also face sexual trauma and harassment when in service. This increased the potential for physical disabilities, post-traumatic stress, depression and other psychological conditions. As a result, women veterans could face higher rates of medical and mental health concerns when compared to their male counterparts.
  • More female veterans are homeless than their male counterparts, as unemployment and family responsibilities take a toll on their financial stability.
  • About 6.8% of all women veterans require ongoing health care. The Veteran Administration hospitals have been geared to addressing the medical problems of male soldiers. They often fail to provide gender-specific care, rehabilitation programs designed for women, modifications to prosthetic limbs to suit their specific needs and suitable in-patient facilities. As a result, prolonged medical conditions prevent some female veterans from being able to enter the civilian workforce.

What could be the possible reasons for this situation? We mention some of the more obvious ones, here:

  1. About a quarter of all women in service are married to other service personnel; and military spouses always have higher unemployment rates as they move once every two (or three) years.
  2. Some female veterans fail to mention their veteran status on applications and resumes when applying for jobs. In 2010, a Veterans Administration survey found that 31 percent of female veterans did not think they were eligible for VA benefits because they did not serve in combat.
  3. Women veterans are no exception to the handicap faced by all veterans when they try to translate their military work experience and the skills gained to comparable work in the civilian job market.
  4. Many job fairs are conducted for veterans by companies who do not realize that some of the women who come in qualify as much as the men. Female veterans report feeling uncomfortable about coming forward and applying too.

Women veterans in search of employment may pay heed to the exhortation of First Lady Michelle Obama, for them not to be modest and to show off a little bit because they do stand apart from all other candidates. We have repeatedly said this before, but a last iteration cannot go amiss: veterans make exemplary employees, as they bring in great discipline, leadership skills, responsibility and responsiveness, and an outstanding work ethic. Employers, who do not employ women veterans, actually stand to lose out on having great employees.


The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.