Why did I start Women of the Military Podcast? Why women? Should I tell the stories of all service members, male and female? I want to share a little bit of the why behind the launch of this new adventure and how you can get involved. In 2017, I shared 31 Days of Deployment Stories. The thing that surprised me the most was how many women responded to my call for stories. I only received one response from a male. I’m not sure why this is how it turned out. But it led me to realize I was poised in the perfect place to share the stories of women. Stories women are willing and ready to share their story.
That is why I decided to start a podcast sharing the stories of women who have served or are currently serving in the military. I am excited to launch Women of the Military. A place to hear about the experiences of women who have served in the military. I have had the opportunity to meet women from all different branches, officers, and enlisted, those who served in Vietnam and those currently serving today. These stories will encourage and inspire you. Check out the podcast here.
But if you want to read a little more about my why you can keep reading or if you want to listen check out my first episode: Why Women of the Military.
What do people say when they find out you have deployed?
At the end of each interview for my 31-day deployment story series, I asked what people say when they find out you have deployed. Woman after woman answered that people don’t say anything because most people don’t know.
And even if people knew that they had served in the military or even had deployed. People often never asked them questions about their deployment experience. As a female veteran, I related to this. People would ask my husband about his military experience and not mine when they found out we both were in the military. People seem to assume they know what women do in the military. But women don’t sit behind a desk as secretaries. Many women are out on the front lines (before it was technically allowed) standing beside the men who signed up to fight.
I wanted people to have a chance to hear a little about our story and the different roles women have played in the military.
Personal experience of people asking my husband about his service, but not asking about mine.
One thing I have learned over the past few years is if something happens to me, I am not alone. If people are assuming my service’s story is not important and don’t ask questions when they are willing to ask questions to my husband. Then this is happening to other women.
Sometimes women find it easier not to share that they have been in the military because when they do. They either are ignored or devalued for their service. Or sometimes it feels easier not to share.
Women in the military stand out the most in service and are invisible when they leave the service.
When women serve in the military they stand out. Women are always outnumbered by men. Depending on where they work the ratio can be so high, they are the only female in a unit. And even if there are other females it is normally less than 10% are females.
Because of the fact that the service is a male-dominated career oftentimes support agencies are focused on men. And when women go to Veterans Affairs to get help it is often assumed, they are a spouse and not a service member. They also found getting help for issues women face can be a challenge.
When I was part of the military, I felt like I was accepted by my peers, but now that I have left the military behind, I feel like an outsider and that I continually have to prove myself. I no longer have my rank or medals to help prove what I have done in the military. There is a negative stereotype of women who serve in the military. If I can share our stories maybe I can help changes this.
Giving an opportunity for girls considering joining the military a way to hear the stories of women who have served.
One thing I wish I had been able to hear before I joined the military was the story from other women. We had officers come to visit our Reserve Officer Training Corp about once a semester. And often it was mainly males and it was always job focused. I didn’t realize the value I found in talking to women about what it was like to be in the service. I know that it was something I wanted to do. But it wasn’t a focus of their visit and there was little time to talk about more than jobs.
General public a way to learn about our experiences
When the law was changed that allowed women to serve on the front lines a person asked me if I would continue to serve. She assumed that now that I could serve on the front lines it would impact my life. I informed her that I already had a combat action medal and had served on the front lines in Afghanistan. The law changes allowed women to be part of units that were once only for males. It wouldn’t change the fact women would continue to serve on the front lines.
This is another stereotype I hope to dispel. The law wasn’t changed because they finally thought women should be on the front lines. It was because women had already proven their worth to be there and there wasn’t any reason to keep the law in place. And women have continued to serve despite the fact that we serve right alongside our male counterparts.
Do you want to be part of the Women of the Military Podcast? Sign up here.
Check out all the Episodes for Women of the Military Podcast here.