CHICAGO, Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Female military service members and veterans face varied challenges when they return from active duty, like their male counterparts, but especially when it comes to issues of unemployment, homelessness and sexual traumas. As the Pentagon announced yesterday its decision to formally open up combat positions to women, representatives from Dixon Center and it's partner Easter Seals commend the policy move and express urgency about the unique needs women veterans face upon returning home from military service.
"For our nation, formally recognizing the fact women have been and are serving valiantly in combat roles for the past 11 years is appropriate," says Kimberly Mitchell, Deputy Director, Dixon Center. "I do look forward to the bold policy steps that will be taken recognizing the unique needs of all our service members regarding post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, military sexual trauma and the military's proactive steps which previously have been reactive."
Women are far more likely than men to have experienced a military sexual trauma. Women also make up the fastest growing population of homeless individuals today – and they're not alone; increasingly they bring their children with them.Mitchell's 17 years of service in the U.S. Navy included a commission as a Surface Warfare Officer, service aboard several surface Navy combat warships, and multiple shore tours in Washington, D.C. This evening, Mitchell will be participating in a panel discussion, "Change and Challenges – Women in Today's Military," at the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago, offering her insight and perspective. "As a Navy veteran, I know women have been serving side by side their male counterparts for years. This is a watershed moment for our country and recognizes all of our service members' capabilities, valor and achievements," adds Mitchell. "Opening combat roles to females should not be lauded as a bold step but rather a normal progression towards equality. The military's mix of gender, races, creed, lifestyles, and backgrounds makes it a bellwether of society. This decision should not be used as an opportunity for demagoguery, but rather a chance to acknowledge our military's ability to fight and win our nations' wars."