Brian Hughes, interim DIA CEO, said the organization has not seen a formal proposal.
When she left the military in 2005, Jodie M. Grenier went from being on a team of intelligence analysts reporting to then-Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis, with a top security clearance, to waiting tables.
“It was frustrating. I had a very purpose-driven job, and when I got out, I went to a community college and waited tables,” Grenier said.
Grenier participated in the transition classes offered by the military, but to her, they were ineffective and unhelpful. She searched for job portals and worked as a bartender to support her education. Not having children afforded her flexibility that other women veterans might not have, she said.
Grenier is not alone. More than 30,000 women leave the military every year. There are 2 million women veterans in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. By 2040, the VA expects women to make up 18 percent of the veteran population.
As more female troops transition from active duty to civilian life, they face unique challenges. Lack of a community of fellow female vets, lack of childcare assistance for single mothers and financial instability due to lack of financial literacy are all issues women veterans face, experts say. While some of these challenges affect all veterans, the issues are compounded for women because of cultural stereotypes and the gender pay gap.
“Civilians often fail to recognize women as veterans, leading to mistrust between women veterans and their counterparts,” said Grenier, CEO of Foundation for Women Warriors, an organization that assists women veterans and their children.