Women have been serving the United States of America for more than a century as soldiers, nurses, diplomats and journalists. Women have often shared their male counterparts’ motivations, including ardent patriotism, when it comes to war. In fact, historians estimate as many as 750 women fought in the Civil War, though they took on male names and disguises to do so. Women’s desire to be treated the same, even if it cost them their lives in times of war, helped advance equality tremendously.
This Veterans Day, take some time to admire the courage of women who fight for our country, and thank them for their service.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 214,098
A century and a half after the Civil War, women can now openly serve in the United States military. And when given the right to do so, women have definitely stepped up to the task. Currently, there are 214,098 active-duty women serving in the U.S. military, and more than 1.8 million women veterans.
But many returning soldiers face PTSD, and women veterans are statistically more likely to become homeless than male veterans. So what can we do to help? Consider donating to organizations like Final Salute, which provides transitional housing, child care, transportation and more for homeless women veterans and their children.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Molly Mae Potter, Former First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, Ms. Veteran America
Today, we’re celebrating just one of the many women who have served our country, and she’s totally awesome! While enlisted as a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force, Molly Mae Potter was awarded the Company Grade Officer of the Year award for leading a unit of more than 1,000 officers, a remarkable achievement that caught the attention of the Special Operations unit. Before long, Molly Mae became the first woman selected by the Special Operations unit for a special mission in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Molly Mae was deeply affected by some of her experiences while on her travel missions. And when she returned to the States, she struggled to regain normalcy in her life and land a good job, enduring insomnia, anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. Later, she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, the result of a mortar round hitting her base in Southern Afghanistan.
But this resilient lady wasn’t going to let her post-war situation define her. Through dedicated treatment, therapy and the help of her therapy dog, Bella, Molly Mae slowly improved. And as her final Air Force mission, she worked with the Pentagon to make sure other active-duty military would be able to get a service dog to aid in suicide prevention and PTSD treatment.
And things began looking up on the job front when a recruiter from computer giant Dell offered Molly Mae a management position in engineering business operations, a job she says felt like fate, particularly given that Dell values veterans’ experience and is dedicated to hiring them.
These days, though retired from the military, Molly Mae tirelessly advocates for female veterans. The nonprofit Ms. Veteran America organization recently named Molly Mae its Ms. Veteran America 2016, a deserving accomplishment that she earned, in part, by raising many thousands of dollars to support women who serve. In fact, she raised enough funds to support a transitional facility for homeless female vets and their kids for four months. As the winner, Molly Mae receives a $15,000 award and, more importantly, takes on the role of spokeswoman for female veterans nationwide, and is dedicated to providing an additional 100 hours of community service during her reign.
We are humbled by Molly Mae’s service, and wish her the best as she takes on the responsibilities of Ms. Veteran America, ensuring female veterans are provided the best opportunities possible in this land that they served and we all love.
QUITE THE QUOTE
As President Barack Obama said upon the opening of U.S. military combat units to women:
“Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.