SERVICE WOMEN'S ACTION NETWORK FIGHTS FOR MILITARY WOMEN
By Buddy Blouin
Servicewomen continue to face unfortunate challenges from a number of angles, and the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) continues to take action for those who have served, are serving, and will serve in the future. From bringing causes to light to seeking justice for victims to providing support for legislative causes, SWAN continues to work towards equality on multiple fronts, including advocating for female Veterans through resources and assistance involving their MST disability rating.
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What Is Service Women’s Action Network?The Service Women’s Action Network is the voice of the more than 350,000 servicewomen and 2 million women Veterans that are a part of the United States military community. SWAN’s network is member-driven with the goal of helping servicewomen through support, connection to resources, and by advocating for various causes at both an individual and collective level. This 501(c)(3) organization continues to work for women and has already helped break the glass ceiling to open military jobs for women, sought justice against sex offenders within the military justice system, helped complete disability claims for those suffering from sexual trauma in the military, and provided access to reproductive healthcare services. At a time when more women than ever before are serving, SWAN’s influence and actions are a great benefit for women in service and female Veterans. The Service Women’s Action Network continues to trample barriers for women.
Suing the U.S. Department of DefenseThe Service Women’s Action Network, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Connecticut, sued the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and claimed the DoD violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This came after SWAN and others believed the DoD failed to release records showing various practices at its academies that promoted misogyny, limited participation for women, and allowed harassment to go unchecked. The Service Women's Action Network lawsuit is just one example as to how the organization is using its resources to advocate for women from a legal standpoint. Legislative efforts are also an ongoing part of SWAN’s overall mission. Many bills are being brought up by and monitored by SWAN. Here are some of the more notable examples of acts and topics advocated for by the group:
- Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)
- FY23 NDAA
- HR 1012
- I Am Vanessa Guillen Act
- Military Moms Matter Act
- Selective Service
- Supreme Court Case SWAN
- Toxic Exposures and Women Veterans
Service Women’s Action Network Provides Resources for MSTSWAN’s resource portal can provide those in need with invaluable resources on a number of topics, including education, homelessness, healthcare, equality, legal services, and more. But of particular focus are the resources available to victims of military sexual trauma and sexual assault. 25% of all female Veterans report experiencing MST. Among many other issues, obtaining the correct MST VA disability rating can often come with legal barriers, denying Veterans benefits they rightfully earned. Women's military personnel working towards MST VA disability can find important information, statistics, legal assistance, and many other types of support through SWAN. Thanks to groups such as the Service Women's Action Network, women can receive resources, justice, and change.
Suggested read:‘The Woman King’ Highlights Real-Life Strength of Women in the Military
Image: Staff Sgt. Tristan Truesdell 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
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