Women Veterans Day, also referred to as Women Veterans Recognition Day and Women Veterans Appreciation Day, is the anniversary of the day the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act (pub.L. 80–625, 62 Stat. 356) was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 1948. Prior to then, only women nurses could serve in the regular and reserve forces during peacetime.

But why do we even need a Women Veterans Day?

Women have served in America’s wars and conflicts throughout America’s history and performed many jobs, playing vital roles in the Revolution, serving as soldiers, raising morale, and spying on the enemy. More than 400 women fought in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. During World War I, about 35,000 women officially served as nurses and support staff, such as the Hello Girls, formally known as the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit. In World War II, 140,000 women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) performing critical jobs, such as military intelligence, cryptography and parachute rigging. In August 1943, the WAFS and WFTD merged into a single unit for all women pilots and formed the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), who flew more than 60,000 miles in two years. During this time, the 6888th Battalion was formed as the first and only all Black Female Women Army Corps (WAC) unit to be deployed overseas during WWII. Their nickname was “Six-Triple Eight” and their motto was “No Mail, Low Morale.”

Today there are still many women Veteran history lessons to be taught. The first Women Veterans Day was celebrated on June 12, 2018, and is currently a state-recognized commemoration in California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

There are currently almost two-million women Veterans in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Territories/Foreign, according to VA. We’re working hard to ensure that women Veterans are treated with the respect and dignity they have earned and deserve. To help achieve that goal, VA Secretary Dennis McDonough has made it clear since assuming his new role that all VA staff, patients, families, caregivers, survivors, visitors and advocates must feel safe in a workplace free of harassment and discrimination.

The Center for Women Veterans was established by Congress in November 1994 by Public Law (P.L.) 103-446 to monitor and coordinate VA’s administration of health care, benefits and services, and programs for women Veterans. CWV serves as an advocate for a cultural transformation (both within VA and in the general public) in recognizing the service and contributions of women Veterans and women in the military, and to raise awareness of the responsibility to treat women Veterans with dignity and respect. The Center is promoting cultural transformation to #BringWomenVeteransHome2VA with initiatives such as: I AM NOT INVISIBLE (IANI), 2021 Women Veteran Trailblazers, naming of VA Spaces after women Veterans, and partnerships with many internal and external partners.

Women Veterans Day is not a separate day for women Veterans, it is a tribute to a groundbreaking day when women were acknowledged as essential to the war efforts and could serve in the regular armed forces.


Missina Schallus is a Navy Veteran and the communications manager for VA’s Center for Women Veterans.

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13 Comments

  1. Juana June 19, 2021 at 2:29 am

    wow, this is nice. Finally the girl child is gaining her ground. We appreciate all the Veteran ladies.

  2. Pamala Swinnea June 16, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    I exited active duty in 1993, just before the efforts began to improve healthcare for women in the VA. I have watched standards of care improve as we recruited doctors familiar with female anatomy and our unique concerns…seperate from men’s health issues.

    To this day, addressing the negative impacts of sexual harassment and rape eludes both the military and the VA. PTSD for women does NOT manifest the same as PTSD for males/combat related trauma. PTSD trauma factors should dictate the environment of treatment. It is absolutely unacceptable to require female victims of sexual trauma issues to receive group counseling for PTSD with men. Sorry, but my experiences never had anything to do with combat, except for the heavy duty boxing matches with the ex-husband. Women and men are not interchangeable in terms of health, physical differences, or life experiences. We need more female providers in the VA trained for working with women, who experienced these issues and cannot engage in treatment in a male centered environment.

  3. Missina Schallus June 16, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Brenda, Women Veterans Day is about all Women who served. There are many organizations, including the Center for Women Veterans who recognize Women Veterans in Annual Campaigns. You can see some of ours at http://www.va.gov/womenvet. We often post ours and many other organizations campaigns on our Facebook and Twitter @VAWomenVets. For more information you can email us at 00w@VA.Gov. Thank you for your comment. R/Missina

  4. Missina Schallus June 16, 2021 at 8:08 am

    Sister Veteran, thank you so much for your kind words and thank you for your Service! You are most welcome, getting the word out and the history is key. I appreciate your comments and time. R/Missina

  5. Constance Harrison June 14, 2021 at 5:49 am

    I am an 87 year old Army veteran now in homecare through Mather VA hospital . It is just outside of Sacramento. CA.
    I entered the army after my college graduation in 1955. I was accepted as a 2nd Lt. into the Army’s Dietetic training course as one of
    20 [all women] having studied the subject in college and worked as a dietitian in a public
    hospital during college.
    I took basic training at Fort Sam and then studied at Brooke Army Hospital at Fort Sam.
    I began to feel ill not very long after my studies began. (I Did not know until recent years that a heart problem was noted during my basic training physical). By March 1956 I became worse and then I had to accept a medical discharge on May 1s, 1956. I was suffering from Mitral Valve Prolapse! ( my military records were apparently among those destroyed in the 1973 fire just before my first VA hospital entry in 1973. I was a high school teacher in California at the time.
    I suffered a number of heart attacks and several strokes over the years! I was treated at VA hospitals in Fresno CA.,
    Fort Myley VA in San Francisco, CA , Palo Alto VA in CA. and now in the Mather VA. as well as in a Public hospital in Macon ,GA where I was an elementary teacher.
    I was the National Chaplain for Women Veterans for 2 years in 1999 and 2000. I also was asked to serve as a participant in a National Seminar of Women Veterans affairs in Washington, DC in 2000.
    I am also a life member of the DAV.

    • Missina Schallus June 16, 2021 at 8:05 am

      Sister Veteran, thank you for your Service! You have quite a story and I applaud you for sharing it. I am happy to hear you are getting the care you need and deserve. Respectfully, Missina Schallus

    • Lisa Campbell June 16, 2021 at 10:44 pm

      Constance Harrison. I read your military and your health experiences. You graduated college in 1955, my birth year. You entered the military as a 2nd It. You were already able and willing to lead the way for future females. I wanted to thank you for your services, in and out of the military. Because of you and other women like you way back then, I was able to join the USAF in 1973. Thank you again and I appreciated and enjoyed your bio. God Bless.

  6. Lynn deBeauclair June 12, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    Hi Missina,
    Thank you for this wonderful blog posting. I had no idea there was a Women Veterans Day. You wrote a respectful and informative article. I’m sure women in 1948 never dreamed that decades later they would “legitimately” be in combat or even make General or Admiral rank.
    I served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from February 1975 until February 1979. I was a Weapons Control Systems Mechanic on the F-4E Phantom fighter/bomber. At that time, they were just starting to use women in aircraft maintenance roles. Women were first admitted to the service academies in 1976. A great milestone.
    I am a proud member of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and am aware of many women who “Gave the last full measure of devotion” then and ever after. Thank you.

  7. Dorothy Martin June 12, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    As a United States Marine Corps veteran and a United States Army retiree, I couldn’t be happier to know we have a day to call our own. It’s long overdue and about time!

    • Missina Schallus June 16, 2021 at 8:09 am

      Sister Veteran, thank you for your Service! R/Missina

  8. Patricia Mary Borromeo June 12, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Rarely do individuals acknowledge women even today as Veterans

  9. Brenda Buisch June 12, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Can you please instruct me on hiw to nominate someone for Woman Veteran of the Day? I have a outstanding nominee who should be considered and posted, even if she hates any type of recognition and shout outs, I think she deserves a huge nod of honor.

    • Pamala Swinnea June 16, 2021 at 8:31 pm

      Yes—I routinely get met with astonished looks and stuttering by most people. I asked for my veteran’s discount at Lowe’s last week. The young cashier was SHOCKED and a bit embarrassed when I produced my license after she thanked my husband for “his service “. She had not even considered the possibility that I was a veteran, much less having served in a war…the Gulf War. So much for our young “woke” feminists.

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