On Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, Americans will stop to remember those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. In conjunction with the federal holiday, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has released her veterans plan. This plan includes numerous points that are geared toward women, culminating in an inclusive proposal that, thankfully, addresses specific issues that women veterans face.
In Clinton's plan, which is titled "Supporting Our Veterans, Troops, and Their Families," the presidential candidate calls protecting our veterans a "sacred responsibility." Therefore, she vows to do everything she can to support the needs of both former and current soldiers, because "issues affecting current service members and veterans are inseparable." Clinton also recognizes that our ability to support our service members and their families and to recruit new members is crucial for our national security.
As her resumé shows, Clinton might be the best candidate for veterans — particularly female veterans, who are "the fastest-growing population served by the VA" and a group that deserves its own specific plans for reintegration. Here are six incredible feminist points in Clinton's veterans proposal.
Expand Health Services That Really Cater To Women
Clinton promises to secure funding in order to expand health services for women beyond just "modifying facilities and increasing the number of OBGYNs employed by the VHA." She will expand staff training for female care, implement policies specific for women, and require the provision of reproductive services across the VHA.
Make Childcare A Priority
Clinton will also provide veterans access to quality childcare at VA facilities so that parents, especially single mothers, can prioritize their child's health as well as their own.
Recognize Military Sexual Trauma
Another point in her proposal deals with Military Sexual Trauma (MST), a type of sexual assault that mostly affects female service members (roughly one in four compared to one in 100 men). Clinton wants it recognized as a valid form of post-traumatic stress so that the women and men who have experienced it can be eligible for disability compensation and treatment.
Stringent Policies On Sexual Assault
Clinton will implement a zero-tolerance policy for military sexual assault and sexual harassment to not only help prevent them from happening, but also to protect women and men from retaliation if they come forward.
Opening All Military Positions To Women
As long as they meet the requisite standards, Clinton wants to see women fill every position in the military, whether it's piloting fighter jets, serving on submarines, or leading as an Army Ranger, because "merit and performance should determine who serves in the military’s combat specialties and units, not gender."
Allow Transgender Service Members To Serve Openly
Clinton supports the Department of Defense's new policy on transgender service members, which enables and encourages them to serve openly without issue. According to a statement from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, the DoD has learned that "the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job," and, again, not gender.