'Badass' women veterans: Getting less respect?
By JEANETTE STEELE | The San Diego Union-Tribune (Tribune News Service) | Published: March 31, 2017
A new public-service campaign is drawing attention to women veterans, one of the fastest-growing veterans groups, but one that feels undervalued.
That’s according to the national nonprofit Got Your 6, which is launching an advertising push called “She’s Badass.”
Temecula-area Marine Corps veteran Kirstie Ennis, who lost part of her leg in an Afghanistan helicopter crash, appears in the video.
“Their service is often overlooked when they leave the military,” said Iraq War veteran and Got Your 6 Director of Content Kate Hoit.
“We hope people will watch and share this video to help us defy stereotypes and put a face to a new generation of veterans.”
Ennis served with two Marine Corps Air Station Miramar helicopter squadrons in Afghanistan.
Enlisting at 17, she was a helicopter door-gunner and mechanic for six years. On June 23, 2012, during her last deployment to Afghanistan, her aircraft crashed during a supply mission.
Ennis lost her left leg from the knee down, among other significant injuries. She was medically retired from the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2014.
In the video, Ennis says, “I get all sorts of questions, (such as,) ‘I didn’t realize that women could even be doing the jobs that you were doing.’”
The population of women veterans is on the rise. It is projected to go from 8 percent of all veterans in 2013 to over 16 percent by 2043.
Meanwhile, while the overall population of vets will decrease during that period, from 22 million to less than 15 million people.
The Got Your 6 campaign debuts as the military — and the Marine Corps in particular — is staggering from a revelation that hundreds of nude photos of current and former servicewomen were shared illicitly on a Facebook group called Marines United.
The scandal has prompted critics to say that a culture of sexism is still rampant in the U.S. military, despite growing gender integration in the ranks and Pentagon-led anti-sexual harassment programs in recent years.
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