RICHMOND,VA (STL.News) Governor Ralph Northam today celebrated the start of Virginia Women Veterans Week with a proclamation and video message honoring the service and sacrifice of women veterans across the Commonwealth. Taking place from March 14–20, 2021, this is the fourth consecutive year that Virginia is devoting the third full week in March to recognizing all of the women who have served in the United States armed forces.
Governor Northam initiated Virginia Women Veterans Week when he took office in 2018, coinciding with Women’s History Month, an annual celebration of the vital role of women throughout history and in contemporary society. With over 108,000 women veterans who call the Commonwealth home, Virginia has the highest percentage of women veterans per population of any state in the nation. Women veterans are the fastest-growing segment of Virginia’s total veteran population.
“I personally served on active duty with many women service members who consistently demonstrated tremendous skill, leadership, and unquestioned commitment,” said Governor Northam. “Our Administration will continue working to connect women veterans with the support and resources they need to return to the civilian world as leaders in business, government, education, medicine, and beyond. As a fellow veteran, I remain focused on ensuring women veterans across the Commonwealth are equally valued and served.”
Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips and retired U.S. Navy Captain Kathleen T. Jabs, who currently serve in the Northam Administration, authored an op-ed for Virginia Women Veterans Week in The Virginian-Pilot titled, “Women veterans ‘lead the way’ in Virginia.” Rear Admiral Phillips served 31 years on active duty as a surface warfare officer and is now Special Assistant to Governor Northam for Coastal Adaptation and Protection and Captain Jabs served 27 years of active and reserve duty as a public affairs officer and is now Deputy Secretary for Veterans and Defense Affairs.
“Women veterans, who make up 10 percent of veterans and less than two percent of women nationwide, have traditionally been underrepresented in research and service,” said Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins. “Women have proudly served our nation from its very beginnings and we are working every day in Virginia to bridge that gap.”
In 2018, Virginia is one of the first states to establish a dedicated program for women veterans, which includes an annual Virginia Women Veterans Summit. This year’s event will take place virtually from June 23–24, 2021.
“As a proud woman veteran, I am honored to call Virginia my home,” said Annie Walker, Deputy Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. “Virginia truly leads the way in acknowledging and working to address the unique issues that women veterans face as they transition from active duty to civilian life. While there is much to be done, recognizing the contributions of our women veterans is a great way to build awareness of and improve the lives of these deserving women.”