Women in the U.S. Military
Women have served in the United States military throughout its history. As of July 2018, women comprise more than 16 percent of active-duty service members and fill 10 percent of all positions among deployed forces in recent conflicts.[ Reference 1 ], [ Reference 2 ]. In addition, more than 150,000 women serve in the National Guard and reserves.[ Reference 3 ]
Female service members play an increasingly broad and pivotal role in U.S. military operations. Their military experiences and responses to those experiences may be distinct from those of their male counterparts, and may influence their mental health status and needs. Likewise, female veterans are among the fastest-growing population of new VA service users. [ Reference 4 ], An Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch study of active-duty service members found that incident rates of mental health diagnoses were higher among females than males. Further, adjustment and personality disorders were more than twice as common, and anxiety and depressive disorders were 1.4 to 1.9 times as common in women compared to men.[ Reference 5 ], DoD is committed to exploring and addressing the unique mental health needs of women in the military through ongoing research, policy examination, and working groups.