Trustees of Boston University
Women Veterans Network (WoVeN)
Service Area: National
Goal: Increase social support and improve wellbeing for 320 women veterans, and increase WoVeN’s capacity to meet the needs of women veterans
Over the past 40 years, the number of women serving in the military has grown rapidly, with women now representing over 17 percent of the active-duty force and 21 percent of the National Guard and Reserves in 2021. While many of the women who return from military service have grown personally and professionally over the course of their service, many also come back to face significant difficulties in readjusting to civilian life. Even as the share of women serving in the military has grown, many female veterans report experiences such as being mistaken for caregivers, being one of few women at veteran events, and drifting away from their veteran identities altogether, all of which can contribute to feelings of isolation for those unable to find other women with shared experiences. The Women Veterans Network (WoVeN) is a peer support network designed to target the unique needs of female veterans, offering an evidence-based, 8-session, structured program led by vetted and trained peer leaders. Since 2017, nearly 2,000 women have participated in WoVeN groups in person and online. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) investment will support ongoing WoVeN peer groups across the country, national peer leader trainings, and qualitative research to identify potential obstacles preventing veterans from participating in WoVeN groups. Overall, this investment will increase social support and improve wellbeing for 320 women veterans, and increase WoVeN’s capacity to meet the needs of women veterans.