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We Also Served: The Health and Well-being of Female Veterans in the UK

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posted on 2023-07-26, 16:59 authored by Lauren R. Godier-McBard, Nicola Gillin, Matt Fossey
Women have served within the Armed Forces for over 100 years. Their contribution has been extraordinary but the prevailing military culture, together with evolving terms and conditions of Service, have left their mark on the health and well-being of many. Whilst it is right, therefore, to recognise the progress that has been made, there is a pressing need to evidence the impact of past policies and actions. This timely report is the first major step in addressing this. Almost thirty organisations, drawn from across the military charity sector as well as from statutory bodies including NHS England and NHS Improvement and the MOD, have contributed to this report. It is the first research project to consider holistically the full range of female veteran issues, uniquely capturing the lived experiences of women who have served. Perhaps most importantly, it provides an essential start point for a comprehensive evidence base that will enable debate with a level of insight and clarity that has been missing before, and which will ensure statutory and Service Charity provision is targeted accurately to meet the needs of those women who are serving and veterans. The report is clear that for many that is not yet the case, both for those in Service and for those who have transitioned to civilian lives. It is a timely warning that there is still work to do both in improving in-Service conditions to allow our servicewomen to thrive and, once they leave, for us to tailor our veteran support services to meet their specific needs. This will include the requirement to support and improve the needs of serving women, whether as partners, mothers or in different family situations, and its impact on well-being, whilst at the same time enabling military careers. A prioritised action pl an has been produced in order to a chieve real impact and create long-lasting change. Top of the list is a review of the impact on health and well-being outcomes of Service culture an d sexual harassment, issues which have long been discussed but which continue to persist, with a number of the recommendations from the recent Wigston Report yet to be fully implemented. The report also identifies considerable gaps in our understanding of how in-Service experiences impact on health, wealth, and socio-economic outcomes, and explores what further action is required. Overall, this report is unique in its breadth and depth, in the academically robust processes undertaken and in its capture of the lived experiences of female veterans from across the services and the decades. It is not an easy read. It is, however, a necessary read. By compiling the evidence, the report gives voice to our former servicewomen and sets out an irrefutable case for further and necessary cultural and policy change to improve the long-term health and well-being of those women who have served and are serving.



Anglia Ruskin University

Place of publication

Chelmsford, UK

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  • Published version


  • eng

Report type

  • Project Report

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Legacy Faculty/School/Department

Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care/Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research

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