The female experience in the military is one that’s not often explored or discussed on a regular basis. Many veterans have complex, meaningful and sometimes difficult experiences — but what does that look like from a woman’s perspective?
The Associated Students Veterans Outreach Center and the AS Women’s Center will host a screening of the documentary, “Lioness” at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, in the Viking Union 552.
The documentary tells the story of a group of female Iraq veterans, known as “the lionesses,” who were among the first group of female soldiers to be sent into combat.
Kimberly Absher, Women’s Center coordinator, said the documentary shows the special role a specific group of women plays inside and outside of war.
The veterans profiled in the 2008 movie, directed by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers, were deployed to Iraq as service personnel, fulfilling roles such as mechanics and engineers, but wound up being sent into direct ground combat.
Following the screening, the Women’s Center and VOC will facilitate a discussion on the issues and difficulties facing female veterans.
Western junior Janelle Marshall currently serves in the U.S. Air Force as an E-4 senior airman. She said the adversity she has faced as a woman in the military has been no different than the adversity she has faced in civilian life.
Marshall said she thought women are treated differently than men regardless of whether it happens in a military or civilian setting.
“It’s not a military thing,” she said. “It’s a society thing.”
Casi Meyers, a senior and a Navy E-5 aviation electronic technician, had a different experience. She said she occasionally dealt with difficult military supervisors.
“[Before going on my first deployment], my first supervisor told me I would come back [home] an alcoholic and pregnant,” she said.
Marshall said many jobs in the military are dominated by men, and there are not as many women. When she was overseas in the Arabian Peninsula, she said there were very few women compared to men.
Both male and female service members go through the same basic training, but living situations are separated by gender, Marshall said.
Marshall works in the Veterans Services Office in Old Main. The office is a resource for veterans who are using GI bill benefits. It is also a place for veterans to gather, get support and ask questions, she said.
She said she hopes that veterans will attend the event and that there will be many different perspectives to contribute to the discussion.