Female soldiers find a voice

Posted on 24. Nov, 2009 by in Arts and Culture, General, International, Rebecca Leung, Urban

Genevieve Chase,32, created the American Women Veterans (AWV) last year because she wanted to have a space for female veterans that would focus on women’s issues, and a group that would accommodate all generations, all eras, and all branches of service.

Never did she dream that a few months later she would be marching the New York City Veterans Day Parade with her own group. She called the organizers of the Veterans Day parade in October to ask whether AWV could walk the 2010 parade, but was convinced by the person on the other side of the line to walk this years parade, despite the limited time and lack of prior organization.

“I thought, ‘maybe I can pay people down the street to walk with me,’ ”said Chase, laughing.

When Chase first created her organization, her goal was to help veterans who were looking for camaraderie, or who were having trouble re-acclimating themselves to family and friends. But the AWV also strives to educate the general public, politicians and sometimes even their fellow servicemen as to the role and presence of women in the Army.

AWV is open to men and women, civilians and veterans alike. So far the group is mainly composed of dedicated female soldiers, but it is expanding every day. It now includes civilians like Kristin Simmler, who has many friends in active duty. It also includes men like Matt Collins, who as a commander had to deal with a lot of issues that AWV is fighting against including sexual harassment and discrimination.

The group was attracting attention from media sources as well as from fellow veterans at the Nov. 11 parade.

“You got women like Eve with large mouths, large hearts, and lots of drive, who will make sure that someone hears what they have to say,” said Captain Dena DeLucia. “And they listen.”

You can get a look at some of these women and hear first hand from Genevieve Chase right here:

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