Despite fallen barriers, some obstacles remain for female soldiers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a group of veterans who some say get overlooked, as the nation honors those who have served. But local female veterans say that's a shame, considering the contributions they've made in battle. The U.S. military has come a long way from when women were first allowed to serve in the military. This year, a ban was lifted that kept female soldiers from combat.

Yet some feel there's still quite a ways to go for women who are serving or who have served our country.

'We're definitely a minority,” staff sergeant Christa Parker said.

Staff sergeant Parker served two separate tours in Iraq. A single mother, and Air Force soldier, she's definitely noticed a disparity, when it comes to respect shown for her and other female veterans, versus their male counterparts. Serving as an air traffic controller alongside Iraqi soldiers could be "trying" as well.

“As a controller there were Iraqi pilots that wouldn't even acknowledge what I was telling them. They would literally let two planes crash because they just don't want to talk to a female,” Parker said.

Veterans advocacy groups say female veterans face unique challenges after deployment. Many are still the primary caregivers in their homes, which staff sergeant Parker says needs to be addressed a lot more.

“Some more things for our children while we are doing our part, when we're overseas," she said.

Female veterans also deal with sexual trauma at a higher rate than male soldiers. Now, one-in-every-10 homeless veterans under age 45, is a woman. But veteran’s advocacy groups say they're hopeful, that with awareness comes fairness for all who served.

"We're a small percentage but I think we speak volumes,” staff sergeant Parker said.

 

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