Understanding and honouring female veterans and veterans’ families
We ask a lot of our military personnel, but we also ask a lot of their families. Women who wear our nation’s uniform are also mothers, partners, sisters and daughters. Female veterans with families face their own set of unique challenges.
DVA is seeking to better understand the needs of female veterans and defence families to further improve the services and support provided to women and families affected by defence service. It is important to know what impact military service has on women and families and that they be represented by a united voice. The Female Veterans and Veterans’ Families Policy Forum gives female veterans and families a platform for generating ideas to solve issues facing their communities, co-designing DVA products and services, and building networks across represented cohorts.
On 11–12 September 2018 the Female Veterans and Veterans’ Families Policy Forum held its third meeting since its establishment in 2016. The 48 participants discussed issues including what is and is not working in the veteran community; women’s health; mental health; recognition and acknowledgment of families; and the importance of networks. They also provided input into DVA projects under development and information on topics of interest.
In December 2018, building on the success of the forum, the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester MP, announced the creation of a Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service.
The Council will be a formal mechanism through which women and families can provide policy advice directly to the Government. It will investigate matters of concern and develop cohesive solutions with Government for the benefit of all women and families affected by military service.
Gabby Costigan MBE, inaugural chair of the Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service, comes to the role with a wealth of experience as a former Colonel in the Australian Army where she led logistic operations for both the Australian and United States governments internationally. As CEO of British Aerospace (BAE Systems) since January 2018, Ms Costigan is responsible for one of the nation’s largest defence companies, which has supported the Australian Defence Force for more than 60 years.