Chicagoland Women Veterans Employment Study

The number of women in the military and among veterans is growing dramatically. Similar to their male counterparts, female service members demonstrate extraordinary leadership, undergo comprehensive training, and attain job skills throughout their time of service. Current literature on women veterans typically focuses on their medical and mental health needs. More recently, however, the social and cultural needs of women veterans, such as the reintegration of women veterans into civilian culture, gender-specific family concerns, and post-separation support, have begun to receive greater attention.

To gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by female veterans, the Chicagoland Female Veteran project interviewed 38 female veterans living in Chicago and ran focus groups consisting of a combination of veterans, service-providers, and employers.

The goals of the study were to compare male and female veteran unemployment and underemployment, understand the dynamics of homelessness among unemployed female veterans, and explore effective service interventions for women veterans. The study design was unique because it incorporated the perspective of female and male veterans, community stakeholders providing services to veterans, and employers hiring veterans. The study capitalized on the lived experiences of veterans while at the same time highlighted the systemic issues that impact their transition to civilian life.


In order for women veterans to successfully find employment after their service other issues, such as housing, PTSD, and care for their dependent children. For detailed findings, download Chicagoland Female Veterans: A Qualitative Study of Attachment to the Labor Force.

The study was conducted from 2009-2012 and funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.