By Debbie Gregory.
The Ms. Veteran America competition highlights more than the strength, courage, and sacrifice of our nation’s military women, but also reminds us that these women also serve their families as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.
Women have been serving in the military as early as the Revolutionary War, and their roles have evolved from cooks and nurses to current combat roles. The woman named Ms. Veteran America is also a role model, teaching and empowering young women and girls to support, inspire and lift-up one another.
The role that female veterans play is often overshadowed, and the Ms. Veteran America competition is more of a movement than a pageant, working to change that narrative, while addressing the issue of homelessness among female veterans.
“I don’t think there are stereotypes as much as being afraid of what women can accomplish…we’ve had three 3-star generals, we’ve had women that have completed the Army ranger course so at this point I don’t know what a stereotype is,” said Jas Boothe, a U.S. Army Veteran and founder of the Ms. Veteran America competition.
Twenty-five finalists representing each service branch as well as National Guard and Reserve Units compete in evening gowns, talent, and a push-up competition.
“We definitely need to work on legislation and how we treat female service members, we need to take a look at their unique needs, we need to get the perspective of women,” said Lindsay Gutierrez, the current Ms. Veteran America.
To date, the competition has raised more than $330,000 dollars and provided more than 12,000 days of transitional housing for over 3,600 women veterans and their children.