Skip to main content

KPBS Radio is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in temporary signal outages.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Tokyo Olympics

Meeting The Needs Of Women Warriors

The Foundation For Women Warriors was founded in 1920 and continues to serve ...

Above: The Foundation For Women Warriors was founded in 1920 and continues to serve women veterans and their children in Southern California.

The transition from military to civilian life can be one of many challenges. The Foundation for Women Warriors is an organization that helps meet the unique needs of thousands of female veterans. This year, the foundation is celebrating 100 years of service to women. On March 20, the 17th anniversary of the Iraq war, KPBS Anchor Maya Trabulsi talked with the foundation’s CEO, Jodie Grenier.

Reported by Maya Trabulsi

Q: March 20, I'm sure you remember this date, the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It's a really important time to talk about the experiences, individual experiences of our troops, you being one of them serving in the Marine Corps for five years. You were only 19 years old. Tell us about what that experience was for you as a woman in the military.

A: I was an intelligence analyst. My job was to collect information on where enemy threats were and brief unit commanders. At 19, 20 years old that was quite a significant job that I had. I was one of maybe 3 women on a team of over 300 Marines. So, I think my experience as a woman at that time, you know, reflecting back on, I can see some differences, but at the time I was a Marine and had a job to do.

Q: And then after five years of serving in the Marine Corps, you left. What was it like in terms of feeling supported as now a veteran, as a woman veteran?

A: So, I left the Marine Corps in 2005 after I did two deployments and I found myself back home in Connecticut. And at that time, there weren't the resources that we now have today for our veterans. And so I kind of just had to navigate the transition on my own. I was met initially by a lot of bias and a little bit of misogyny around me being a woman and had served, having curly hair, being petite. These are things that society wasn't quite ready to associate with a stereotypical veteran. And then, of course, me finding other women that have the same experiences as I did. I served with so few women in the military. I think at the time it was 5%. Now it's 9%. I didn't fall into a sisterhood.

Q: And is that the sisterhood that you feel that you wanted to create for female veterans?

A: Absolutely. And today, my role as CEO at Foundation for Women Warriors, we really focus on providing a cohesive support network for women veterans. A lot of that was born out of my own personal experience of not having that.

Q: What do you want people to know about the needs of women?

A: Women veterans are the fastest-growing segment of veterans, but they're also the fastest-growing segment of homeless veterans. You have women that are mothers. They're afraid to report themselves as being homeless because they're afraid to have their children removed from them. So, a lot of what our organization does is interjects, or meets these women’s other critical area of need, and provides either housing stipends, childcare, to keep them in work or in school, and then also workshops to enhance their employability.

Q: Without the Foundation For Women Warriors would these women still be forgotten and underserved?

A: We are the only organization in the country providing child care assistance. I think there's other organizations, but they don't solely focus on women's experience. And putting women in the same room as other women who have similar experiences.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Maya Trabulsi

Maya Trabulsi
KPBS Evening Edition Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm the news anchor for Evening Edition, which airs live at 5 p.m. on weekdays. I also produce stories about our community, from stories that are obscure in nature to breaking news.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.