In 2020, 2 million women were veterans of the armed forces. Since they accounted for only 10 percent of the total veteran population, they tended to be understudied, if not ignored. The Department of Veterans Affairs predicts, however, that by 2040 women will make up more than 18% of the veteran population and will definitely garner more concern and attention.
When the draft ended in 1973, women represented just 2% of the enlisted forces and 8% of the officer corps. Today, those numbers are 16% and 18% respectively, a significant increase. Historically, the Air Force has had the highest percentage of enlisted and officer women, however, by 2016 the Navy had nearly caught up. In both services, approximately one-in-five enlisted members and officers are women. The military offers many opportunities for women such as good pay, excellent benefits and career advancement, but there are also significant challenges.