Honoring women veterans who call Virginia home

Honoring women veterans who call Virginia home

RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- This week is Virginia Women Veterans Week, which honors the service of women in the military.

On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam participated in a special kickoff event marking the beginning of the week. The pinning ceremony honored all women veterans who were present with a special lapel pin.

This is the second year Virginia has devoted the third week of the month of March to recognize such women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces throughout history.

There will be an event in Charlottesville on Friday as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book, which will feature stories from two generations of women impacted by war, from the Vietnam War to today.

"Throughout the history of our Commonwealth and our country, during times of war and in peace, women have served bravely and selflessly, and I am proud to help recognize their profound contributions," said Northam. "Women veterans return to the civilian world as leaders in business, government, education, medicine and in their communities. As a fellow veteran, I have served alongside many courageous women, and as governor, I am focused on doing everything we can to support the increasing numbers of women veterans in Virginia."

According to a release, women are the fastest-growing segment of the veteran community.

By 2043, women are expected to make up 16.3 percent of all living veterans, compared to 9.4 percent of the total veteran population in the United States in 2015. In Virginia, there are currently about 104,000 female veterans, which means the Commonwealth has the highest percentage of women veterans of any state.

"Virginia is proud to be home to more than 100,000 women veterans," said Beverly VanTull, the manager of Virginia Women Veterans Program at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. "We are working harder than ever to reach out to women veterans. We want them to know about the programs they have earned with their service. One way we do this is by hosting a series of events, culminating in our annual Virginia Women Veterans Summit."

That summit brings nationally-recognized speakers to Hampton during a two-day conference on May 16 and 17 this year. There will be discussions on various issues that women veterans face.