Everyday Heroes

I Am Not Invisible: Women Vets Get Recognition

Photo shoots around the country highlight women who served -- and their stories.


There are roughly two million women veterans in the U.S., or about ten percent of the veteran population and growing. But let's face it, a lot of people still think of the military world as a guy's realm. And a lot of female vets will tell you they don't get the recognition they deserve.

That's the impetus behind the "I Am Not Invisible" photography project . Originally developed by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, the campaign is travelling from state to state, taking pictures of women vets and sharing the photos and their stories on social media and in exhibits. Marine Tami McVay of Denver talked about what being recognized as a military woman meant to her:

"People made assumptions. I had to really stand my ground and command that respect." - Tami McVay, Marine Corporal (ret.)

"We want people to see what a woman veteran looks like," Gene Russell, the photographer for the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . "She looks like your mom, your sister, the woman down the street." Russell has done 30+photo shoots involving hundreds of women, including one shoot in Pittsburgh that will go on exhibit November 6 at the Sen. John Heinz History Center.

According to the Center for Women Veterans Facebook page (where you can see photos from the shoots) the campaign aims to increase awareness and open viewers' eyes to the contributions, needs, and experiences of women who have served in the military. Women vets have reacted with excitement to the idea.

The Center for Women Veterans just added the pictures from Pittsburgh to their Facebook page , along with photos taken recently in Niagara Falls and a shoot that included female vets of Native American descent.

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