NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Allison Jaslow did two tours in Iraq, rising all the way up to Army platoon leader. When she came home in 2008, she admits she felt invisible.
"I think at a baseline level a lot of people don't think of somebody who looks like me when they think of a veteran," Jaslow said. "Or definitely not somebody who was a combat veteran who was literally dodging bullets."
As executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jaslow's primary objective is providing support for all veterans. Particularly women vets, whom she said are greatly underserved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Healthcare is just one of the problems.
"We've recommended having what's called an ombudsman inside V.A. facilities to help the V.A. turn the corner," she said. "And have also asked for extra investment to make sure that women patients not only have the care that they need but that we have people who are trained for female patients, as well."
The U.S. Department of Defense estimates more than 200,000 women are currently active duty. Likely all veterans will tell you transitioning from active duty to civilian life can be hard. So much so that suicide rates remain high among veterans of both genders.
"Understanding beyond the superficial what the average veterans experience is, not just for any generation because, by the way when 20 veterans are taking their lives a day, it's not just the Iraq and Afghanistan vets," Jaslow said. "It applies to Vietnam vets, who have been struggling for decades with mental health injuries."
Jaslow and the IAVA are committed to ensuring that as more women continue to answer the call of duty that the proper support is there.
"Only 27 percent of our women members say that they believe the public respects their service. I think that's something that America needs to listen to and take note of," Jaslow said. "And until women feel as recognized as male veterans we should not be satisfied with the state of how we treat our women veterans in America."