By Contributing Editor Blair Drake
MOAA’s newest virtual chapter aims to address some of the challenges women servicemembers and military families face.
The Advocacy for Servicewomen and Military Families Virtual Chapter was approved by MOAA’s board of directors in January. It’s MOAA sixth virtual chapter, joining the ranks of the Uniformed Services Nurse Advocates Virtual Chapter, the Surviving Spouse Virtual Chapter, the Public Health Service Virtual Chapter, the Chaplains Virtual Chapter, and the Judge Advocate Virtual Chapter.
This virtual chapter will emphasize both advocacy for servicewomen and military family advocacy,” said Lt. Col. Marjorie Quant, USAF (Ret), chapter vice president. “These two focus areas stand on their own for needed advocacy, but they are related and often interconnect.”
She said the chapter’s first focus area is protecting the entitlements and interests of serving women — active duty, former, and retired — of all branches of the uniformed services.
The second area is promoting the interests of uniformed service families.
“The chapter plans on advocating for family solutions to build a more resilient force,” she said. “Family advocacy is an issue of great consequence to all members, women and men, single or with dependents, to all of our servicemembers.”
[RELATED: Learn More About MOAA Virtual Chapters]
The chapter formed with about 25 members from across the U.S., with goals to increase that number to several hundred.
Membership is open to active duty, retired, or formerly commissioned officers from all branches of service and their surviving spouses. Virtual chapter members must all be members of national MOAA.
“These issues are pertinent to all members of our services, so we are seeking an inclusive representation from across women and men for all statuses of service as well as spouse representation,” Quant said.
The chapter’s first initiatives will focus on expanding understanding of key issues that affect women servicemembers and military families, including health care challenges and access, family educational needs, and food insecurity.
“We look forward to expanding the discussion and hearing concerns from our chapter membership,” she said.
The chapter will also support national MOAA's Advocacy in Action efforts on Capitol Hill, which includes restoring Basic Allowance for Housing levels and reversing TRICARE pharmacy network reductions.
Those interested in joining the chapter can learn more through its website. The group plans to meeting virtually on a regular basis.
“The great advantage of a virtual chapter is that you can live anywhere and consistently lend your voice and enjoy camaraderie no matter where you PCS,” said Quant. “We look forward to building a virtual community and promoting awareness and advocacy on issues impacting servicewomen and military families.”
Blair Drake is a contributing editor for MOAA and lives in Souderton, Pa. She previously served on the editorial team of Military Officer magazine for nine years.