New Philly veterans center dedicated to women

The Philadelphia area has its first service center dedicated exclusively to female veterans of the U.S. military.

Women Veterans Center coordinator Aronda Smith said she wants to make sure women receive the same level of service offered to men.

“The miltary is really male dominated,” she said. “Some of the experiences, [women] may not want to talk about or share. Or they’ve been told or taught, depending on where they served or who they served with, that they’re less of a veteran. Or they don’t see themselves as a veteran.”

The center on North Fourth Street in Old City hosts workshops job searching, health and wellness and credit counseling, as well as offering help with parenting issues and military sexual abuse.

U.S. Air Force veteran Robin Wideman said she appreciates the chance to have the camaraderie of other women.

“Everywhere you go, you’re outnumbered by men, wherever you go. So it makes us feel better that we can just be around women,” Wideman said.

There are about 1.8 million women veterans of the U.S. military. The center expects to provide services to several hundred.

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