Student Veterans Organization hosting a get together celebrating Women’s Military History Week proclaimed by the Governor of California. (Ricky Gutierrez/The Collegian)

Military women honored during week-long celebration

Fresno State celebrated women who served the country for the first time this year, during the third week of Women’s History Month.

“It’s a very important week to recognize, because women in the military are such a small population that we need to bring our stories out,” said Tiffany Marsh, a deaf-education major at Fresno State who is serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared in early March, the third week of March to be Women’s Military History Week.

Brown acknowledged Deborah Sampson as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. She disguised herself as a man so she could serve in the Revolutionary War against Great Britain.

A dinner held Wednesday night celebrated female service members as female veterans gathered to share their experiences and personal stories.

“In the future, I hope that the celebration gets bigger, and, hopefully, we can celebrate here at Fresno State and invite other women in Fresno County as well not just Fresno State,” said Cindy Chavarria, a criminology major who serves in the Army National Guard.

Female service members seek recognition and hope to break down military gender stereotypes with this newly declared week of support for female troops.

“In the military culture, it’s so male-dominated, and even the business and you hear about the male stories all the time. It’s rare that [you] hear about the women’s military stories,” Marsh said.

According to the Cal Vet website, women make up 14 percent of the active duty U.S. Armed Forces and 18 percent of the Guard and Reserves. Women also make up 8 percent of the total U.S. veteran population and 10 percent of the veteran population in California.

“A lot of the combat duties are barely transitioning for some of the branches. There has been a lot of testing. Some females are going through school of infantry to train to become infantrymen, but they haven’t actually filled those positions yet,” said Jessica Montano, information systems major and Marine veteran.”

For more information visit, Veterans Services in the Joyal Administration Building on campus.