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In conversation with Andrea Goldstein

Issues facing women military veterans highlighted

Published on: 20 November 2019

An event to highlight the issues facing women military veterans will take place next week.

Military gender expert

Newcastle University is holding an ‘in conversation’ event with Andrea Goldstein, an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and senior policy adviser for the Women Veterans Task Force, part of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Ms. Goldstein focuses on gender as part of military strategy and operations and also serves as a military gender advisor in NATO. She joined the U.S. Navy in 2009 and while on active duty, was instrumental in developing best practices to integrate women into previously all-male teams.

During the event, which will take place on Wednesday 27 November, Ms. Goldstein will discuss the campaign set up earlier this year by the Women Veterans Task Force to raise awareness of sexual violence against women in the military.

Also taking part will be Paula Edwards, lead for the ‘Salute Her’ project at North East-based veterans’ charity Forward Assist.

Challenges facing women veterans

The event has been organised by Dr Katharine Wright, Lecturer in International Politics, Newcastle University. Earlier this year, a book published by Dr Wright and her co-authors highlighted 50 years of work by NATO to champion gender issues, the women who have been at the forefront of those efforts and the work that continues today – such as the work being led by Andrea Goldstein.

Dr Wright said: “There is something of an irony that women in the armed forces often become the most visible yet as veterans can become invisible, with their particular needs often overlooked. Andrea Goldstein draws on her professional and personal experiences and as her CV demonstrates is something of a tour de force! She is therefore well qualified to discuss the role of women veterans, the specific challenges they face and what can, and indeed is, being done to better support them.”

Earlier this year, Forward Assist published ‘No Man’s Land’ - a research report bringing to light for the first time the extent and impact of sexual discrimination and sexual violence against women in the British armed forces. The research showed that nearly three quarters (73%) of women veterans have witnessed or themselves experienced sexual discrimination while serving. The findings also highlighted a lack of gender–specific support on employment or mental health for female veterans, including those with children.

Paula Edwards, Salute Her Women Veterans Project lead, Forward Assist, said: “There’s an urgent need for greater support for women in the military, both while they are serving and when they move back into civilian life. As a female veteran herself, Andrea Goldstein is uniquely placed to talk about the issues that women face when they leave the military and how we all have a part to play in helping to address them.”

Exhibition of veterans' art

The event will be accompanied by a special exhibition called ‘Line of Sight: an exhibition of Veteran’s art work’, which will take place in the Hatton Gallery atrium, on Newcastle University’s campus. 

The exhibition emerged from a series of art sessions for veterans, organised by Forward Assist and Dr Michael Mulvihill, Newcastle University. Funded by the Big Lottery: Awards for All, the project took the military use of landscape drawing and painting techniques as its starting point and gave veterans an opportunity to use their own experiences of field artillery exercises to develop skills in landscape drawing.

From the Renaissance to the early 20th century, many artists have created work inspired by experiences of war and landscapes. The famous Impressionist painter, Renoir, for example, used easel painting as a way to gather intelligence on the battlefields of the French Prussian War.

Through the workshops and drawing sessions at locations such as Hadrian’s Wall and Blyth Battery, many of the veterans at Forward Assist have developed skills in landscape drawing and in the process have been able to improve their wellbeing and confidence.

Alongside these works, the exhibition will also showcase other art works made by veterans engaged in creative activities at Forward Assist, and which represent their individual experiences as they transition from military to civilian life.

The exhibition is the latest activity to involve Newcastle University’s Military, War and Security Research Group and demonstrates the group’s continued use of creative arts and practice to explore issues around the effects of civil and military interaction.

‘In conversation on women veterans with Andrea Goldstein’ will take place in Newcastle University’s Old Library Building room 2.29 on Wednesday 27 November, 3.00 - 4.30pm. Places are free but must be booked in advance. For tickets and more information, visit: 

‘Line of Sight: an exhibition of Veteran’s art work’ runs in the Hatton Gallery atrium, Newcastle University, Thursday 21November – Friday 29th November, entry is free.


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