When President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act into law on June 12, 1948, women could finally serve as permanent, regular members of the four major branches of the American military. Up until 1948, women serving in the auxiliary branches performed duties in four categories: baking, clerical, driving, and medical. During WWII, the responsibilities of women were expanded, although they continued to serve as members of the auxiliary throughout the war. Despite lacking official military status or recognition prior to 1948, women have played key roles—some clandestinely—in every war beginning with the American Revolution.
Even with the enactment of the Integration Act, women fought to be recognized as veterans, to have their service acknowledged, and to have access to the benefits provided by the original GI Bill. Recognition for women veterans has grown as their roles and responsibilities in today’s military have expanded.
Beginning this year, California women veterans can proudly display their veteran status on the California “Honoring Veterans” license plate. The Woman Veteran decal is available to adorn this license plate, and can be purchased from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The decal application and design were submitted by the Foundation for Women Warriors, a Southern California-based non-profit that provides support for women veterans and their families. The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), Veterans Services Division, was responsible for reviewing and approving the decal design and application, which then went to the DMV for final approval and production.
“The Woman Veteran decal is a great example of how organizations can come together to create a veteran-focused decal for California license plates. The Veterans Services Division reviews all applications and designs for new decals,” said Keith Boylan, deputy secretary for Veterans Services Division.
Air Force veteran Jan Keys designed the decal and chaired the initiative.
“In less than 120 days, the Foundation formed their community for the initiative, collected, and submitted 50 applications to the DMV for processing,” said Keshia Javis-Jones, the organization’s director of Community Partnerships.
“The Woman Veteran decal can now take its rightful place on California’s Honoring Veterans license plate,” said Virginia Wimmer, CalVet deputy secretary for Women Veterans Affairs. “We appreciate the efforts of CalVet’s Veterans Services Division, the DMV and the Foundation for Women Warriors, who combined forces to make this available.”
With the 75th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act only a month away, it is the perfect time for women veterans to obtain the decal. California, in fact, is among the 18 states currently offering plates, decals, or tags honoring women veterans.
“The anniversary is a celebration of the fight for equal opportunity of women who have served their country, and the license plate decal is a celebration of a continued pursuit towards equal recognition of their service,” Javis-Jones said.
The DMV charges $50 for the original purchase of the specialty plate, “Honoring Veterans,” and $40 to renew annually. The decal is included in the original fee. Replacement decals are $10. All proceeds from the sale of this plate are used to expand veteran services statewide.
Information on how to obtain “Honoring Veterans” plates can be found by visiting the DMV Specialized License Plate webpage at bit.ly/3Lj15j2.
To view all available decals, visit CalVet’s Veterans Services License Plate Logos Page at bit.ly/3LCMC2Z. The Woman Veteran decal is listed as W40 Honoring Women Veterans.
California is home to nearly 163,000 women who served in our U.S. Armed Forces. They are veterans, family members, friends, business owners, professionals, community leaders, and advocates. Women have served in every major U.S. conflict and in peacetime since our Revolutionary War. For this they are owed a great debt of gratitude. For more information on Women Veterans, visit CalVet’s Women Veterans page at www.calvet.ca.gov/calvet-programs/women-veterans.
CalVet’s Veterans Services Division is responsible for educating and connecting veterans of all eras to their earned federal and state benefits and provides continued support and assistance as veterans’ needs change over time. For more information, visit CalVet’s Veterans Services page at www.calvet.ca.gov/calvet-programs/veteran-services.