GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of female veterans gathered in Grand Rapids to share stories of their service and what they faced when they got out. 

A majority of the women say they faced a lot of challenges in the military, including overcoming hurdles and facing harassment. Once they left the service, they say they faced the same challenges.

While it’s hard for most veterans to find resources and spaces to connect, for women it’s even harder. The female veterans said they don’t identify as such because they aren’t recognized by the public.

“They came back and were just told that they weren’t veterans. That, oh yeah, you might have worked in the military, but you are not a veteran because you’re not a man, and you didn’t go to combat. And so over the years, the perception has changed, and women have been acknowledged a little bit more as veterans because of the work that our forebearers did,” Latoya Floyd, who served in the Marine Corps, said. “We’re women, but we’re the same as you. We can do the same things as you. And if we work together, we can do better. So the sooner you’re going to see that, the better it’s going to be.”

They say they don’t need to be recognized individually, but they want people to see as a whole that women also fought for our country.