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Michigan National Guard spending $106 million to upgrade women’s facilities

Whitmer proclaims Saturday as Women Veterans Recognition Day in Michigan
Michigan National Guard members support the distribution of food for Michigan families in need...
Michigan National Guard members support the distribution of food for Michigan families in need during the state’s response to COVID-19 at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Flint, Mich., March 30, 2020.(source: (U.S. National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob Cessna/released)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 12:33 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan National Guard is planning to spend nearly $106 million to upgrade women’s facilities in 37 bases and armories, where inequities exist between men’s facilities.

The project includes nearly $51 million of state funding and nearly $55 million of federal money to modernize restrooms, showers and other facilities designated for women.

“Michigan women have put their lives on the line to serve our country for generations and it’s time they get the respect and recognition they earned,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “With this proposed investment, we are also demonstrating to our female service members that we are serious about ensuring equity within our state.”

Many of the 37 facilities receiving upgrades were constructed when few women served in the National Guard, so female facilities were designed smaller than male facilities. With over 1,500 women in the Michigan National Guard now, the female facilities are too small.

“It is a matter of fairness and equity that the state should embark on a mission to update these facilities to ensure parity with the facilities provided to male soldiers,” said Whitmer. “Women are a growing segment of the population stepping up to serve our state and nation and the facilities available to them should match this commitment.”

The nearly $106 million worth of upgrades are designed to make female facilities equal to male facilities while supporting construction jobs and local economies where Michigan National Guard buildings are located.

“Michigan’s armories and readiness centers must be modernized and improved in order to address inequities that exist in the facilities provided to our female soldiers,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “This investment would clearly demonstrate Michigan’s commitment to them.”

Whitmer announced the female facility upgrades along with a proclamation for June 12 as Women Veterans Recognition Day, honoring Michigan’s 44,700 women veterans and the brave women who served before them.

Women comprised only 7% of Michigan’s veteran population in 2015, but that figure is expected to more than double to 16% by 2045. Nationwide, 2 million female veterans comprise nearly 10% of the total veteran population.

In 2020, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency launched “She is a Veteran,” a three-year campaign to recognize women veterans for their service, share their unique stories and ultimately connect them to the benefits and services they earned.

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