The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) is kicking back off after taking a break to review advisory boards since 2021.
On March 22 five chairs were sworn in to serve on the committee. Additionally, earlier this week the Department of Defense released a list of 14 new members, that included female officers (retired) from different military branches.
The DACOWITS was formed as women began to integrate into the military in 1951. Since its inception, the committee has held quarterly meetings available to the public and has made recommendations on women’s issues to the military in their annual report.
Their most recent report from 2020 made a number of recommendations including utilizing best practices from the private sector to bolster retention and increasing both research and oversight on efforts to recruit female enlistees.
Additionally, the DACAWITS looked at the statistic that women in the services are 28% more likely to voluntarily separate from the military than their male counterparts, and that two of the biggest factors women consider when making that decision are family planning and dependent care. The committee then recommended developing methods of keeping dual-military married couples assigned to the same duty station.
In a progressive move, the committee also recommended making modifications to the female regulations “to include precautionary statements in the grooming standards and training regarding potential health issues associated with prolonged use of tightly gathered hairstyles, dyes, and chemical hair products.”
DACOWITS also recommended that branches of service allow their service members to take 21 days of “caregiver leave” that the Department of Defense authorized after the birth or adoption of a child. The Navy adopted this policy earlier this year, while the Air Force — as well as the Space Force, which falls under Air Force doctrine — to take 30 days of parental leave that does not count against the service members accrued leave time.
Civilians may make recommendations to be reviewed at the committee meeting at this address.