Women in the Military: US Senator Jeanne Shaheen and others


The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel held a hearing March 13th to investigate sexual assault in the military. This issue was among the many important topics that were discussed at a very special lunch on “Women in the Military”, hosted by The Common Good, dedicated to the advancement of our women who serve.

The special expert lunch panel included:


Jeanne Shaheen is the first woman in history to be elected a Governor and a United States Senator. She became the first woman elected Governor of New Hampshire, serving three terms from 1997-2003. In 2008 Shaheen became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from New Hampshire. She chairs the Committee on Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee on European Affairs, and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power. Shaheen is also a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Anu Bhagwati is SWAN’s first Executive Director. A former Captain and Company Commander, Anu served as a Marine officer from 1999-2004. Under Anu’s leadership, SWAN has spearheaded legislative reform and litigation to end military rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence, and to eliminate all barriers to equal opportunity for service women. Bhagwati has testified before Congress, advised the White House and the United Nations, and has spoken to countless audiences on challenges faced by military women, including the Combat Exclusion policy, Military Sexual Trauma, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and the VA health care and benefits system. A regular contributor to the media, Bhagwati has been featured on Piers Morgan Tonight, the CNN Situation Room, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, NPR, the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time and Newsweek.

Molly O’Toole previously worked as a reporter for Reuters in Washington, D.C. She has written for the Associated Press, The New York Times online, Newsweek, USA Today and The Nation, among others. She graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a B.A. in English and earned a dual M.A. in journalism and international relations at New York University.

Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton is a Board member of OutServe-SLDN, the national organization supporting LGBT members of the Armed Forces. A Florida native, Fulton graduated West Point in 1980, part of the first class to include women, and was commissioned in the Army. She served as a platoon leader, staff officer, and company commander in Germany, and was honorably discharged as a Captain.

In 2009, she co-founded Knights Out, an organization of LGBT West Point graduates and allies, and later helped Josh Seefried and Ty Walrod launch OutServe, the association of actively-serving LGBT military personnel. She served both organizations as Communications Director and later became Executive Director of Knights Out. A key player in the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Fulton was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Military Academy Board of Visitors in 2011 – the first openly gay member of the Board.

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