The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a sex-discrimination complaint on Wednesday against the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM). According to the complaint, which was filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, the ABCCM, which “is a cooperative ministry of churches in Asheville and Buncombe County, North Carolina that provides assistance and services to the homeless, veterans and families in poverty,” has been excluding female veterans from the job training services offered to men.
The ABCCM receives federal funding specifically for its “Veterans Employment & Training Services,” which self-purportedly provides “skills assessment, training, job placement and coaching for those seeking new career level jobs to break the bonds of homelessness and poverty.” But, Emily Bagby, one of the female Army veterans represented by the Law Center, alleges that ABCCM had gender-segregated training programs that offered women only poor quality services.
Apparently, women were only allowed to participate in job training courses intending to create the perfect housewife. A press release from the Law Center states that:
Bagby wasn’t allowed to take the courses that actually might help her find a job. She discovered, in fact, that the ministry didn’t allow female veterans to take the same classes offered to men, such as truck driving, culinary arts and training for “green” jobs. Instead, the women were offered training in such things as knitting, art therapy, yoga, meditation, how to de-clutter your room, self-esteem and Bible study.
The Law Center also noted that while “male veterans are provided 24 different job training programs at their Veterans Restoration Quarters, while female veterans are offered 16 different “personal skill-building” programs at the Steadfast House, the organization’s housing facility for women.”
According to the press release, female veterans are already four times more likely to become homeless than their male counterparts, a number that is undoubtedly caused at least in part by the terrible job training female veterans are apparently receiving.