Today we're featuring PBS "Maker" Anu Bhagwati, the Executive Director for the Service Women’s Action Network, an organization that supports, defends and empowers servicewomen and women veterans. Bhagwati was a former Captain and Company Commander in the Marine Corps, serving as a Marine officer from 1999-2004. She was the second woman to complete the Marine Corps Marial Arts Program instructor trainer school, earning a black belt in close combat techniques.
Joining the Marine Corps had been a dream of hers as a child, yet Bhagwati could not stomach the sexual harassment, misogyny, racism and homophobia present in the organization. A formal complaint she made against her second-in-command who was harassing female NCOs was disregarded, and Bhagwati realized she would only be able to remedy the abuses in the military from the outside. She was honorably discharged in 2004, and helped to launch the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) in 2007.