The Big Debate: Should Women be Subject to the Draft?

The U.S. Department of Defense’s decision to let women serve in combat jobs has drawn attention to the selective service. This institution has, for many years, been forgotten because the U.S. hasn’t issued a military draft for so long. The 1973 military draft required that all men register within a period of 30 days once they’ve turned 18, with the selective service.

U.S leaders have repeatedly insisted that the nation won’t make use of the draft since the all-volunteer system is bearing fruits. However, increased rumblings in connection to women registry have been reported.


The Selective Service

This system maintains young Americans contact information that could be subjected to military conscription. The first U.S. conscription attempt occurred during the civil war in 1862. It proved to be unpopular in 1973 during the Vietnamese war.


Why Women Are Not Currently Required to Register

In 1981, the congress’ decision that attempted to excuse women from selective service registration was upheld by the Supreme Court. The court ruled that women wouldn’t be required during a draft since they were combat restricted.

The selective service website clearly shows that the law specifically refers to “males” when referring to the people to register and to be drafted. This therefore means that women are exempted from registration. The service goes a step further to state that the congress must first amend the law to allow women drafting into the military.


What the Military Says About Women Inclusion in the Draft

Military spokespersons say that it is important for the congress to consider reviewing its decision about women selective service registration since all combat positions have been made open to women. In February, Marine Corps Commanding Gen. Robert Neller voiced his opinion that women should be able to register and attain combat roles. However, the Marine Corps organization itself has some conflicting views.

Brooke Stedman, a member of a non-government organization known as “Women in International Security” said that she had positive feelings about the statement made by the Gen. She argued that, if the government wants to promote and uphold gender equality, it is important to allow women register with the selective service.

The selective service states that all male citizens in the U.S. with 18 years and above but not exceeding 26 years should register. Male citizens in the group and are immigrants must as well sign up. Those on visas however are exempted from registration.


Penalties for Failure to Register

Failure to register with the selective service could lead to serious repercussions. Most importantly, if someone is a man and has attained 18 years. One could lose their eligibility for government jobs, job training and student financial loan. For immigrant men, one could lose their U.S. citizenship eligibility.