The history of the military draft is a long one, dating all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia. For quite some time, men were seen as the only ones who could be drafted and serve in the military. However, in modern times, that is not the case. Women can join the military as well now, but recently another debate has resurfaced. A ruling made by federal Judge Gray H. Miller deemed excluding women from Selective Service Registration was unconstitutional. Some have said that giving women this opportunity, along with other excluded groups of people such as LGBTQ+ individuals, could affect the efficiency of how the military is run. This narrative is a problem, because it questions the capabilities and skills of minorities who wish to serve in the military. Should women actually be forced to join the draft?
Feminists have voiced their opinion on this issue. However, not all feminists are against the military. Representative Jackie Spier of the Armed Services Committee says, “If we want equality in this country, if we want women to be treated precisely like men are treated and that they should not be discriminated against, then we should support a universal conscription.” She is saying that this issue of whether or not women should be able to enlist and be drafted into the military is one based around gender. Not accepting women in this area is unjust and they should be able to enlist and be drafted like men.
According to the Washington Post, the Army engineered a nursing shortage crisis in World War II because they refused to allow male nurses to serve. This was not because of their skills and abilities, but because commanders in the Army thought the job was “feminine.” In my opinion, I think women should not be forced to join the military through a draft because a draft should not be in place to begin with. I think this should be the same with men as well. Gender has always been a contributing factor on who should and should not be forced to serve. I think this debate surrounding women being able to join the draft stems from the Army continually questioning the capabilities and worth of women in service. Society needs to fully recognize women or those who have been excluded from this narrative.
Men have been forced to register for the draft since 1940. However, when President Jimmy Carter restored the registration, he brought forth the idea of women being able to register for roles that were not in combat. People feared the act of women being forced to register, therefore his idea was brought to fruition. The Selective Service draft is ultimately a lottery that determines the order in which men would be drafted based upon their age, physical and mental abilities, educational background, work skills and more. Basically, the military chooses whoever is going to meet their standards to the best of their abilities. Some men feel forced to engage in combat because of the draft, which would be the same for women if they were in the same situation. For quite some time, the proposition of women being forced to join the draft has been up for debate, but if they were, would this change the dynamics of the military?
In my opinion, yes. Unfortunately, no matter how much society progresses with giving women more opportunities to excel, there are always going to be some positions of power, like the military, that will rub most people- especially men- the wrong way. Women bring a lot to the military itself. They bring new strengths including courage, ingenuity and strategic thinking. This shows that the needs of the military are not prioritized, and the idea of women being in the military has always been political. Instead of the needs of the military being met, women’s gender and femininity are prioritized, and this affects their acceptance in the military. Why? The thought of women being in the military was never an issue surrounding whether they were ready to serve or their usefulness, but rather, their femininity was. Due to the Selective Service still existing, women should have the opportunity to be drafted. Yet, I think the real question is whether the draft should still exist in the first place. In a statement made to Playboy by Lucy Steigerwald, she said that not allowing certain citizens to register for the draft was “unfair and unjust.” She also stated that, “the solution to the decrepit notion that the young of the country are communal property is not to remove the sexism, it is to remove the draft.” Personally, I do not think the draft should continue to exist, like Steigerwald. However, while still in place, women, as well as LGBTQ+ people, should be included in these positions as well.