Starting in 1940, all men that were citizens of the United States between the ages of eighteen and sixty-four have been required to register for the military draft under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. The draft has been used as a backup system for the United States military until 1973, when the Vietnam War ended. With the Vietnam War and the use of the draft, many people started to question the effectiveness of the Selective Service System. However, despite this, all men have been required to sign up because of a “just-in-case” factor.
Now, while the men are needed to register for a possible death, women are not included at all in this. The Selective Service, although being used as a backup for the United States military, should be reinstated to include women for at least seven reasons. Of which include the aspects and concerns of ability, tradition, and safety. When debating whether women should be included in the draft, an argument which is often most prominent and most frequently recurring is the fact on whether or not women can “handle” what men are expected to in the military.
Not only that, but United States Marine Corps Captain Katie Petronio argues that while ability is not much of an issue, as women have already proved they are “capable of conducting combat operations,” it is more of an issue of longevity. “Can women endure the physical and physiological rigors of sustained combat operations, and are [women] willing to accept the attrition and medical issues that go along with integration? ” (Sisters in Arms). And yes, longevity is a valid worry. However, since 2015 when the ban on women in combat was lifted, women have time and time again proved themselves in ombat. Dating back to before the thirteenth century women have taken major roles in battles. Joan of Arc began life as a peasant, yet she believed that God had chosen her to lead France in their war against England. With no military training, Joan of Arc, lead a French militia into battle and won. Since then, women have proved that they belong alongside men, fighting for their country.
“Whether or not the gender standards are normed to conform to less physically strong women or neutrally aligned across the genders… he very small percentage of women who volunteer for combat assignments perform equally as well as do men” (Wooten). Setting aside ability, those opposed to women in the draft also argue that to include women in the draft would cost simply too much money. They need to be trained, uniforms need to be made. Simply put “according to groups that are against military draft, the cost of having to train a large number of people, especially if the country is not in imminent threat” is too great to afford including women in the draft (“List of 12 Key Pros and cons of Military Draft. “).
On the other hand, Bill Ayers, a man who was arrested in 1965 at the Selective Service office, is for the draft because he says that having an all-volunteer military has created a poor man’s army, because enlistment is attractive to individuals who have no other options because they are poor or uneducated” or without opportunity (“The Military Draft During the Vietnam War. “). Now, while the use of “poor” in this context relates to those who are participating in the volunteer military are often less fortunate than those who do not choose to enlist, often these men and women are enlisting because they have no other choice.
During the Vietnam War, 50% of those in a single platoon, were without even a high school education(put citation in from http://www. westga. edu/~bquest/2016/draft2016. pdf). Economically, the government would use more expenses trying to convince people to join the military than to train those enlisting. This is because by both advertising or offering free tuition, and sign-up bonuses etc. , and training more money will be spent.
If the need of these were to be taken away, as it would with the draft, the government would save more money because they need to do less. Another argument against integrating women into the draft is that the it is a matter of tradition. Arguments such as, “well it has always been done that way,” and “women do not belong in such jobs” are often used by men and sometimes even women who oppose including women in the draft or even in combat positions at all. Often it is said that, “today’s U. S. ilitary is outstanding, and one should be careful to fix things that aren’t broken,” however while today’s United States military is one of the best in the world, it was not always (O’Hanlon). Tradition is made by trying something new that was found to be efficient. Today, traditional men’s jobs include those that require strength, such as stonemasons and brickmasons. In those occupation, . 1% are women. However, when women decide that they want to become a stonemason or in this case join the military, they have proven to perform just as well as men (Wooten).
Over the years, “many previously masculine professions have been successfully opened to women”and vice versa destroying the tradition of certain professions being reserved for men, and certain ones being reserved for women (Sisters in Arms). Arizona State Senator John McCain states that essentially “every single leader in this country, both men and women, members of the military leadership, believe that it’s fair since we opened up all aspects of the military to women that they would also be registering for Selective Services. Therefore, because women and men are becoming more equal in the specific jobs and in the military, thus abolishing the tradition of certain professions for certain genders, the Selective Service should be extended to women. Turning the argument to an international standpoint, in 2013, only a small portion of the world’s militaries allowed women to be in the military period, with even less allowing women to take part in combat roles.
Russia, South America, Central America, as well as large portions of Asia and Africa did not allow women in ajor military positions such as fighter pilots or artillery officers (Fisher) at that point and time. Despite the vast majority of countries not including women in major part of their militaries, the United States turned to countries with fully integrated militaries such as Norway, Israel, and Canada when determining whether or not to abolish the ban on women in combat. Both Norway and Israel have compulsory military service and in Norway, women are, like men, required to sign up. The United States looked to these countries while debating the issue of women in combat roles.
So, it only makes sense that if two of the three countries that the United States looked to included an integrated draft, America would as well. Another one of the arguments against the draft is that it is “too dangerous for women. ” Senator Ted Cruz says that “The idea that we should forcibly conscript young girls in combat to [his] mind makes little sense at all, I could not in good conscience vote to draft our daughters into the military, sending them off to war and forcing them into combat” (Steinhauer).
On the other hand, Senator Lindsey Graham believes that a nation should not “want to take half your population off the sidelines in case of a national emergency,” no matter how dangerous (Bendery). Men are so worried about the wellbeing of women and that they were safe and left unexposed from the evil of the world that they do not care what the women think of this. Men are so busy protecting women that they do not care about their own safety, nor do they care what about what women want.
In some cases what women want is to be on the front lines, protecting and standing up for their nation and what it stands for. In 2010 50. 8% of American demographic was female, and 9. 7% of american population are within the ages 18-24, which is the draft age range. As mentioned earlier, women have time and time again proven themselves in battle, so as Senator Graham said,would taking a large part of possible, competent, women out of the possibility of battle be worth it?
When arguing for the draft, those in support will often use the fact that not including women in the draft is an example of gender inequality. In 2016 a bill was passed that would require women to register for the draft. However that bill did not pass final legislation and while “Lawmakers who had been pushing for months to include women in the draft acknowledged it would have little practice impact, it was important to do anyway, to reflect the growing consensus that women are as capable of serving and leading in the military as men.
While the conservative side of congress won and the bill failed, steps are being made towards further equalizing the genders in the military, the separation of genders in relation to the Selective Service System is both irrational and unfair to the those who believe that the separation is unjust. Finally, by including women in the draft, more and better opportunities could arise for them. As drafted soldiers, both men and women are taught skills and given training in areas such as “engineering and the like since they will be assigned to different departments and given duties from cooking to driving.
After they are done serving the military, they can use these newly learned skills and expertise when they go back to the real world and seek employment” (List of 12 Key Pros and Cons of Military Draft). Now the counterargument to this is that by implementing the draft and including women in it, their chances at a future could be taken away by being placed on the front line of battle. However, just by including women in the draft, the possibilities of a better future for both those drafted and their families are increased. These people could apply for better jobs using the new skills they have developed.
In conclusion, while the Selective Service System is currently a “backup” system for the current all volunteer military in the United States, reinstating it to involve women would not only create a better, stronger military, with more versatile members of different abilities, but it would also improve the future of those drafted, be a step towards furthering the equality of the genders, create a more economically strong country, and demolish the longheld tradition of the military and specific jobs being for men only. Therefore, integrating women into the draft would improve the United States military as a whole.