Is Military Draft for Women the Next Change to Come?

This Just In 33

soldierIt wasn't as a woman that I reacted to the news that women can now serve in front-line combat jobs. It was as the mother of a daughter. Because I could sense what was coming next: a debate over whether or not American women will have to register for the draft.

As it stands, we do not. The announcement last week from Pentagon chief Leon Panetta, lifting the restrictions on women in the military, does not change the methods followed by the Selective Service. But that hasn't stopped people from calling for the change.

After all, if the draft can call our sons to arms, why not our daughters? If one sexist wall has been broken down, why not the next?

Valid questions, both of them. The value one mother puts on the life of her child cannot outweigh the value of another. Human life equals human life. Which is why my questions are different.

More from The Stir: Ban on Women in Combat Ends But We Should Leave Front-Line Fighting to Men

If not my daughter, why your sons? Why should we talk of expanding the draft instead of abandoning it entirely?

A few days ago we were talking about allowing women who want to serve more abilities to do so. Suddenly we're talking about finding a way to force them to serve. But why? Why, in 2013, in the United States of America, would we want to force anyone to serve?

Aren't we, after all, a nation that prides itself on freedom?

I ask these questions not just as the mother of a daughter but as the daughter and granddaughter both of men who served in our United States Navy during wartime. My father was not drafted during Vietnam. Instead, he signed up.

Uncle Sam did not need the draft to call him to serve. He did not need the draft to draw a number of my cousins who are currently serving. He did need the draft to bring the estimated 1.8 million female veterans of the American military or the estimated 214,098 American women currently serving in our armed forces.

In fact, it should be noted that women haven't demanded they be drafted in order to serve our country on the front lines. The fight has been much more direct. Women asked, asked, and asked some more, to be allowed to serve on the front lines in combat.

If there's any better sign of the irrelevance of the draft, I can't think of one. Here you have a sector of the population that could avoid completely even the faintest risk of being put in harm's way, and they've actively lobbied to be there. Pride in America, pride in serving in our military is alive and well and does not need to be forced upon our citizenry.

For some, military service is, quite simply, a calling. And for them, this mother, this granddaughter, this daughter, is thankful. I value those who have served, who serve, who will serve for what they have given me even as I fear the very idea of my daughter ever being forced into that life (should it not be her choice).

I value the freedom they protect ... freely.

Do you think women should be required to register for the draft?


Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr

women's issues, military


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Christy Howell-Hoots

I don't believe anyone should be required to register for the draft.

I agree that serving in the military is a calling.  My father served in Korea, all of my brothers, sisters and myself were in ROTC, one of my brothers enlisted.  I wholly support those who serve and protect us.  I don't, however, believe in forcing someone to do so.

I can't say that someone who is forced would not do well, though.  My husband's friend from high school was forcibly sent to a military bootcamp at age seventeen.  His parents felt he was too out of control and thought the military would shape him up.  It worked.  He loved it and still serves today.

But, that will not always be the case.

Either way, I don't think it is right to force someone to do enlist.  It should be a choice made by someone who feels this is the right path for them.

handy... handy0318

This was my first thought when I heard the news... as a mother to both a daughter and son.  Frankly, my daughter would probably be more fit for combat emotionally than my son...different personalities...but neither want a military career.

As a Navy brat, I have nothing but the highest respect for our armed service people, whichever sex, and a good deal of that respect is that currently we have an all volunteer military.  I think it's time to do away with selective service registration and just stick with the selfless people who are serving us so well.  

redK8... redK8blueSt8

Abolishing the draft is a much better option, but lets face it. When given the choice, the government will put women in the draft before getting rid of it altogether.

Men have sued the government for sexual discrimination before because women aren't required to register. They lost on the line that women weren't allowed on the front lines. Now that obsticle is removed, you better believe that women will be required to register, and it'll happen sooner rather than later.

It sucks. I don't want my daughter OR my son to be required.

wamom223 wamom223

I don't think they will get rid of the draft and if they don't then yes women should have to register.  Equal rights means you take the good with the bad.

the4m... the4mutts

I couldnt read this whole thing, because the topic of being drafted pisses me off. Nobody should ever be forced to abandon their lives to be paid slave labor, or sent to prison for non-compliance. We have enough men and women willing to serve. The draft should be done away with!

dearg76 dearg76

I do not like the draft just period. I am an Army brat from an Army / Air Force / Navy family, but I know that I could never handle it emotionally if I were forced to serve. I am not happy about women in war zones, not because of what I think women can do (we can do just about anything if we put our hearts and minds to it) but from seeing the reactions of men who see women hurt in the field. To our men (and rightly so) we are the nurtures, we are the moms and it does something to them to see us hurt in that kind of environment. As a mom speaking I don't want my daughter to go into the service, but sure about my son either.

Blues... Blueshark77

I don't think anyone should be drafted and forced to serve against their will. And the military has a poor history of making it a safe work environment for women. I'm not talking about a war zone, but in training and base assignments where women are subjected to rape and harassment by their fellow soldiers and it is overlooked and excused.

mande... manderspanders

I'd say anyone wanting to abolish the draft has never seen a real war and post-911 doesn't really count for the average citizen when compared to WWI, WWII, Vietnam....just remember the draft is there for a reason.

I find it ironic that women want the equality but not the sacrifice or responsibility that men have had to endure since our nation's founding.

Flori... Floridamom96

When moms and dads go to war who is left to hold and build the foundation of our society? This is such a disgrace.

Men and women are equal, they just aren't the same.

nonmember avatar kaerae

Good, maybe people will think harder about starting the draft again if they have to send their daughters and not just our sons!

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