Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Women and the Draft-Equal Rights Come With Equal Responsibilities

Life for the average American woman has changed a lot since 1940. Gone are the antiquated standards for ladylike behavior and modest dress. The institutionalized sexism that was once so common in schools and the workplace has been outlawed. Even expectations of marriage and motherhood, though not entirely absent, have evolved a great deal in the last 76 years. What has not changed though, is the debt of honor that each and every citizen owes her country. Sadly, the law has yet to recognize that debt.
            There have been several iterations of the draft since America was founded more than 200 years ago, but the Selective Service and Training Act of 1940 is widely regarded as the forefather of our modern selective service. This bill required all males from 21-36 to register for the draft. Though Congress has tweaked and altered the bill many times since then, one thing has not changed. It only applies to men.[i]
            In the time since that bill was passed women have been adamant about demanding a better deal from this country, and for the most part they have received it. The right to vote, to have an education, to go to work and even to serve in the military all owe their existence to that “feminist movement.” However, if this society ever wants to reach a state of true equity between men and women then the fight can not stop with equal rights. It must also include equal responsibility as well. That is why it is imperative for Congress to amend the legislation and include women in the draft.
            The timing for this change could not be better. In late 2015 the Department of Defense, under the guidance of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, officially opened up all combat positions to females, officers and enlisted alike.[ii] Now that this last formal barrier to equality has been removed it is time for woman to step up and demand once more that they be allowed to carry their fair share of the burden.

[i] http://www.britannica.com/topic/Selective-Service-Acts
[ii] http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/12/03/carter-telling-military-open-all-combat-jobs-women/76720656/

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