In 2015, the U.S. military announced that it was opening all positions in the military to women, including combat roles. This was a historic shift and a victory for women’s equality. However, something notable is that women are still not required to register for the military draft.
The draft only requires eligible men to register for it. Congress has previously floated the idea of making women eligible as well. However, although the Pentagon has recommended women be drafted, Congress has never actually passed any such legislation.
Previously, it was impractical to draft women, for obvious reasons. Society wasn’t set up for it and neither was the military. There also wouldn’t have been much of a point, since women weren’t allowed to be in all positions in the military. But now, there isn’t much of a reason not to.
While only men have been drafted in wars, women, while they weren’t drafted to do it, often ended up fulfilling a semi-military role. In World War II, thousands of women worked in factories to help build tanks, and performed test flights for airplanes. In Britain, women were among those working as codebreakers to help solve the enigma code.
Just because women (or men, for that matter) would be drafted wouldn’t mean that they would be forced into certain positions. If they can’t meet the benchmarks required to be in a position, they shouldn’t be there. Drafting women doesn’t necessarily mean that equal numbers of men and women would be in a given role, and it doesn’t have to.
When people think of the military, they sometimes envision lines of people with machine guns, trying to kill each other. The military is more than that, however. It’s not just about fighting and shooting guns. Now, more than ever, battles are being fought through cyber warfare and computer networks. Anyone can sit behind a desk and code.
The wars of the future may not involve machine guns at all. And instead of lines of people in camouflage, they could involve lines of zeroes and ones flashing across a computer screen.
In wars, there is always a need for paramedics and nurses. People, including women, who aren’t able to fight on an actual battlefield could always be trained for those positions, and that training would give them skills that would benefit them later in life.
America wouldn’t be the first country to draft women. Other countries already do so, including Israel, which makes military service mandatory for many of its citizens once they are 18.
It’s a matter of debate whether there should even be a draft in the first place. But if there ever is, it should apply equally to everyone.