Equal Rights Equals Women in the Draft


Photo courtesy of The New York TImes.

No American, male or female, has forced into involuntary service since the Vietnam War.

Sophie Maxwell, Staff writer

On February 22, 2019, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the American draft is unconstitutional as it stands right now because it only requires men, and not women, to register. The ruling does not require Congress to take immediate action and change the rules of the Selective Service System, but it does reignite the debate as to whether women should or should not also be required to register for the draft. 

Women have fought for a long time for equal rights, including the monumental 19th amendment that granted women suffrage. In 2013, the former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, lifted the ban preventing women from having positions in the military that have to do with combat.

This makes me agree with the judge and say that the law, as it is currently written, is unconstitutional. Because women are now allowed to be in actual combat situations (and rightfully so), they should have the same responsibilities as men do, and this includes the draft. It is only fair.

Another important step toward equality is not only being allowed to participate in the same things, but also being required to do some things that they might not want to. If the government requires one sex to do something for them, there is no logical reason as to why the other sex shouldn’t have to do the exact same thing.

People in general, not just women, need to come to terms with the idea that there should be no picking and choosing of what you want when it comes to rights and responsibilities. If you are being wronged, like women were when they were not allowed to be in combat, then it is absolutely the right thing to do to ask the government to give you the equal protection under the law that you deserve, but there can’t be any blocking out of any responsibilities that come with these new rights. Men have the right to serve in combat, therefore they must register for the draft, and it should be no different for women. That is true equal treatment, whether you want to be in the draft or not.

I want to be clear: I am not accusing women of complaining about this. I’m sure there are some people out there who do, but I myself have not heard any of it. I don’t know if this is because not many people know, or if they don’t care yet because no action has been taken. But if there is a complaint, and that complaint is something along the lines of “I don’t want to be in the draft. I’m fine with just making the men do it,” I find that absolutely appalling.

I don’t particularly want to have to enlist in the draft either, but that does not mean I wouldn’t gladly do it if the law were changed because I know that it is my duty to the country and I am doing the right thing. The possibilities are extremely slim that American will need to use the draft during the time I would hypothetically be eligible, and if there ever were a draft, I would hope that I would not be chosen.

But I would feel better if everyone had a fair shot of being selected — boys and girls.