One of my daughters reminded me recently that even with all the strides women have taken towards gender equality in opportunities and benefits, there’s one gender equality battle that even the most die-hard feminists don’t seem to want to fight and that’s for the obligations of registering for Selective Service, our military draft.
Beside a picture of a woman improperly wearing the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) the Selective Service program offers this explanation:
Women Aren’t Required to Register
Selective Service law as it’s written now refers specifically to “male persons” in stating who must register and who would be drafted. For women to be required to register with Selective Service, Congress would have to amend the law.
THE SUPREME COURT
The constitutionality of excluding women was tested in the courts. A Supreme Court decision in 1981, Rostker v. Goldberg, held that registering only men did not violate the due process clause of the Constitution.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Following a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced, on January 24, 2013, the end of the direct ground combat exclusion rule for female service members. The service branches continue to move forward with a plan to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service. Ongoing project is still underway.
The Selective Service System, if given the mission and modest additional resources, is capable of registering and drafting women with its existing infrastructure.
While the Selective Service tells us why we don’t require women to register for the draft it doesn’t give us any insight into why this battle for gender equality isn’t being fought.
Even as the Army graduates the first women from the Special Operations capable Ranger Course and the Marines conclude their year long evaluation of posting women to infantry units women have never had more opportunities in the U.S. military services but women have yet to equally share the obligations of registration for Selective Service. Why do gender equality activist ignore this blatant and obvious form of discrimination…is it because it’s an obligation…and not a benefit? To me the two should go hand in hand.
Now I’ll admit that I was raised in an era when we were taught that women were special, people to be prized and catered to. When I first left the infantry and began serving with female soldiers I had to keep myself from extending courtesies that had been engrained since childhood like opening the door for them and assuming the heavy, dirty and unpleasant tasks that men have historically tried to protect the women in their lives from…I taught myself to treat them like any other soldier, no better, no worse. Over the years I have served for, with and led a number of female soldiers. Some were capable, some were not. Some tried to use their gender, even their ‘feminine wiles’ to shirk their duties while others were hesitant even to take a soldierly helping hand because they didn’t want to be perceived as less capable.
Potential unit and individual performance issues in infantry units aside, women can and do perform almost all military tasks as good as their male counterparts. With the male military eligible population at an all time low, maybe as low as 25% (age, illness, obesity, criminal history, drug use, & educational requirements) we need women in our ranks now more than ever and even more so should we need to activate a Selective Service Draft. Why is the gender equality crowd nearly silent on this important national security and gender equality issue? Why is the Draft the gender equality issue even feminists don’t want to fight?