Legislation proposed to include women in the draft

Talks of requiring women to sign up for the draft at 18 stirs controversy in the government and civilian sectors.

Talks of requiring women to sign up for the draft at 18 stirs controversy in the government and civilian sectors.

Jennifer Givens | Contributor

There is an ongoing discussion between Congress and top military leaders who believe women should no longer be excluded from registering for the draft. If a proposed House bill to require women to register for the draft passes it will affect over half of the student population at the University of San Diego.

It is no coincidence that women registering for the draft is a topic of interest after the December 2015 decision to open all combat jobs to women. Women have long strived for equality in the military and the last step would be the integration of women in the draft.

Since the inception of the draft in 1917, men have been required to register for the draft once they turn 18. The draft was highly utilized in the World Wars and Vietnam War, but hasn’t been used since. After the Vietnam War ended, the draft was suspended by former President, Richard Nixon, and the military became an all volunteer force. In 1980 registration for the draft was reinstated under the Carter administration.

A few USD students have strong opinions for the draft in general. One student claimed military service should not be forced, it should be a choice for both men and women.

Meanwhile many other students agreed that the next step for equality, specifically eliminating gender bias, would be to open the draft to women.

Jesse Frost, a staff member at the USD Women’s Center and sophomore at USD, believes that women should be required to register just like men.

“Women should share the burden of protecting this country if there was ever a great need,” Frost said.

But not everyone was so quick to agree. Several students suggested that in theory having women sign up for the draft would be a great idea.

Some have argued that the draft might encourage women to be more aware of foreign affairs; however, when asked if they would personally sign up for the draft there was hesitation. For example, junior Talia Malley likes the theory of equality in the draft but is conflicted in the reality that someone could actually be drafted and sent to war.

“The feminist in me thinks women signing up for the draft is great for equality,” Malley said. “But I personally would not want to be drafted.”

Sophomore Tehya Foussat believes the draft itself raises questions about the logistics of integrating women in the draft.

“If women are required to register for the draft in the future, there needs to be a detailed plan that considers women’s physical expectations and limitations,” Foussat said. “In order to come to an agreement for what is best for the security of our country and the safety of those who serve our country, we need to think realistically instead of basing our decisions wholly on feelings of gender equality.”

Active military service is at an all-time low with only 0.4 percent of the American population currently serving, according to data from the Department of Defense. It’s been argued that the draft of both males and females would allow the United States to build a larger fighting force, and it would be more diverse in case of urgent and catastrophic need. It would also  affect the future USD student body if the draft were to be used.