After two congressmen introduced a bill that would require women to register for future military drafts, an intriguing and revealing debate spurred. The issue of women serving in combat arms was turned on its head.
Last semester, the Lariat published an editorial in response to the U.S. military’s plans to implement women into combat arms.
The Lariat made no case for whether the military should or should not put women in combat arms, but argued this principle: if women are allowed into combat arms, their physical tests and other requirements should be no different than those of men in combat arms. Furthermore, the standards should not be lowered across the board because that enacts a lower standard for men and women in combat arms alike.
With the issue of women registering for the draft, there is a similar paradigm of debate at play.
By the same train of thought, there should be no difference with registering for Selective Service. Being subject to a future military draft. If legislation is in place for women to be in combat arms alongside men, they should be required to register for Selective Service just the same as men.
If the pursuit of equality is so powerful as to override the longtime prohibition of women in combat arms, then it follows that these same champions of gender equality should also be in support of women being required to register for the draft. The two points are inseparable.
Ironically, the people who celebrated the opening of combat arms to women are now the ones pushing back on the proposition of also requiring them to register for the draft.
One cannot argue so passionately for women to hold the same military positions as men and ignore the current exclusive requirement of men registering for Selective Service.
Doesn’t requiring women to register for the draft fully authenticate gender equality? Why is participatory equality suddenly not a concern?
It comes down to this – put your money where your mouth is. If you champion gender equality and demand it in military combat arms, you cannot then abandon your cause when the requirement of registering for Selective Service is brought into the discussion.
Is the opening of the military’s combat arms to women being used for political brownie points, or is there an honest and firm belief that women and men serving in combat arms are fundamentally one and the same?
Whether the bill passes or not, it has exposed a striking double-standard for the political champions of gender equality on the battlefield. It begs the question of the credibility of the position altogether.