Women and the draft – is it time?

Des Moines Register

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When considering the thought of women in the potential draft, there are many factors to consider. One being, traditionally, women were not included in the draft due to the fact that females were believed to be “inferior” to males mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

In today’s society, however, time and time again women have broken down barriers and proven that they have just the same amount of potential as their male counterparts. In combat, the female population has continued to rise since the 1980s and an increasing number of women are being seen on the battlefield and in all positions of war.

With the recent widespread paranoia of another American war in the Middle East, many eligible citizens, ages 18-26, have begun to fear their places in a possible draft. Women, especially, have started to question whether they’ll be included in the draft as well. 

In response, a survey was taken around Naugatuck High School focusing on juniors, seniors, and teachers who would be qualified for conscription. All those surveyed shared varying opinions about women and the draft.

Many people during the interview held this same point of view including Emilah, a junior attending Naugatuck High School, who stated that “since women are fighting for equal rights they need to fight for equal rights. Back then only men got drafted, but now morals and cultures are changing so they should be allowed.” 

Through women’s continued fight for equality in all aspects of life, it is only fair that women have the same military rights as men and engage in their civic duty as well. US District Judge Gray Miller proclaims that “defendants have not carried the burden of showing that the male-only registration requirement continues to be substantially related to Congress’s objective or raising and supporting armies,” deeming a solely male draft unconstitutional. 

On the contrary, we must consider the fact that only women can bear children. A women’s draft could negatively impact the country’s population due to the number of women available in their childbearing age. 

A group of interviewees, Evan, Chad, Kyle, and Jonathan, all 16, unanimously agreed that “women need to stay back and keep the country populated.”

In addition, there is an increased risk of abuse for women in a male-dominated field. Women today seem to be targeted for abuse and violence carried out by enemies. On the battlefield, women are more likely to be injured due to their physical differences. Statistically, 58 percent of women suffered injuries during a war in Afghanistan while 21.4 percent of men suffered injuries. 

However, “women are smarter than men and better leaders …any physical differences they make up just by being smarter,” said Mr. James Leary, a dean at Naugatuck High School. 

After considering these advantages and disadvantages in interviews with Naugatuck High School population as a total, our data showed an overwhelming 75 percent support from interviewees for the female-included draft. However, 25 percent, disapproved of women being included within a draft. 

Specifically looking into the data created through the survey on teachers, six males and three females voted that yes, women should be included in the draft. In comparison, two out of the five women voted that no females should not be included. The majority of the teachers who voted pro-female involvement stated that women should be given equal opportunities as men.

Mr. Tenney, a social studies teacher at Naugatuck High School, expressed that “as a country, we are way more developed than we were before, so we shouldn’t keep the ideas we used to have. Women are capable of doing it.”

However, when considering the point of view of the two female teachers who opposed women being included in the draft, they believed that although women should be given equal rights, that is not always the case in today’s society. 

Mrs. Sherry, an English teacher states, “When men and women get equal pay then women can be drafted. Women don’t get paid the same amount as men so they already aren’t treated equally.”

Out of the twelve girls at Naugatuck High School that were interviewed, two girls voted no, women should not be included in a draft. They opposed a women’s draft because they were afraid to fight in combat. However, most of the girls believed that since women are advocating for equal rights, female inclusion in the draft would be a step in the right direction. 

“Women should be allowed to do anything men can including getting drafted,” said Katie, a senior feminist at Naugatuck High school.

The majority of boys at Naugatuck High School, grades 10-12, voted yes, women should be included in the draft mostly for equal rights and opportunities. In addition to having equal rights women will also “increase military population,” said a senior boy. “Women have always fought for equal rights, so them getting drafted in the war, will be a step toward full equality,” said Hopeton, a sophomore. 

Having all things considered, “Times are changing, so society should not stay the same as it was before,” said Karissa, a junior. Women should earn the same amount of rights as men even if that means physically fighting in combat.