At the age of 18, anybody can buy a lottery ticket, vote, buy cigarettes, skydive or get married. But this very important birthday has a slightly different meaning for men.
It means signing up for the draft.
Nearly all men between the ages of 18 and 25 are required to register for the draft, according to the Selective Service System. However, this requirement does not extend to women in the same age range. In fact, it doesn’t extend to women at all.
It isn’t fair for women to be excluded from the draft. The only reason that women do not currently have to register is because the Selective Service Act specifically refers to “male persons,” according to the Selective Service System.
This law, like many other laws, is a lasting example of gender inequality during the time that the law was enacted. While new laws have been enacted to give women the same rights as men such as the right to vote, the Selective Service Act has neither been changed since it was enacted in 1917, nor has an overruling law been established.
The general argument against adding women to the draft is that they are not mentally or physically prepared for open combat. However, this reasoning is a poorly disguised sexist remark. It assumes that all women are weak and do not measure up to the same standards that men are held to.
For women, the decision should be easy: the draft should apply to all genders. Women have fought for the same rights to work, own property and have an education that all men were already guaranteed. However, becoming a part of the draft would also mean women risking their own lives and the well-beings of their loved ones. So, quite selfishly, the decision is not as simple as one may think. Women certainly don’t want to get drafted, but neither do men.
Despite the hesitation, it is our firm belief that the fight for equality shouldn’t just extend toward beneficial aspects of life, but also to the negative ones. We have fought endlessly for the many basic rights we take for granted today, but the inequality isn’t just found in voting, education or positions of power. It’s found in the fact that men get 63 percent higher prison sentences and that around 75 percent of the homeless are men, according to Huffington Post.
It is hypocritical to choose what rights we do and do not want as women. Gender equality is a term that means all people have the same rights and no one is given an advantage no matter what they identify as.
It is no longer 1973, the last year the draft was used, and women have much larger roles in society than they did back then. We aren’t all staying at home, cooking and cleaning anymore. We are bodybuilders, CEOs, Olympic athletes and neurosurgeons, which are roles that women were either heavily criticized for obtaining or unable to obtain at all 45 years ago. If we can reap the same benefits as men, shouldn’t we also have to endure the same consequences?