(This post is currently only a working draft thus far)
The fact that in many countries men are subject to mandatory national service, or at least to mandatory registration for conscription, is raised reasonably often in fora discussing men’s issues. There are a number of reasons why this topic is significant in the gender debate, particularly in terms of its historical significance.
Another more immediate reason is simply that this process is employed in the USA, and many of the participants in discussion fora are US citizens. As of January 2016 only US men aged 18-25 are required to register for ‘selective service’. Of course women are also subject to the same processes in some countries, just not nearly as many.
This issue has gained some prominence in the US recently, in part due to the impending Presidential election process. A related issue is the comparative performance of women actually serving in the military, and claims that this has led to a lowering of standards.
What finally prompted me to create a post on this issue was reading the following letter to the editor of the New York Times:
“I am a woman, a mother, a lifelong feminist and against the draft for women.
Exemption from the military draft for women is an essential part of our traditional societal compact: American women risk their health and very lives in pregnancy and childbirth to produce new American citizens. American men, in times of war, risk their health and lives to defend those women and children. Women who volunteer for military service are going commendably above and beyond the call of duty.
About 13 percent of American adults over all are veterans, including 24 percent of men and 2 percent of women. Compare that with the 80 percent of American women who become mothers.
We women already make a disproportionate contribution to society. That women uniquely risk death and long-term health problems to bear society’s children is not a cultural construct or a mutable gender role: It is a biological fact.
The ancient Greek playwright Euripides got it right when he had his heroine Medea say: “Men say that we live a life free from danger at home while they fight with the spear. How wrong they are! I would rather stand three times with a shield in battle than give birth once.”
We American women have given enough. Please do not take away America’s only tangible recognition of our sacrifice.”
And now sit back and take in the comments in a related reddit discussion thread.
Why do MRA’s bring up the draft? (28 September 2012)
Why has everyone forgotten about male suffrage? (2 April 2015)
Now Women Should Register for the Draft (7 December 2015)
Equality: The draft should be equal too! (7 December 2015)
Norwegian feminists say ‘No!’ to female conscription (21 December 2015)
It’s Time To Register For The Military Draft, Ladies (4 February 2016)
Cruz, Rubio back bill to keep Obama from opening draft to women (11 February 2016)
Women should have to register for the draft (11 February 2016)
The primary victim of “equality” is not your daughter (17 February2016)