Female-Inclusive Draft: You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

Why won't Hillary Clinton take a stance on a female-inclusive draft? And why she should.

Photo Credit: Photos via Instagram @HillaryClinton

“I have spent my entire adult life making sure women are empowered to make their own choices,” Hillary Clinton said during Thursday night’s democratic debate. “Even if that choice is not to vote for me.” Clinton—former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State—is credited for paving the way for young women both entering the workforce and not.

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Throughout her presidential campaign, Clinton has voiced her goals to close the gender pay gap, protect women’s health and reproductive rights, and to enhance Social Security amongst widowed and divorced females. With this equality comes sacrifice. Now, the first woman ever to near candidacy is keeping quiet about equality in the military.

In December 2015, the military opened all combat positions to women and also lifted gender-based restrictions. Following this change, Senator John McCain and Armed Services Committee Chairman, Representative Mac Thornberry, gave Congress a 30-day window to review the decision and make adjustments as needed. Today, the Selective Service remains open only to men.

According to The New York Times, the commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert B. Neller, said at a Senate hearing, “Every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft.” The Army chief of staff agreed.

Less than 24 hours after that hearing, in a CNN town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper, Clinton was asked to comment on the matter. She said, “I have to think about whether I think it’s necessary to go as far as our military officers are recommending.” She said, “The all-volunteer military has worked.”

The military is recognized to be one of the most sexist organizations in history for reasons that can be both understood and also shamed. According to the US Department of Defense, more than 201,000 women actively serve in the US Military—15% of the 1.5 million enlisted.

*Kerry Daniels (18), a freshman at Rutgers University, recently enlisted in the school’s ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program. Regarding a female-inclusive draft, Daniels agreed that women must register for the Selective Service at 18 just as men do—under one condition. “I don’t think women should go into combat,” she said. “It is not appropriate or safe for women to have combat roles.”

Men within the special operations unit have similar opinions and oppose fighting alongside females.

Rand Corporation surveyed more than 7,000 men in special ops, according to The Associated Press, and found that current enlists fear this could “hurt their effectiveness and lower the standards.” Furthermore, most men do not believe women have the mental or physical strength to enter the rigorous field.

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Republican presidential candidates were also asked to comment on a female-inclusive draft during a February 6 Republican debate. Some conservatives—members of the allegedly non-progressive and misogynistic party—disagreed with Ms. Clinton’s indecision.

Both Jeb Bush and Chris Christie said that women should be included in the draft if one were issued. “The draft’s not going to be reinstituted,” Bush said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, father of two daughters and two sons, said, “There’s no reason why one young woman should be discriminated against for registering for the Selective Service.”

Ted Cruz disagrees with Bush and Christie, “I’m the father of two little girls,” he said Sunday following the debate. “They are capable of doing anything in their heart’s desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath to kill them doesn’t make any sense at all.”

In the 2007 presidential election, Clinton took a stance on drafting women, “I do think that women should register. It is fair to call upon every young American.” At that time, Clinton was also opposed to reinstituting a draft and still is today, though now seemingly uneasy about opening the Selective Service.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that more female voters under the age of 45 support Bernie Sanders and not Clinton. The numbers: 64 percent of young female voters are for Sanders, while 35 percent are for Clinton.

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Regardless of whether or not current enlists are in support of drafting women, military chiefs and generals have finally welcomed the idea. Ms. Clinton should take advantage of this giant leap towards equality. Whether she takes baby steps, such as choosing to draft women for specific roles, or the whole cake, such as drafting women for combat, this acceptance is the product of her efforts.



*Kerry Daniels’ name has been changed for confidentiality reasons.

  • Susan MacKenzie

    Interesting article.

  • Meghan Carney

    This article presents a lot of information that I wasn’t aware of. I think it’s difficult for the 2016 Presidential candidates to take a side on this issue because the draft hasn’t been in effect for 40 years. For them, they are more concerned about addressing current and ongoing issues in order to attract voters. Perhaps you’re right however and that if Hillary Clinton were to support a female-inclusive draft that she would attract more supporters; or it could backfire and send them away. It’s hard to tell really.

  • Stephen Gauthier

    This article raises an interesting topic of equality for all citizens of this nation. As the military is often used as a petri dish of social discourse and experimentation, the addition of females in what were previously male only jobs (combat arms) should make them eligible for selective service. If the nation continues to strive towards equality for all, as it should, women should also be available should our nation ever face a threat so vast it is required to reinstate the draft.

  • http://www.TheBlueSkyBand.com J.P. Conques

    “I have to think about whether I think it’s necessary to go as far as our military officers are recommending.” She said, “The all-volunteer military has worked.”
    I agree with this sentiment. There should be no draft for men or women. While I have the utmost respect for our military, the courage they display and the job they do, I would not do it nor should I be forced to in a country that prides itself on freedom and liberty. I became of draft age just before the Iraq War began and I’ll be damned if I would have put my life on the line to make Dick Cheney a few billions richer. Had the draft been reinstituted I would be writing this comment from my adopted home in Canada.

  • Sarah Levy

    I really enjoyed reading your article. I honestly feel that if Clinton was for an all-inclusive draft, less women would vote for her. So many women (not all) are reluctant to fight in a war. In 2011, according to CNN, only 14% of the military were women who had willfully enlisted. It appears that women physical fighting, is still very taboo. Maybe that will change soon….

  • Jennifer Posada

    I think there’s a difference between fighting for equal rights and having a female inclusive draft. A draft is not really something anyone wants to actually do? While getting paid the same as your male counterpart is.. Women are treated very unfairly in the military, that alone makes them not want to join at all. I don’t think it has anything to do with physical strength, as they would get trained, and women can be just as strong as men.

About the Author

Student at Montclair State University studying Communications and Media Arts, minoring in Business. Currently interning for a presidential campaign. Employed with Inked magazine.
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