Should Women Have to Register for the Selective Service (The Draft)?

In today’s post, I want to open a debate about whether or not women should have to register for the Selective Service, just like men do.  I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  After you read the post, feel free to leave a comment below.  Just keep it clean and don’t use vulgar or profanity in your comment(s).

The Selective Service was formed on May 8, 1917.  It is an independent agency designed to maintain information on people (males) who are potentially eligible to serve in the military.  Under the current law, all male U.S. citizens are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. In addition, non-U.S.-citizen males between the ages of 18 and 25 (inclusive) living in the United States must register. This includes permanent residents (Green Card), refugees, asylees, and illegal immigrants (source).

Under the current law, women are NOT required to register for the Selective Service.

I’ve always believed that all women should have to register for the Selective Service, just like men do.   There are many competent women filling the ranks within the U.S. Army and other military branches.  These women perform well during peace time and in combat.  They lead troops, get the mission done and serve their country with pride.  These women are equal to their male peers and have an important role in the military.

Since I’m a big believer in equal rights, I’ve always wondered why men have to register for the Selective Service when they turn 18, but women do not.  After all, if women want equal rights, shouldn’t they have to do the same things men are required to do?  Shouldn’t there simply be one standard across the board?  Wouldn’t that be the easiest and fairest way to promote equal rights?

In today’s world, we have women pilots, women serving in combat arms, and are even allowing women to attend Ranger School.  These women do a GREAT job and are more than capable.

But why have the double standard?  How is that fair?  Why allow women to do everything that men can do in the military, but make them exempt from the same standards that men have to follow (i.e. the Selective Service)? Just speaking from my own view, I don’t see how that is equal.  Do you?

In fact, I can’t think of any reason why women shouldn’t have to register for the Selective Service.  It would be one of the quickest ways to show that the Army (and military) treat women and men equally.  In my own opinion, I don’t think it’s fair for a woman to want to have the same opportunities as men, but not have to meet the same standard.   As I see it, there is nothing equal about that.

What do you think?  Do you think women should have to register for the Selective Service?  If so, why?  If not, why not?  I look forward to hearing from you.  Just leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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14 thoughts on “Should Women Have to Register for the Selective Service (The Draft)?”

  1. I am loving these topics on women! In an ideal world, I believe that all women should register for Selective Service, but when you look deep down into it there are only certain women who can handle that type of environment (the military environment). Not all women are as strong-willed as those who are currently in the military. If all women were to get drafted, then it would come down to the question, “are their minds and bodies strong enough to endure something like this?”

    As a woman, I know that I could not fulfill a military role – at all. I am a small, 100 pound girl who is emotional and tender hearted. To be honest, I would be the first person that the enemy would shoot at (ha!). But in all honesty, I find that women such as myself, we would be a hinderance to the military. There would be a lot of whining, crying and instability. It takes special people to endure these things.

  2. This is such an interesting topic and very relevant in today with the debate on women in combat units. To be honest though, I’m not fully sure I understand the duties. If Selective Service members are called in, are they automatically put in combat roles? If so it’s probably best if women aren’t required to sign up. I think the percentage of women willing to commit to a combat role is small.

    If however, Selective Service members don’t necessarily take combat roles…I think it’s only fair that women register.

    1. People in the draft get placed in units and jobs based on the needs of the military. Sometimes that’s with a combat unit and sometimes it isn’t.


  3. With the move to open some combat positions to women I agree that women should have to register with the selective service. Not every man is physically or mentally capable to execute the tasks necessary for the safety of self and others and for the success of the mission, neither is every woman. If we don’t want gender to decide for the draft we definitely shouldn’t let gender be a discriminator for the volunteer force.

  4. With the feminist movement alive and well in America, I believe women should have to register for the draft. How can you say things are equal if they don’t have to do that? It’s as if women want the best of both worlds without having to do the same thing men do.


  5. I think women should have to register for the selective service. Most women want the same rights as men in the military. They already get a different APFT standard. They’re thinking about letting women serve in combat arms branches. Why not make women register for the draft?


  6. Though I believe in equal rights as far as voluntary military service job opportunities, I disagree that women should be required to register in the selective service.

    My reasons are simple and from a father’s point of view: I can and would accept the fact that my son could be called to military service through a draft, I will never accept the possibility of having my daughter drafted into military service involuntarily.

    If my daughter chooses someday to serve in the military – whether as an Administrative Assistant or a Forward Combat Controller – I would encourage and help her in any way I could. I simply do not believe it is or ever will be the duty of our daughters, mothers, or sisters to involuntarily serve in the military.


    1. David,

      Looking at things from your point of view, I can see where you are coming from. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about women having to register for the Selective Service.


  7. Chuck,

    My conviction is that, now especially that women have been allowed to serve in direct combat roles, that there should be one standard. Women have always held a proud tradition in our military and their contributions make our Army the strongest in the world. Like you, I believe that if everything is to be equal, then there must be an equal responsibility to be upheld by all. I do not believe that you can demand or wish to incorporate women into the front lines of combat without being willing to accept that women must enter the draft like their male counterparts. Nice post, great debate topic.

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