There have been some recent discussions of legislation that has the internet claiming that women in Idaho (and the rest of the country) could be included in being registered for the selective service. 

Women and the Draft Registration Debate

In recent months, Congress has revisited the issue of requiring women to register for the Selective Service System. Historically, only men aged 18 to 25 have been required to register, a policy upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as last year. However, legislative efforts to include women in the draft have gained significant momentum, reflecting ongoing debates about gender equality and national security.

Historical Context and Advocacy

The push for this change is not new. Since 2015, when all combat roles were opened to women, there have been increasing calls to update the draft registration system to include both men and women. Advocates argue that excluding women from registration is both outdated and discriminatory. A commission established to study the future of the draft recommended in 2020 that women should be required to register, describing it as a "necessary and fair step".


Recent Legislative Movement

This year, the House Armed Services Committee voted 35-24 in favor of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that mandates draft registration for women. Proponents, like Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), contend that this measure is crucial for ensuring that the Selective Service System can mobilize all necessary talents in the event of a national emergency, not just combat roles. In other words, just because women could be drafted, doesn't mean they would necessarily be placed in combat.

Support and Oppiostion

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) has also supported the move, stating that the legislation would remove gender-specific language from the current law, 'leveling the playing field.' Despite these advances, the proposal has faced significant opposition from some lawmakers who argue that compelling women to register for the draft is unnecessary and could have adverse social implications. Although passing such legislation might help mitigate gender confusion that the US seems to be struggling with of late. Removing all genders from the current law could compel every they/them to register, either solving the issue or perhaps creating a bigger one.

Will Women Soon Need to Register for Selective Service?

While women may enlist in the military at will, there has yet to be legislation passed to require women to register for the draft. As the debate continues, the legislation's fate remains uncertain. If enacted, it would mark a historic shift in U.S. military policy, making women eligible for the draft for the first time. The full House and Senate will need to vote on the final version of the NDAA, determining whether this provision will become law. It's worth noting that this isn't the first time similar legislation has been tabled never to see the light of day. The legislation that would automatically enroll males into selective service is still being debated and amended.

Women and The Draft: Too Soon to Call

This legislative effort highlights the ongoing evolution of gender roles within the U.S. military and raises fundamental questions about equality, national duty, and the nature of modern warfare.

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Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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