Guess What? Women May Be Equally Eligible for the Draft Before We Achieve Equal Pay

Illustration for article titled Guess What? Women May Be Equally Eligible for the Draft Before We Achieve Equal Pay
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This year, Women’s History Month happens to end on a very poignant date; Equal Pay Day 2020 is March 31, marking how long it takes women on average to catch up with the earnings of their white male counterparts. If you’re a black woman, that date moves to August 13, meaning you may actually be able to celebrate your inequality out-of-doors again. For Native American women? October 1. Oh, and Latinas? It’ll be October 29 for you—and no word on whether black Latinas, etc. split the difference.


Last December, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 (pdf) projected 2277 as the year we can expect to close the pay gap at the current rate. But while the U.S. government has yet to make any significant strides in accelerating that, a congressionally mandated commission is proposing equality of a different sort.

It’s been only five years since the Pentagon unilaterally opened combat roles to women in the military, but on Tuesday, Politico reported that a 225-page report by said commission posits that women should be equally eligible for the draft.

“This is a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified Nation in a time of national emergency,” the commissioners wrote, also citing a 2017 survey in which 53 percent of respondents supported opening the draft to women.

As reported by Politico:

The 11-member commission’s final report, which was required by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, was briefed to the Pentagon on Monday and will be presented to the White House and congressional staffers Tuesday.

The report does not require action, but its recommendations pave the way for lawmakers to move to include women in the draft more than 100 years after Congress passed the Military Selective Service Act in 1917. While no one has been conscripted into the U.S. military in more than 40 years, the act requires all American men to register for the draft when they turn 18. Men who fail to register can be fined, imprisoned and denied services such as federal student loans.

“It’s insulting to suggest America’s mothers and wives and daughters couldn’t contribute” Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told the commission, Politico reports. “America’s daughters should be slotted into service as their physical and emotional suitability proves capable of, just like America’s sons.”

Still, 38 percent opposed the measure, with some “fervently” against women serving in an obligatory capacity.


As of 2013, more than 2oo,000 women served in active duty, over 14 percent of the active-duty force (h/t CNN). And to be clear, this is not a dispute of the need for the military, the honor of serving your country should you so choose, or the right of women to do so in whatever capacity they choose. But doesn’t anyone find it the least bit...odd that women aren’t yet entitled to equal pay in America, but could soon be obligated to fight alongside the same men who currently outearn them for the same jobs?

No? Guess it’s just me, then.

Ironically, Politico also reminds us that the idea of including women in the draft was first proposed in 2016 by then-Rep. Duncan Hunter (R.-Calif.—in unrelated news, Hunter stepped down in January after pleading guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds, but I digress). Hunter, “a vocal opponent of women serving in combat...offered the amendment as a dare, and voted against his own proposal.”


Yes, that certainly sounds like responsible governing. On the other hand, I guess Hunter’s—and the commission’s—logic falls right in line with still arguing for the right to dictate the terms of your own uterus.

No? Again, I guess it’s just me.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?


Waffle Saadiq

The draft has been one of the major hang ups of Feminism and equality since the beginning. Either fight to be included into selective service or fight to end it. So far we have not seen anyone fight to end truly end it.