Exploring the History of Women in the Military in the Light of WWIII Memes

Women and men protesting for the Equal Rights Amendment. Creative Commons Photo: Equality Now on Creative Commons.

Women and men protesting for the Equal Rights Amendment. Creative Commons Photo: Equality Now on Creative Commons.

Georgia Paye, Staff Writer

With the recent talks of a potential World War III following the U.S. killing of Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, questions emerge whether women will be required to register in the military draft.

The United States draft system was put into place on Sept. 16, 1940 after the passing of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. The Act required all men of ages 21 to 45 to register for the draft. Congress later voted to amend the Selective Service Act to lower the draft age to 18 in 1942. 

Today, all male U.S. citizens as well as male immigrants, documented or undocumented, are required to register in the draft within 30 days of their 18th birthday, according to the Selective Service System website, which is in charge of administering the draft. In the case of a crisis when a draft is necessary, as in times of war, men will be summoned based on a random lottery number and their year of birth. Then, their physical, moral and mental fitness will be examined, according to the Selective Service System website. Moral fitness being a subjective measurement of someone’s character and behavior. No one has been drafted since 1973 when the last draft closed with the end of the Vietnam War.

In 2013, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta lifted the military ban on females in combat positions which overturned a 1994 Pentagon rule, according to The New York Times. Later, in 2016, the Senate approved a military policy that required women to register for the draft, however, the final version of the bill did not include women, according to The New York Times. In 2019, the law requiring only men to U.S. military draft was ruled unconstitutional in the National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System, however, the Selective Service System is still waiting on further guidance from a court or Congress.  Therefore, women currently do not have to register for the draft.