Will Idaho women be drafted in 2024?

Recently, there has been discussion online about a bill that would allow women in Idaho (and the rest of the country) to be included in draft registration.

Women and the debate on conscription

In recent months, Congress has revisited the issue of whether women must register for the draft. Previously, only men between the ages of 18 and 25 were required to register, a rule upheld by the Supreme Court just last year. But 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 growing calls to update the conscription registration system to include both men and women. Supporters argue that excluding women from registration is both outdated and discriminatory. A commission set up to examine the future of conscription recommended in 2020 that women should be required to register, calling it a “necessary and fair step.”

Recent legislative movement

This year, the House Armed Services Committee voted 35-24 to pass a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requiring women to serve in the military. Supporters like Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (Pa.) say the measure is critical to ensuring the Selective Service System can mobilize all the talent it needs in the event of a national emergency, not just for combat missions. In other words, just because women could be drafted doesn't mean they would necessarily be sent to combat duty.

Support and opposition

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) also supported the move, stating that the legislation would remove gender-specific language from current law, thereby “leveling the playing field.” Despite this progress, the proposal has faced significant opposition from some lawmakers, who argue that requiring women to register for the draft is unnecessary and could have negative social impacts. However, passing such legislation could help alleviate the gender confusion the U.S. seems to be struggling with lately. Removing all genders from current law could force all “they”/”them” to register, either solving the problem or perhaps creating an even bigger one.

Will women soon have to register for military service?

Although women can enlist in the military at will, no legislation has yet been passed requiring women to draft. While debate continues, the fate of the bill is still uncertain. If passed, it would be a historic shift in U.S. military policy, as women would be eligible to draft for the first time. The full House and Senate must vote on the final version of the NDAA to decide whether this provision becomes law. It's worth noting that this isn't the first time a similar bill has been tabled without seeing the light of day. The bill that would automatically draft men is still being debated and amended.

Women and the draft: Too early for a prediction

This legislation 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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Anna Harden

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