Scrolling through Tik Tok, Instagram, and Twitter, all I have seen for the past week are memes poking fun at a theoretical draft for the "incoming WWII." The meme that I have seen the most often that never fails to force a chuckle is one about women's possible participation in the draft. No matter the format, it always features girls pretending to fight for their rights in the 1950s, then in 2020 when the women's draft is introduced, they pretend to eagerly jump back to their 1950s role of housewife. Teenagers will truly never fail to make light out of a scary, confusing situation. There is a serious, underlying question though that lies at the heart at this meme: Should women be included in the draft?
Although I do not believe in the institution of the draft, in theory, the answer is yes. The historical justification for women not being able to serve in ground combat units and not being forced to register for the draft is mainly that women, on average, have less upper-body strength than men. This needs to be readdressed.
Although it has been proven time and time again that under the same time constraints and training, women have less upper body strength than men, women are superior in other areas such as endurance and rates of recovery. If allowed longer and varied training, women could perform to the same rates as male recruits with lower chances of injury. Yes, it wouldn't be as fast as the turnout rate of male soldiers, but in an urgent time that requires bodies, leaving out half of the population is just not sensical. As of 2014, the attitude towards women in combat has changed. All service branches were given until 2016 to lift the restrictions on women in combat. If women have proven that they can successfully serve in ground combat units, why shouldn't they be included in the draft?
Another big reason other than physical strength that has been used to justify a men-only draft is that men and women cannot fight together in the same way that men can fight with each other. The idea is that improper fraternization such as sexual relations could occur and just that men cannot bond with women the same way they bond with each other. This line of thinking is entirely absurd. Micah Ables, a US Army commander, in his article "Women Aren't the Problem. Standards Are." cites that a lot of the supposed "bonding" between young team leaders and their senior platoon sergeants which includes getting drinks is downright is characterized as "undue familiarity" and prohibited by the Army Regulation 600-20. There is nothing except completely improper norms that prohibit the connection between genders during service.
Although I will take a moment and laugh at the memes on my social media feed, there is a fine line between jokes and reality. Women are every bit as capable as men. They have proven this over and over, especially in the military. A close family friend of mine is an ensign first class in the U.S. Navy, and I couldn't imagine her father, a former Naval officer himself, ever telling his daughter that she wasn't every bit as capable to follow in his footsteps.
America is supposed to be the land of dreams, so why shouldn't women be given the same opportunities to follow theirs as men?
Reem Alharithi is senior at West Linn High School
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