Moran: What the new defense bill means for feminists

I, like many other people, do not particularly like the Draft and the idea of people serving in the military against their will. That being said, the new defense bill that the Senate just passed made me happier than I’ve ever been hearing about anything related to the military.

For a bit of background, the National Defense Authorization Act includes, among many other things, a provision in it that would require all women who turn 18 after Jan. 1, 2018 to register for Selective Service. Currently, only men 18-26 are enrolled in Selective Service. The Bill was approved by the Senate with an 85-13 vote and is being sent to the House of Representatives for their approval.

Although it is unlikely this bill will end up being passed, as it includes various other provisions related to Guantanamo Bay and defense spending itself that President Obama has threatened to veto, the fact that is being passed by the Senate is a huge win for feminists.

Regardless of your opinions on Selective Service itself, as a feminist, this news should excite you. This new bill means that women are no longer being seen as weak and fragile. The Senate voting it through means lawmakers finally believe that women are tough enough to be enlisted into the military in times of peril.

The military is one of the last hurdles towards true legal equality for men and women. It was only last year that all combat roles in the military became open to women. The logical next step would be for women to enroll in the draft.  However, many people are personally opposed to women entering the draft, including those who consider themselves feminists.  If you truly believe in feminism you should be willing to be equal to men on these kinds of “ugly” issues as well. Feminism can’t just focus on smaller issues like cat-calling, when there are still giant legal differences between what it means to be a man or a women in this country.

Another issue presented with this new draft proposal is that it was included in the new defense spending bill rather than presented as a separate bill. Many lawmakers feel that the topic of women entering the draft deserves its own debate. Personally, I think the opposite. The logical next step for women in the military would be entering the draft. To me, it is so obvious a step that I have no idea why it took this long for it to be written into a bill in the first place.

Even though the idea of serving in the military frightens me, I would do it to protect my equality. Because that is exactly what this new draft bill is doing. It is pushing women one step closer to true equality, and isn’t that what we all want in the first place?