Wartime women: We must join the draft

By: Rebekah Devorak | Opinions Editor 

Listen up, ladies: This time, Uncle Sam wants you.

After Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced in December 2015 that all United States military combat positions would be open to any person capable of fulfilling the requirements of the job, women included, high ranking officials called for females to be lawfully required to join the draft.

These officials, including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, reasoned that if women can have full combat duties in the military just as men can, then they must share in the responsibilities of standing by, ready to protect this nation should we ever go to war.

It’s a thoroughly level-headed, reasonable request. Congress began debating earlier this month whether or not the draft should exist at all. But if it ends up sticking around, women must do their part. Females have proven themselves capable time and again of supporting this nation alongside men economically and politically, so why not militarily?

But as expected, some are appalled by the idea of women falling into rank.

The Marine Corps is one of the top groups in opposition, claiming in a yearlong 2015 study that all-male squads performed better than mixed-gender squads in nearly 70 percent of assigned tasks. The study states that men were “more accurate at hitting targets, faster at climbing over obstacles [and] better at avoiding injuries.”

The Marine Corps is worried about underperformance, but it shouldn’t be. One study isn’t enough to determine that women shouldn’t join the draft. It doesn’t show that women aren’t as strong or resilient as men; it simply shows that women are powerful in different ways that aren’t being gauged.

Females are better at tolerating pain and discomfort. They have more lower-body strength. Numerous researchers find women to be better team players. They are, on average shorter and narrower than men, making it easier to squeeze into secluded spots. According to Columbia University, women are also better learners and score higher on IQ tests.

All of these qualities have an essential place in combat.

Part of the reason why some branches of the military are panicking at the thought of women lugging around machine guns is that they don’t know how to use women as tools. They’ve had hundreds of years to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of a male combat soldier. The military hasn’t had any experience doing so with women. Thus, females are measured directly against men when they need to have a different scale altogether.

Others claim that women shouldn’t have to join the draft because there aren’t enough women who want fighting positions in the first place.

This is just incorrect. According to CNN, there were over 200,000 women in military positions in 2013. A significant number served in the medical field, ranging from 30.5 to 46 percent depending on the branch. However, 22 percent of females in the Army and 40 percent of women in the Marine Corps said that they were moderately to extremely interested in switching to combat positions.

That’s approximately 50,000 of the women serving. Not exactly minuscule.

These women joined the armed forces under pretenses that they would be soldiers in the fullest sense. Now that anyone can fight, there’s a real opportunity to make that happen. Women have always played momentous roles in helping the United States win wars, and allowing them more ways to do so will only benefit the military.

And as females, we should be loyal to our fellow sisters in helping make their career dreams come true. If that dream is acting in a combat position, and if we must join the draft to bring it to fruition, then we should band together.

Forget about Rosie the Riveter. Let’s be Rosie the Revolutionizer.

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