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Will women soon register for the draft?

Congress is debating the issue in the annual defense bill
Military Draft Women
Posted at 6:01 PM, Nov 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Should women register for the draft?

For years the answer has been no. However, that could change when the Senate debates and votes on the National Defense Authorization Act.


From female fighter pilots to women completing Navy Seal training to General Lori Robinson commanding NORAD, women are ubiquitous in the military— even though men may still make up the majority.

According to, a nonpartisan military news publication, women account for 20% of new recruits and 16% of active duty personal.


For over 100 years, only young men have been required to register for the draft.

The United States Senate is taking up the National Defense Authorization Act this month. In addition to addressing military pay and other benefits, senators are set to consider whether women should register with the Selective Service when they turn 18.

Professor Jen Spindel of the University of New Hampshire noted the significance of the potential change.

"It really is the first moment that including women in the draft seems like it might pass," Spindel told Scripps' National Political Editor Joe St. George.

If it passes it would mean women, just like men, who are between the ages of 18 to 25 would have to go to the selective website and submit their name, address and social security information.

In theory, that would be it.

The United States hasn't actually used the draft since 1973, relying on volunteers to staff the military.

However, Spindel explains that many worse-case scenarios highlight the U.S. being at a disadvantage for not including women presently.

“By excluding women from the draft, should the U.S. ever need to activate the draft, they would be missing out on a lot of skills that women bring,” Spindel said.

The ACLU has called this one of the last remaining sexist policies by the federal government, advocating for it to change.

But there is conservative opposition.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley has said it is “immoral” to draft young women into combat.

It's unclear exactly how this will play out in Congress but a final decision is expected in the coming weeks.