The US Senate approved a whopping $602 billion dollar defense bill bipartisanly on Tuesday. One of the most talked about parts of this bill states that, beginning for those who turn 18 after January 1, 2018, women will also have to register for the selective service.
The selective service is an agency that is meant to keep track of, now only, men between 18 and 25 in case of another large scale war where more people will be needed to fight. America has had to use a draft in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam. But after the wars were over conscription went away. In 1980, during the Carter administration, the idea of the selective service came about to show the USSR our readiness for battle.
The Selective Service is, at this time, a requirement for men between the ages of 18 and 25, if he doesn’t register he will not be able to receive student loans or apply for government jobs.
This change seems to fall in line with the Department of Defense opening up all military rolls to women. The Supreme Court had ruled that women didn’t have to register for the Selective Service because women were barred from combat roles. With the changes of female roles in the military, it only follows that women would also have to register for the selective service.
This bill will have to be reconciled with the similar House bill that doesn’t have the stipulation about women registering with the selective service, and the President has stated he would veto this bill anyway, because it says that Guantanamo Bay cannot be closed, which was one of his campaign promises. This movement forward is not yet reality but is another step towards gender equality.