If the ERA is Ratified Will Women be Drafted?

“More than 160,500 American female soldiers have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East since the war began in 2003, which means one in seven soldiers is a woman.” –HELEN BENEDICT

The ERA will Allow Women to Build A Military Career Without Fear of Discrimination

During the first efforts to ratify the ERA, many people who would have otherwise supported the amendment, couldn’t come to terms with the possibility that women might be drafted and serve in war.

The reality is that Congress already has the power to draft women. Article I, section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to raise armies but does not specify gender or age limitations. At present the United States doesn’t draft anyone, male or female, but relies on a voluntary military.

Women have participated in various capacities in every war the United States has ever battled. They have fought and died in combat. All branches of the military benefit from their service.

“During my service in Iraq as a Marine officer, I, like many other military women, found myself fighting on the front lines of America’s wars — yet was unacknowledged for doing so,” wrote Jane Blair, a Marine officer in an op ed piece for the Washington Post. Blair explained how women in the Marine Corps go through training identical to men’s. Although boot camp is segregated by gender, subsequent training is integrated; women are not excluded from any activity — they shoot, exercise, plan battles and conduct military maneuvers the same way as the men do.

Even so Congress still officially bans women from serving in combat units that engage the enemy with deliberate, offensive action. “This is the same discrimination that kept women from voting,” argued Maj Blair, “the idea that they were not qualified to do so.”

Where the differences lie between men and women in the military is not in their contributions but in benefits, promotions, pay and recognition.