According to Wikipedia, only men are required to register for the draft with the Selective Service System in the US.

Some feminists want equal conditions for men and women.

Are there any USA politicians who actively pursuit equal rights when it comes to potential conscription by requiring women to register too?

  • 19
    "flawed premise" isn'a a valid VTC reason.
    – user4012
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 12:50
  • 11
    FYI, there are defeinitely feminist sources actively opposing equal rights when it comes to selective service, e.g. sheknows.com/living/articles/1120821/drafting-women
    – user4012
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 12:52
  • 11
    As a matter of fact, when googling for 'feminists "selective service"', the first top results are majority feminist sources arguing against the idea (Slate, Bust, HuffPost, SheKnows).
    – user4012
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 12:53
  • 6
    IIRC, this was one of the factors that reduced the popularity of the Equal Rights Amendment and kept it from being ratified back in the late 70's.
    – PGnome
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 14:04
  • 5
    @notstoreboughtdirt As a practical matter, a bill instituting a draft and extending the the draft to women would constitute two issues, and both issues would have to be approved by congress. Furthermore, SS registration affects men even without a draft. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 19:47

3 Answers 3


In 2016, there was the Draft America's Daughters Act of 2016 which was proposing exactly that: Ammend the Military Selective Service Act (the legal base for conscription in the United States) to apply to both men and women.

The bill was introduced by Duncan Hunter (Republican) and Ryan Zinke (Republican) who is now the Secretary of the Interior.

The House of Represenatives referred the bill to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel which took no further actions.

For context: The last time the United States made use of conscription was in 1973. But in theory Congress and the President would still be legally allowed to authorize a draft if deemed necessary. In any case, the draft registration is still a bureaucratic obligation which is imposed on men but not on women.

  • 12
    Interesting Note: Hunter voted against the amendment when it came up for a vote--he intended the bill to make a statement (specifically against precise gender equality). He didn't intend for the bill to make it out of committee, and introduced it as a "troll".
    – Eremi
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 16:27
  • There is no draft in the United States. People are confusing multiple things and treating them as the same thing. The United States does not have a draft. No U.S citizen is registered for a draft. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 17:26
  • 31
    @Venture2099 The united states has not actually drafted registrants to active duty in 45 years, but the system to do so is still actively maintained with legally required participation, and anyone registered is subject to draft without further action (on their part). It seems to me saying that's not "draft registration" is splitting hairs at best.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 17:32
  • 3
    @Venture2099 The draft system has been called the "Selective Service" since it was created in 1940, and it is most assuredly a draft, albeit inactive for the moment. The name is, and always was, pure marketing... so people like you could say "No US citizen is registered for a draft" (as long as you dutifully register for the draft).
    – user15103
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 20:22
  • 3
    @Joe Well, there is that old half-joke/adage about political bills doing the opposite of whatever they're named. I'm sure it predates the "selective service act", but what a great example, huh? Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 0:21

Depending on your definition of "actively", yes. Last year the Senate defense appropriation bill included a provision that required women to register for the Selective Service. The bill passed 85-13, with some of the opposition to the whole defense bill coming from legislators objecting to the inclusion of women in the draft (e.g. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee).

The provision itself was supported by 19 members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (12 Dems 7 GOP), with 7 (all GOP) opposed. The House defense bill contained a companion provision, although it was stripped before the whole House voted. The provision was removed in conference between the chambers, but there have been nearly successful legislative efforts already attempted.

To clarify some confusion in comments--registration for the draft is still compulsory in the US, even if the draft itself has not been used since the Vietnam War. In replacement of the provision requiring women to register for the draft, the conference bill included a provision to review the necessity of the draft at all.

  • There is no confusion in the comments. There is no draft. Select service is not a draft. It is a census of eligible personnel for combat. This is like claiming the Voters Roll is mandatory service as a Congressman. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 16:07
  • 11
    I'd argue that this is responsive to the question--being ineligible for selective service makes one ineligible to be drafted and vice versa. As such, as a necessary prerequisite for women to be drafted, they would have to be registered for selective service. Your analogy isn't particularly close IMO--a more apt comparison would be saying voter registration to voting (e.g. "it's not that women can't vote--it's that they can't register to vote"). The registration is the key aspect in today's society.
    – Eremi
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 16:24

The issue of conscription is quite the political football, prone to be used for political posturing rather than genuine conviction. During the early years of the Iraq War, for instance, some Democrats proposed bringing back the draft, then voted against it, just so they could engage in technically true, but baldly dishonest, scare-mongering about the draft coming back. And @Eremi responded to @Philipp 's discussion of the Draft America's Daughters Act of 2016 introduced by Duncan Hunter by claiming that Hunter intended the bill for rhetorical effect, rather than truly being motivated by a desire to draft women. Thus, simply noting that a bill was proposed does not settle the issue.

However, some examples that appear to be made in earnest are discussed here:

“This is absolutely unfair,” Rep. Mike Coffman, a veteran of both Iraq wars, says of the sanctions. Coffman, a Republican from Colorado, is among the most outspoken critics of the system. Earlier this year, he co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would abolish the $23 million agency, suspending registration – and sanctions — except by executive order in a time of national emergency.

This would partially address the inequality by removing the current requirement that men register. Going the other way and addressing the inequality by requiring women to register:

One of them, he notes, belongs to Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who earlier this year introduced two bills related to the draft. The first would require women to register with the Selective Service. The second calls for all citizens and residents between 18 and 25 to perform two years of military or community service and would reinstate the draft only when a clear threat to the nation is present and Congress formally has declared war or the president proclaims a national emergency.

@Venture2099 has made a big deal out of the fact that there is no current draft. Note that the original wording of the question was "Are there any USA politicians who actively pursuit equal rights when it comes to conscription?" and the question has been modified to, as of this writing, "Are there any USA politicians who actively pursuit equal rights when it comes to potential conscription by requiring women to register too?" I think that charity requires us give reasonable leeway to interpret questions in a way that avoids making them make false claims. "comes to" can be interpreted as "on matters related to", and the Selective Service is related to conscription, and it would be silly to try to analyze the SS without reference to conscription. Furthermore, SS rules are having real, present effects on men, and is not merely a "potential" or "theoretical" issue. As the article I linked to mentions, men who do not register can be denied benefits such as certain jobs, job training, educational financial aid, and citizenship. Note that the requirement to register runs from age 18 to 26, and while some of these restrictions apply only to that age range, in some cases, a man who passes the age of 26 without registering is forever barred from certain benefits, as they are no longer able to register (that is, some restrictions are of the form of "someone who can register but hasn't is barred", while others are of the form of "someone who was supposed to register but hasn't is barred"; in the latter case, once a person passes the registration age, they are forever ineligible). It is safe to say that men have lost out on billions of dollars of benefits due certain restrictions, and quibbling about exactly what wording should be used when discussing the relationship between these restrictions and the draft is, (especially when those quibbles are used to completely dismiss the question rather than just assert that it is poorly worded), in my mind, somewhat bad taste.

  • 2
    It was a bit more subtle than that. A lot of people, particularly anti-war folks (who tend to lean Dem) and Veterans (from either party) feel like a lot of US military intervention decisions would be better weighed against the human cost if everyone's family was subject to the draft, rather than just those few who are poor and/or patriotic enough to chose to join the military. But yes, that means a lot of people supported draft reinstation, knowing full well their more hawkish collegues would never allow it to pass, specifically so they could get more support for anti-war positions.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 21:48

You must log in to answer this question.