Should the UK follow US and include women in any military draft?
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About the Event
A US Congress national commission has ruled that all Americans ages 18 to 25 — not just men as currently required — would have to register with the government in case of a military draft. As women have increasingly taken on a larger presence in military life and culture — making up about 17 percent of US forces — it is deemed ‘necessary and fair’ to expand the registration process to include all Americans in the event of a draft.
In the event our nation requires more troops than we hold in the regular and reserve armed forces conscription could be an option. In the UK we call a draft, conscription. The main opposition centres on sending our mothers and daughters to fight in hand to hand combat. Not all women are mothers, and not all mothers may want to stay at home. The modern military is far more than hand to hand combat, over half is made up of logisticians, cyber security, engineers and administrators. All of these functions will need to be filled in the event of conscription.
Indeed, is it not the definition of equality of opportunity that if the threat to our very existence, women should be offered to be part of that group that responds? To many, the draft itself may seem moot: No one has been forced into military service since WW2. The world remains unstable and the British Armed Forces is contracting in size, not expanding to meet the growing threats, this could mean the likelihood of conscription is greater.
In recent times all combat roles across the Armed Forces have been opened for women to apply for. In a short period of time women have proven they are physically capable of the most demanding roles. Is it fair that as women serve in all combat roles, in the event of conscription other women are not given the opportunity to take part in a national crisis alongside their serving sisters? If we have learnt anything over the last few years, it is that women can and should fight should the nation be in need.
Donna Gavin, retired army Major
Sarah Atherton MP (the only regular Army veteran woman in Parliament)
Professor Peter Roberts, the Director of Defence from RUSI