Friday, October 15, 2004
The politics of gender, war and service
During debate over the Equal Rights Amendment during the 1970s and early 1980s, legislators in statehouses throughout the country heard about the potential consequences of passing the ERA, namely women being drafted into the military and forced into combat roles. Well, guess what? Although women have not yet had to register for the draft, they are serving in greater numbers in the military. Further, there is a proposal in Congress that would reinstate the draft, and that would include women, because the U.S. is running out of troops and other personnel to serve in wars. Take notice that there is still no constitutional amendment ensuring equality of rights under the law for women (aka: the Equal Rights Amendment). What are the current facts about the draft? What proposals are being discussed in Congress? And, what do the answers to these two questions mean for women and men?
Not like they really care about the facts, such as the fact that the proposal in Congress that would reinstate the draft died on a 402-2 vote. Or that the bill's author was a Democrat, as were the two who voted for the draft.
And note: since there were zero women in combat positions until 1991 (when they were permitted to fly combat missions), of course there are more women in the military. There are also more women in the civilian workforce than in 1970. Your point is?
So next Wednesday a women's center talk will be focused on spreading more rumors about a draft that has not been proposed by either candidate, but for whom one side is accusing the other of having a cunning plan.