Women and the Draft

Women and Men Deserve the same rights and liabilities

by Auren Hoffman

Since my name masks my gender - I'll tell you right up front that I'm male. I'll also tell you that this opinion piece is not about whining, sulking, or even jealousy - it is about fairness and equality. I just have some words for thought.

I remember turning 18 - one of the more memorable days of my life. Though I cannot remember exactly what I did that day, I do remember how I felt. I was an adult. The first thing I did was rush to register to vote, then I opened my own checking account, then I let my friends take me out. It is the only birthday I ever had where I truly felt different from the day before.

The next day, I registered with the Selective Service. As a patriot and an American, I understand the necessity of registering for the draft. Also, my financial aid depended on my registration - so I was doubly interested in signing up to be eligible for the draft. After reading the Selective Service papers I found out that only men had to register. I admit, I was dumbfounded.

Today, over 4 years later, I still do not understand the logic of not requiring women to register for the draft. Our armed forces is making strides to include women in combat and other key positions. Why then should women escape the draft?

Do you think I'm whining yet?

Not including women in the selective service only underlines old stereotypes that we have been trying to erase for years. I don't know of any serious legal challenges to the policy of requiring only men to register, but I doubt that such a policy would stand up in court. Its blatant bias and inference that only men add value to the armed forces is discriminatory, wrong, and has no place in our society.

SUMMATION: Simple. End Discrimination. Register men and women for the selective service.

Auren Hoffman is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley and now is a consultant with Kyber Systems (http://www.kybersys.com), an Internet database firm based in Berkeley, CA. Check out Auren's weekly column called SUMMATION (http://www.kybersys.com/summation).