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By Allison Ashley

As high school seniors approach the highly anticipated age of 18, they receive new freedoms. Now considered adults by the state, they obtain the right to vote and are able to buy cough syrup and spray paint.

Along with this new freedom comes the responsibility of having to register for the Selective Service System…but only if you are a boy.

Selective Service System is a database that the government has in case we have a national emergency and people are needed to fight for our country. All United States male citizens and male immigrants ages 18 through 25 who are currently living in the US are required by the government to register.

The registry is just a precaution and does not mean that these men will be forced to go into the military. In the rare circumstance that a draft is required, the men would be picked randomly by year of birth or a lottery system. If chosen, the men would need to be physically and mentally examined and have a necessary fitness test. From there, the government would decide if he should be inducted or exempted from the Armed Forces. This system is put in place to ensure that if a draft is necessary in the future, it will be a fair and organized process so the government and its people are prepared.
During World War II about 350,000 women served either at home or on base in many different roles, including Army Nurse Corps, Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, and replacing many other jobs that men previously held before the war.

In 1979, qualifications for enlisting in the military became the same for both genders. Though women were now allowed to enlist, they were still prohibited from assignments that included direct combat roles. Department of Defense officially banned women from serving in combat in 1994.

This past year, on January 24, 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta removed the military’s ban and women are officially now able to serve in combat. He justified this by saying, “If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation.”

This opened up 237,000 positions to women in the military. Panetta stated, “This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military.”

Nearly every job in the military is open to women. America is a country striving to eliminate any type of gender discrimination. The Selective Service was knowingly discriminatory, requiring men to do something not required of women, but this was originally justified because until 2013 women were not allowed in combat.

Now it is up to Congress to decide if this law is still constitutional. If women in America are given equal opportunities, then they should also be given equal responsibilities, requiring all men and women to register for the draft when they turn 18.

President Barack Obama said, “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” The United States continues to take steps down the right path towards equality; the progress we make will be a reflection of the gender integration in all programs and services that this country offers.

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