Women Required To Register For Selective Service?

Women Required To Register For Selective Service?

By: Dion McNeil

For so long one of the hardest points that men’s rights activists have made that feminists have had a tough time deflecting is the male only draft. Sites like A Voice for Men have beaten that dead horse into the ground over and over again. Nothing about a male only selective service spells out equality. Not a thing about a male only selective service system that has penalties for males over the age of 18 who are not registered suggests a fair system. Of course feminism and women in general had nothing to do with selective service or the draft as it was likely men who imposed this. Yet at the same time if we are going to be honest not having to register for women is an advantage that isn’t to be taken lightly.

Some will say that we haven’t had a draft in the United States for quite some time. What does that matter? Go tell that to the 50 thousand plus dead Vietnam war veterans. In fact it wasn’t until 1973 that the United States converted to an all volunteer force and for that to be the standard until such a time where the draft is needed again. Truth be told the very notion that the US isn’t drafting people, namely men, in modern times is a relatively new phase. From the Vietnam war and above the United States always called on young men to do the fighting and while there were instances of women serving very rarely were that put in harm’s way versus men.

The men’s rights activists probably are shouting joy to the heavens when articles like those found on the Washington Post popped up concerning women and selective service. At least now the idea of having women register just like men have to is starting to get some traction. Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the Army testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee. A quote from the Washington Post article reveals some of the details:

““Senator, I think that all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft,” said Milley, echoing the remarks of Neller.

After the hearing, Neller added in an short interview that any young American as a rite of passage should have to register for Selective Service.

“Now that the restrictions that exempted women from [combat jobs] don’t exist, then you’re a citizen of a United States,” Neller said. “It doesn’t mean you’re going to serve, but you go register.””

Some who read this will shout, “no, get rid of the draft for everyone!” Where the heck were those people when young men had to go and sign up? Where were they? Now all of a sudden when women are subjected to the same thing that men are suddenly it is a problem? Well yes, it is a problem now. And we know this based off of the responses we are starting to see across the internet. All of a sudden there are voices that are decrying selective service that we didn’t hear from before concerning the subject.

Take the L.A. Times Editorial Board for example. If we look on the LA Times website we can’t find many other mentions of selective service or the draft but the second that women might be subjected to the same thing men had to be subjected to suddenly it is an issue. Observe for yourself:

“Why should the country require anyone — male or female — to register for a draft that’s purely hypothetical? Or this: Does it make sense to extend the Selective Service rule as a symbolic gesture of gender equality without first examining the rationality of maintaining a registry at all in the digital era?”

Take a look at what Elaine Donnelly, president of the center of Military Readiness, said. Keep in mind that as she is saying this men are still being subjected to having to sign up for selective service:

“Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, called the Pentagon’s decision “ill-advised.”  In part, she said, because it will affect “unsuspecting civilian women, who will face equal obligations to register for Selective Service when a future federal court rules in favor of litigation brought by the [American Civil Liberties Union] on behalf of men.””

Some people may ask, “why even care? There’s no penalties for not registering, right?” Listen hard and hear the crickets in the background. Of course there are penalties. All one needs to do is go over to the Selective Service website and see the list of penalties one can face. Take a look at the list:


Men, born after December 31, 1959, who aren’t registered with Selective Service won’t qualify for federal student loans or grant programs. This includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Direct Stafford Loans/Plus Loans, National Direct Student Loans, and College Work Study.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes registration with Selective Service a condition for U.S. citizenship if the man first arrived in the U.S. before his 26th birthday.


The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) offers programs that can train young men seeking vocational employment or enhancing their career. This program is only open to those men who register with Selective Service. Only men born after December 31, 1959, are required to show proof of registration.


A man must be registered to be eligible for jobs in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government and the U.S. Postal Service. Proof of registration is required only for men born after December 31, 1959.  

Security clearance background investigations will verify whether or not men are in compliance with federal law; thus, men who are required to be registered with the Selective Service System will be verified of their Selective Service registration status for security clearances, as well as for some contractors.

Penalties for Failing to Register
Failing to register or comply with the Military Selective Service Act is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison term of up to five years, or a combination of both. Also, a person who knowingly counsels, aids, or abets another to fail to comply with the Act is subject to the same penalties.

If a man fails to register, or provides Selective Service with evidence that he is exempt from the registration requirement, after receiving Selective Service reminder and/or compliance mailings, his name is referred to the Department of Justice for possible investigation and prosecution for his failure to register as required by the Act. For clarification, if a man is exempt from registering with the Selective Service System, his name is not forwarded to the Department of Justice. The federal law stipulates that names are to be submitted to the Department of Justice annually.

The more immediate penalty is if a man fails to register before turning 26 years old, even if he is not tried or prosecuted, he may find that some doors are permanently closed.”

Did we read that correctly? Someone could lose their citizenship, not get a student loan, face a prison term, be fined a quarter of a million dollars and if someone were to try to help this man escape having to register for the draft they could face the same penalties? Yes, bring in the draft or get rid of it. Bottom line this is not gender equality and no matter how much someone says, “well men imposed it” is going to take away from the fact that it exists. If this is the level that men have to go to in order to maintain their citizenship then women should either be subjected to the exact same selective service or we need to eradicate and the scrap the whole thing and if there is a draft women should be drafted.

Why should women be drafted should there ever be a draft? Well, of course, some would say that women are not as physically strong as men or as made for combat. However there are some women who don’t fit that generalization. Imagine if a military unit had a team of Holly Holms running around. How many would really oppose the idea of Amazon-esque killing machines running around to cover their backs? But women should register because of a landmark court ruling.

One of the common strawman arguments that some in certain ideologies, feminists in particular, love to hurl at men is that men never fight for their own rights. That is a lie. There were men who did oppose men being forced to have to register for selective service and even the possibility of a male only draft. Rostker v. Goldberg, which was a case argued in front of the United States Supreme Court in March 1981, is proof that there was at least one group of men who tried to end this sexist standard placed on men. However, the attempt to get rid of one of the clear cut gender expectations not imposed on the opposing gender got shot down. Cornell University’s Law School documents it quite well:

“The question of registering women was extensively considered by Congress in hearings held in response to the President’s request for authorization to register women, and its decision to exempt women was not the accidental byproduct of a traditional way of thinking about women. Since Congress thoroughly reconsidered the question of exempting women from the Act in 1980, the Act’s constitutionality need not be considered solely on the basis of the views expressed by Congress in 1948, when the Act was first enacted in its modern form. Congress’ determination that any future draft would be characterized by a need for combat troops was sufficiently supported by testimony adduced at the hearings so that the courts are not free to make their own judgment on the question. And since women are excluded from combat service by statute or military policy, men and women are simply not similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft, and Congress’ decision to authorize the registration of only men therefore does not violate the Due Process Clause. The testimony of executive and military officials before Congress showed that the argument for registering women was based on considerations of equity, but Congress was entitled, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, to focus on the question of military need, rather than “equity.” The District Court, undertaking an independent evaluation of the evidence, exceeded its authority in ignoring Congress’ conclusions that whatever the need for women for noncombat roles during mobilization, it could be met by volunteers, and that staffing noncombat positions with women during a mobilization would be positively detrimental to the important goal of military flexibility.”

Now, this is a clearly ridiculous ruling and especially considering that the ERA was supposed to protect men and women and was supposed to make it so that there was no legal form of gender discrimination but especially none supported by the United States government. But pay attention to the details outlined by Cornell University’s Law School. Pay attention to that one particular line that says, “And since women are excluded from combat service by statute or military policy, men and women are simply not similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft, and Congress’ decision to authorize the registration of only men therefore does not violate the Due Process Clause.”

Can anyone spot the issue? Well, there is one issue. If this was the ruling then that automatically should mean that women should be forced to register for selective service considering that combat roles are now open for women. No, seriously, that was the ruling. Was it not? If it was good enough to deny that group of men their equal rights under the law and not be forced to sign up with selective service based off of women not being allowed to be in combat roles then it stands to reason that women should now be forced to register just like men are since combat roles are now open. The lesson that should be learned here is that certain feminists and certain people who go crazy with the equality arguments but want to protect women should be careful what they wish for. Those people wanted women in combat roles and now we have it but perhaps this is a true testament to the fact that not every part of being a man is great and glamorous.

We rest our case.


Dion McNeil is a writer for the Soap Box Corner. Dion is a 29 year old stay at home dad who specializes in psychology and social issues. If you have questions leave a comment, share and/or discuss. You can contact Dion via email at phalanxmedia@mail.com and be sure to use that email as much as you like. As always be skeptical, question everything and seek the truth. Thanks for reading!



Equal Rights Amendment


Cornell University Law School

Washington Post

LA Times



A Voice for Men


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