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Making Women Sign up for the Draft Stirs Debate


Then U.S. Army First Lieutenant Kirsten Griest (C) and fellow soldiers participate in combatives training during the Ranger Course on Fort Benning, Georgia.

Then U.S. Army First Lieutenant Kirsten Griest (C) and fellow soldiers participate in combatives training during the Ranger Course on Fort Benning, Georgia.


Whether women should have to register for the U.S. military service is being debated in the United States.

Top Army and Marine Corps commanders recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that American women, like men, should register with the Selective Service System.

The Selective Service System is a government agency that registers young males for military duty in case they are called to serve in wartime.

By law, American men between the ages of 18 and 25 must provide important personal information to the government, such as birth dates and Social Security numbers.

A bill has been introduced to Congress requiring eligible women to register for the military draft.

Political candidates running for president of the U.S. are expressing their opinions about the issue.

“The idea that the federal government would … conscript our daughters and put them in a combat role, in a foxhole, fighting a jihadist…is nuts,” said Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz.

Women who were about to become active duty service members also expressed their opinions on women registering for the draft.

Nicole Golfin said: “I think it’s a great idea. I think women have just as [much] power mentally and physical strength to help fight for this country.”

Another new recruit saw military registration for females differently.

“I’m kind of against it,” said Danielle Wilkins. “I do believe that women and men should have the same equal opportunities, but I believe it should not be a requirement for women.”

More than 200,000 women are on active duty in the U.S. military. Some 150 service women have been killed on active duty in American wars and battles since 2001.

The United States has not had a military draft since 1973, and registration for the draft began in 1980.

I'm Jim Dresbach.

Bernard Shusman reported on this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

eligible – adj. able to be chosen for something

controversy – n. argument that involves many people who strongly disagree about something

conscript – v. to force someone to serve in the armed forces

nuts – adj. crazy

foxhole – n. a hole dug for a soldier to sit or lie in for protection from the enemy

draft – n. a system in which young people are required to join the armed forces of a country for a period of service

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