Posted by: Sydney-Paige Hernandez | March 26, 2020

Serving Un-drafted: A closer look at women in the US military

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy (or at least there was before the whole coronavirus thing) regarding the draft and whether or not women should be drafted. With that in mind, I chose an article focusing on women in the military https://www.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2011/12/women-in-the-military.pdf

The article starts with a brief comparison of women in the military vs men in the military before delving into a report on the experiences of post 9/11 female veterans, which is where I became really interested. I found it very interesting that, between 1973-2010, although the number of service members had gone down by just under 750k, the amount of women in the military had nearly quadrupled. I also found it really interesting that in all races besides Asian (where they were tied) and white (more men), there were more active duty enlisted women.

One of our readings for class today, the Eagly and Carli reading on having it all also relates to this article. In the article it states that female service members are more often unmarried when compared to their male counterparts. I feel that this is a good representation of the problem Eagly and Carli were talking about where women sometimes sacrifice their careers to start families.

After reading this article: Why do you think there was a steep growth in the amount of women in the military between 1973-2010?

Do you think that there are fewer married women in the military for the same reason I stated above? Why or why not?

Stay healthy guys, and practice social distancing! The sooner we kick corona’s butt, the sooner we get back to campus!


Responses

  1. The Selective Service Act in 1948 allowed all MEN between certain ages to be drafted. During this time women were not even considered for the draft. Another thing to note is that the last time it was used was during the Vietnam War. The draft ended in 1973 once the U.S withdrew troops from Vietnam. I think that if another draft was to be announced, it would be likely that women would be a part of this draft. I also think that in terms of equality women should be drafted. This doesn’t mean they have to be in the front lines of combat (unless they are qualified and wish to do so), but the military has various other positions like medical, communications, supply and more.

    I definitely agree with what you said about the number of married women in the military. Research has shown that women who are married in the military have lower retention rates because they feel as though they do not have enough time with their families. Having it all as an active duty female is extremely difficult to do and many women have to sacrifice their careers or personal lives to fulfill one or the other.

  2. You make some really interesting points about something I am honestly not super aware of. However, this seems to relate really well to Julia M.’s annotated bib topic and I think with the research that she did, she may be able to shed some light on some of these questions!

    To answer you first question, I feel like the number of women in the military increased during those years because they had the ability to join. In the article you posted, they explain that the reason women joined was essentially the same as the men: they wanted to serve their country (especially after 9/11). However, the article also states that women joined because jobs were hard to find. This is very interesting to me, especially since it also states that this was the case compared to ¼ of men.

    Your point about marriage is something I have seriously never considered. However, reading the statistics in this article is really interesting. The fact that women in the military are more likely to marry someone else in the military is definitely worth having a conversation. Everything mentioned in this article brings up some really great points that force readers to think about women in military in a new way. As far as having fewer married women in the military, I feel as though that is really just a preference. More women prefer to not be married while serving, and there really isn’t anything wrong with that.

  3. I must say that it does not surprise me that most women that are enlisted are not married. Realistically, most men probably would not stay faithful that long (even though women in the same position are given horrible reputations for being cheaters), and if they were faithful, they are home alone without a family. If the couple is young, most likely they are not able to start a family, as the woman would be serving. So it makes sense, but it is still sad, considering we have been having all of this talk about women “having it all” when it comes to their careers and their personal lives. I do think that some jobs require a different level of commitment, and being in the military is one of those things. It then makes sense that most women enlisted marry someone else in the military.

    The article explains that, “Almost half of all married military women (48%) have wed a fellow service member, while the share of men in dual-military marriages is only 7%. Not only are active-duty women more likely to be unmarried, but they are also more likely than active-duty men to be single
    parents. While 12% of military women are single mothers, only 4% of military men are single dads.” Many of these women are doing the unthinkable, without sacrificing many of the things that they want out of life. It does spark the question, why are the percentages so contrasting?

  4. I think that this topic is very interesting but much of what was presented wasn’t that surprising to me. As stated in the comment above I think a reason that the numbers in women in the military went up between 1973-2010, was that they were given the opportunity to serve their country and many wanted to do so. After doing some research between the years of 1970-1978 something that had a major impact on the enlistment of women in the military was the feminist movement in trying to have an emphasis on parity and more opportunites of positions for women in uniform to serve in. The increasing amount of positions that women were able to serve in also probably allowed for there to be more interest and more enlisting into the armed forces by women. In the initial post, there was also a statistic about the increase in women of color in the military. I think again, this has to do with the increasing opportunities and possibilities for women to enroll in the military at the time.

    With regards to there being more unmarried women in the military than married women, it is not a surprising statistic. As stated above, being a military spouse in general causes a lot of stress to be placed on marriage in general. Then, added to this is that if women who want children regardless of the field will need some time off when they are pregnant. However, taking into account the high levels of physical activity that often time comes with being in the military, they may have to take more time off than in other work fields as them getting pregnant may interfere with the physical activity that they are able to do.

  5. The fact that most women who are in the military are unmarried and do not have children does not surprise me. If a women wants to become a high ranking officer, it is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of commitment. There is very little room for time off to get married and to have children. Also I am sure there must be a lot of concern for those women who are married and having children with getting deployed. There is always a chance that you won’t come back and while i’m sure this is quite stressful for men, it must be even harder for women to cope with. Also, being pregnant is such a demand on the body, with long recovery times, if a women were to have a child in the military she would need to be off work, or doing less demanding things during the pregnancy and need a significant period of time off after having the baby before she is able to go back to the physically demanding portions of the job. Also your body needs to be extremely healthy and is very particular about the conditions for which you can get pregnant, so getting pregnant may be very hard with how stressful and demanding the job is.

    In terms of the jump in numbers, I think a large part of it is the fact that women being in the military is much more accepted than it was previous to 1973. Women can do more things than just be medics, they can go out there and “fight with the boys”. In terms of enlisting I have previosuly stated in class that I seem to have a bias against women being a part of the draft. I don’t personally feel that women can fight on the front lines, or in general, as well as a man can just from a biological perspective. They don’t bulk the same way and in general can be hurt much more easily than men. However, other classmates have brought up good points that there are other jobs that women could be drafted for. But I think back to previous wars, like the great war or WWII, where we have had drafts. Many many people died in these wars, causing a huge population deficit, you will need women to help repopulate, you also need men, but one man can produce tons of babies a year, while one female can only produce one baby. And secondly, someone will need to stay behind and keep society and production running, who will that be?

  6. There was an up and down trend of women in the military between 1973-2010. It was a law that excluded women from most positions especially direct combat. Because of this, numbers were low up until 9/11. The country was in dire need of a stronger military presence to respond to the tragedy. Then, in 2013 women could actively be in combat. I would say women’s participation in the military simply quadrupled because it has went from virtually no representation to what it is now. I agree with you that there are fewer married women in the military because of the sacrifice factor. I think the military is too great of a sacrifice because it can be life or death, and according to society we place this brave task on men’s shoulders and we give credit to the women who are out there as well. Overall, i think the military is a meritocracy, if you meet the qualifications for the position regardless of gender, then you should be able to serve and if they’re willing to withstand the consequences and sacrifice what’s at home for deployment, more power to them. I respect and appreciate all of our service men and women.


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