Should Women Be Drafted Into Combat?

women in combat

I have been asked several times by readers my thoughts on the potential of women being drafted, since they are now allowed to serve in combat roles in the American military. This is an honest question. This is a question that scares me. I am 5’2 and small boned.

At 32, I am too old to be drafted now, but I have to be honest, the thought of being drafted into war at any age terrifies me.

The thought makes me want to hide behind my husband, push him forward, and say, “He will go for me.” It makes me want to run to Canada or wherever all the pacifists and hippies are escaping to these days. It makes me want to dig a hole in my backyard, and sit in it until “drafting” is over.

Not me. I cannot go to war. I am too small. Too fragile. Way too girly girl. Let the men do it. They are bigger and stronger and tougher. They’ve got this. They don’t need little ole’ me. I will stay home where it is cozy and there are no bombs going off around me.

I will watch things unfold from my couch, on the news. I can’t be shot at or shoot at others. I don’t even know how I feel about guns. I have never even held a gun. I am sort of terrified of “shooting my eye out.” Not me. Let the men do it.

They are bigger and stronger and tougher.

Girls can’t go to war. What sort of savage nation are we living in that sends our daughters off to combat?

But, then again, if there ever is a draft, it would not be girls we are sending in. It would be women and there is no doubt in my mind that God drafts women into His army to do some serious spiritual combat.

If God, who is a good parent, enlists women for war on His enemy, why not a nation?

A week or two ago I was watching women on TV in their late teens and early twenties answer questions about this very subject. They all said with certainty and without an ounce of fear in their tone, that they would have no problem being drafted for combat. They stated that this is the price for gender equality and that they were more than happy to pay it.

WOW!

Young women these days are soldiers! I was blown away by their bravery. I didn’t think like that at their age. I was at Forever 21 shopping, not thinking about the potential of becoming a literal woman warrior.

But still, I am scared. I don’t want the responsibility. Let the men do it. They are bigger and stronger and tougher. They’ve got this. Right?

As a woman brought up in a first world country, I am well aware that I am privileged, but there is also no way for me to understand the measure of my privilege. I live in a country that is safe most of the time.

We don’t let impostors come in and have their way with us and when a few slip by, we take care of them swiftly. And by “we,” I mean whoever actually does take care of them. All that is to say, I am in my context, and I struggle to understand what it is like to live in a war zone as a civilian.

So I begin to picture me in camouflage, and I find myself in the center of a third world village. Bombs are going off all around me, but I am far from alone. There are men and women who are on my side, doing whatever they need to do.

But my gaze is on a five-year-old child, lost from her mother and dirty from ashes. Her face is numb. She is not scared anymore; she feels nothing. She is used to living in a war zone by now. She was drafted into war. She had no say and she is just a girl. Could I, a grown woman, combat for that child’s freedom?

Yes, I believe I could.

That must be “Mother God” in me. How often we forget that God is not just a Father; She is a Mother too, and She will protect her babies at all cost.

Could it be that I am beginning to see myself in the image of God? Could it be that I too am strong? Could it be that I am ready to pay the price for true gender equality? Could it be that I am ready to “warrior up” despite the costs?

My dear sisters, God is calling us to rise up. We are being drafted into combat. Some of us are called to choose to go into literal combat in the military. Some of us may very well be drafted into combat one day. But I am now speaking in spiritual terms.

No matter what your calling is – business woman, minister, worship leader, teacher, stay-at-home-mama, lawyer, doctor, chef, advocate, judge, farmer, broadcaster, writer, film director, photographer, event planner, CEO, or server. It doesn’t matter; it is time to rise up.

There is a cost for gender equality and the cost is facing our fears and taking responsibility even when it’s hard. We are more educated than we have ever been. We make more money than we have ever made.

We are big and we are strong and we are tough. We’ve got this.

We are soldiers, and the girls and women in this world who are living in physical and spiritual “war zones” are in desperate need for us to rise up and do some serious combat for the sake of gender justice.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” -Isaiah 6:8

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25 Comments

  • Women should know how to defend themselves whether they go into combat or not. But if a woman wants to go fight for the nation, have at it. I’ve no wish to get shot. God did not put that warrior spark in me.

  • I’m glad to hear your thoughts on this! I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time.

    I think practicality rather than idealism should govern whether women ought to be drafted for combat. Generally speaking, men ARE stronger than women. This shouldn’t stop physically strong women from joining the military, but it should give our country pause. If we start drafting women, I think we should uphold the same physical requirements for both men and women, and only select individuals who meet that criteria. There’s also the complication of how mixed-sex units do. I don’t think it’s discriminatory against women to acknowledge biological and sociological factors, especially when lives are at stake.

    If we do start drafting women, I hope that strengthens our military with people who WANT to be there — both men and women — and allows more men and women to opt out of combat roles for roles that suit who they are persons. Two of my brothers are in the military, and the two younger ones are interested. Nothing about the military appeals to me and my four sisters. This is not necessarily a commentary on whether women should be drafted, but about whether we should draft people who have no interest or aptitude for combat. For those women who are willing and able to fight for their country, kudos to them. I just hope we don’t start putting women into combat just because we want to draft women but instead choose qualified persons of either gender. This should be a matter of strengthening our military, not of making a social statement — not to say that there aren’t many qualified women in the military. There are, and I applaud them, and I don’t ever want to be in their shoes.

    • I totally agree with everything you said. This post is more so to demonstrate the spiritual side of things. I thought about writing a practical post, but this was a bit more engaging/motivating for all women…instead of just women called to combat.

  • I’m a woman serving in the Canadian military (thanks for the shout-out to Canada!) and we’ve had women in all combat positions since the 80’s (one of the few ways we’re ahead, lol). There are all kinds of studies that have shown the enormous benefit of having women in all kinds of positions, and they are often out-doing the guys in all sorts of ways that no one predicted. It’s the same with the church. We enrich the church by including those seen as weak. Even here in this post, there is an argument about women being physically weaker…the vast majority of positions are not dependent on your physical strength (although everyone should be able to do basic physical tasks). We tend to focus on why women “aren’t” suited instead of on what we bring to the table – just as churches do. I’m 5’4″, I pass the same fitness test as the guys (in Canada, same test regardless of gender) and I’m good at what I do. But don’t ask me to climb a mountain with 120lbs on my back…the war will be over by the time I get there. The church would be so much better off if it, too, embraced women in roles that are “too tough” or “only for men”. Until then, I’m relegated to baking cookies.

    • And as for a draft, I have no issue with drafting women alongside men. Comes with equality. I would hope drafting is never realized, though. However, look at Israel, which has mandatory service for both men and women, but shorter by one year for women (“childbearing offset”). I would assume that a draft would have some reasonable policy guidelines with it, such as drafting only one parent in a family, etc. In Canada, even if both parents serve, they can never deploy at the same time. Would be a sad world if it comes down to a draft, though. But I don’t believe women can demand equality in all areas of society…except for the unpleasant ones.

  • I’m glad you address this issue. I cringe at the thought of a draft for men. And I am even more troubled by the idea of a draft for women. Being egalitarian and feminist doesn’t mean that one cannot acknowledge physiological differences between men and women and live accordingly in practical ways. If a woman desires to love her country by serving in the armed forces, I am all for it given that military standards are not lowered and she can execute missions supremely. However to DEMAND that a woman enters the armed forces is very suspect, especially considering that our government leaders have been downsizing our military for years. I’ve been keeping up with various opinions on social media about this. It seems there is a sentiment of wanting REVENGE for feminism, and a draft for women is a perfect way to exercise misogyny. Just read any comment section on any given blog. You’ll quickly note many hateful statements about women’s rights and that’s what those women get! It seems that for some a desire for a mandatory women’s draft is really a vote not FOR women but AGAINST them in a sinister kind of way.

    • I fail to see how “physiological differences” has anything to do with it. Are there non-military careers that you believe should be closed to women on that same basis? How about firefighting? That’s extremely physically demanding. It’s as if a draft would put tiny women into jobs that they are physically unable to do. They also wouldn’t put a 5’0″ man into a job he couldn’t physically do. Drafts in previous years put people in jobs they were capable of doing. Examples of non-physically demanding jobs would be admin, technicians (of all kinds), logistics, engineering, legal, air traffic control, food services, etc. “Physiological differences” play no role here, and in some cases, women may be superior. Asking women to play an equal role as men is not misogyny. Asking men to do all the lifting and sacrifice is fair? Hardly.

      • Hi Leah (this name thing can be a little confusing.. lol) Anyway, I never said that any careers should be closed off to women. I simply tried to communicate that psychological differences between men and women should be taken into consideration in a discussion about a mandatory draft. I also stated my belief that if a woman is willing and able to serve she should have that freedom. I believe in that principle across the board be it firefighting, preaching, teaching, ect. With that being said, men and women are still different physically. I would hope that no woman would BE FORCED to fight front line hand to hand combat against men. I would hope that women would not BE FORCED to be in situations where physicaly altercations against enemy combatants was highly likely. This is what I meant when I said that psychological differences should be lived out accordingly in PRACTICAL WAYS. I realize that for many having a draft for men as well as women is a matter of full equality. I also realize from my own observations that FOR SOME, as I stated above, it is a way to exercise misogyny. You are free to do your own research and draw your own conclusions. By the way, I am not in favor of a draft at all. So I would say FORCING ANYONE to fight and possibly die fair? Hardly.

          • Thanks for the clarification. We both agree that drafts of themselves are awful, regardless of who is being drafted, and we also agree that if that should unfortunately happen, that draftees should be assigned to positions appropriate to their skills and capabilities. We have common ground. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  • Bailey, you said “I think we should uphold the same physical requirements for both men and women, and only select individuals who meet that criteria.” I agree with this completely…I knew a guy who was a paramedic and he had to carry a heavy man down stairs with a tiny female paramedic…it was dangerous for everyone concerned. There needs to be common sense practiced in any egalitarian situation. Where men and women are EQUALLY gifted they should be able to work together…it isn’t just a case of equal outcome, but equal gifting.

    Parker Cole…you are quite a jokester!…you might even get the enemy to back down and listen to you spin a tale or two! There is more than one way to skin a cat! (only kidding kitty!)

  • The guys are equally terrified — they do their duty anyway. Not all military positions rely on brute strength but some really do. We are trusting the military to match person to a doable job, and must watch to see how it works.

    One proposal: last two words of article replace “gender justice” with “the gospel”. Let’s remember which war we are fighting. Gender justice without gospel is not what I’m signed up for. Gospel without gender justice is another day of kingdom not yet fully come.

  • Hello to all,
    To me the draft has nothing to do with equality, capabilities, value and etc. I completely support women joining the military and being able to participate fully in battle if that is her choice. The issue here is about choice and injustice. It is unjust to take away a person’s right to choose what sacrifice they want to make with their own life and force any person to do what they do not want to do, especially to be a part of war. It is wrong to force a man to go to war. If the draft for men could be changed then it should.
    So why would we want to add to more injustice by taking away a women’s right to choose how she wants to live out her equality with men. The government should not be allowed to decide for me or any man that they are going to sacrifice my life for war.
    The draft for women is a backwards step for freedom, rights and equality. Do we want to go back to the times when women could not even decide to keep her kids, that a man could decide for her? We would not have thought it was right to make men lose their freedoms to make us equal during those times. We wanted good for both sexes. It is the same now. Just because men are required to be drafted does not mean we have to be equal in that injustice. We should be fighting for full equal justice of choice.
    It is all well and fine for some women to say they are willing to sacrifice their freedom for the “cause of equality” but
    that does not mean I should have to loose my freedom of choice for whether I want to pursue my dreams, my gifts and calling by God on my life if a war comes. Both men and women should be able to decide if we want to work, teach, parent or fight.
    I’m sorry but I do not believe it has anything to do with God’s will either. God does not enlist people in any war except the spiritual war. Even in that God has given me the choice if I want to fight our spiritual war. And it has nothing to do with thinking that men are stronger and they can handle it, and since they already have too so why shouldn’t I. I will not support more injustice against people,man or women. That is what this is about. Should we support woman’s freedom being taken away by requiring them to be drafted into war? Don’t make this about equality, it is not.

      • Yes absolutely, if we could get rid of the draft than we should. It takes away a person’s rights. The government should not be allowed to decide for a person that they should sacrifice their lives for a war. I should be the only person who gets decided whether I want to fight and kill another human being or whether I want to give my life for another.
        The draft is completely unjust.

  • I enjoy your blog, Jory. I’m British, and a lay minister who preaches and exercises a teaching role in my church. I’ve been egalitarian since I was 17 years old.

    For many years, I’ve said that the one thing I don’t envy men for is that they are the ones who throughout history have been called up for war. I still don’t envy them that. At all.

    I am against a military draft. I have no issue with the fine women who CHOOSE to serve their countries in a military role. I am in awe of the incredibly courageous women who served in the WW2 Resistance and often were caught by the Nazis, tortured and killed, without ever betraying their colleagues. These women are giants. I am not.

    This issue is complex, I know that. I’m not a pacifist, mainly because of WW2. Nation-states have the right to defend themselves against the aggression of other nation-states. I do understand national conscription during such a time as WW2, when we were fighting the Nazis. But you don’t have to be a pacifist to know that war will always be hideous and cause huge mental scars to the men and women who engage in it. Many men come back from war with PTSD. And we want to inflict this on women, too?

    I was struck by this:
    “A week or two ago I was watching women on TV in their late teens and early twenties answer questions about this very subject. They all said with certainty and without an ounce of fear in their tone, that they would have no problem being drafted for combat. They stated that this is the price for gender equality and that they were more than happy to pay it.”

    So these young women have never faced bombings, never shot anyone, never faced the reality of war, but the idea of being trained to kill fazes them not at all. I’ve no doubt that women can kill every bit as efficiently as men, since we can be just as ruthless as men. I don’t regard this as some great progress in feminism or in the human race, though.

    “If God, who is a good parent, enlists women for war on His enemy, why not a nation?”

    Whoa. The defence of a nation is necessary in a fallen world, and it isn’t wrong to resist an evil, racist regime. But co-opting God into our wars makes me very uneasy. And if my government had ever come looking to enlist me in the military against my will, I’d have had to practice civil disobedience and tell them “No way.”

    Is egalitarianism selling out to masculinism if the military draft for women is regarded as progress?

    I have no issue with your employing the language of SPIRITUAL warfare, in the latter part of your post. But I’m not a physical fighter, and nobody should force me to be one. Jael in Scripture is an impressive woman, but she’s not my role model.

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