Conscription of men in the U.S., or at least registering for it as happens today, is nothing new. Men were required to be in state militias during colonial days. Drafting of men who were not associated with a militia started during the Civil War. Conscription was used in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Eventually the draft ended, although registration would begin again shortly after.
But one thing common to all of these was that men were the subject of the draft. That may change. Although extending registration and any potential draft to women may not be an official Obama administration position, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Staff for the Army have testified before Congress that they think women should register. And last fall Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that all military roles would be open to women so long as they could meet standards and that registration with Selective Service “may” be necessary.
There are many more women than even today who might find the military to be an attractive part of their career. But there is a problem for those who eventually will be in the private sector. Workplace inequality still leaves women making 83 percent of what men earn, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is despite 35 percent of women having college educations, compared to 32 percent of men.
Education is one of the most important factors when it comes to earnings. The greater the level of education, the higher the median wage people enjoyed and the lower the unemployment rate. To get ahead at all most likely requires better education.
And yet, people typically enter the military when younger, in part because of the age restrictions on enlistment. Depending on the branch, the top age ranges from 27 (Air Force) to 39 (Coast Guard). Chances are that someone will join around the age they’re most likely to advance into post-secondary education.
That means women in the military will face a dual problem. Even though military service can provide significant chances to learn and develop personally, that isn’t the same as a college degree. And as women are already at a disadvantage in the labor market, the combination is even more damaging.
Women in the military, whether potentially drafted in the future or volunteer members today, must think about the day they muster out and have to establish a career. Pursuing higher education, perhaps in an online program that provides flexibility in courses and gaining a degree, is a smart move, and a smart investment.
American Sentinel University is proud to have been named as a “Military Friendly School” for the ninth consecutive year. This distinction puts American Sentinel in the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide that do the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation. Learn more about our military friendly education programs and distance learning courses.