Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23

Thread: Conscription: Women, Conscientious Objection, and Social Welfare

  1. #1
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793

    Conscription: Women, Conscientious Objection, and Social Welfare

    I am interested in the coscription or the draft.

    - A vast majority of countries that have a conscription system call only men. Because it is practiced so worldwide, perhaps if won't violate the equality between sexes in the legal terms. Intuitively speaking, however, I feel that it is pretty old-fashioned and unfair. How would you feel if you were in such a situation yourself? I wouldn't want to go if my female counterparts are exempted.

    - I read that in Germany, civil services provided by the conscientious objectors plays such a significant role in the social welfare system that their contribution is considered by some ppl as one of the rationales for the conscription to continue. I think it understandable because it would cost really a lot if the society has to pay for that labor force. But it sounds like a bit twisted situation as well. I thought it really interesting and wonder if there would be any possible alternatives.

  2. #2
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Kenai, AK
    Posts
    18,654
    I don't find it sexist... I'm female and not being part of "the draft" is no skin off my nose. Not that I see the US calling one any time soon it's funny but I don't see the Women's movements calling for women to be included in thsoe types of things. Did they fight for that equality during Vietnam?

    I've only had one member of my family called to the draft (the others enlisted for the Korean and Vietnam wars), he's the one that came away with the most scars (and was also the one that got the worst rap when coming home for being one of the "bad guys" who murdered people... so he didn't draft dodge! big deal! blah!)

    touchy subject for me lol I'm proud of my uncle for standing up and going through it all even though he didn't want to. But I wouldn't want to be included in the war lottery. I'm not cut out for military life.

  3. #3
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793
    I wouldn't want to be, either, regardless of my sex. That's another thing.

    But seriously I can't really find any reason for why not women. If they include women, the eligible populations for conscription would dramatically increase. Then they may be able to shorten the lengths of the time for each person to serve.
    Last edited by Bennett; 12-18-2008 at 10:11 AM.

  4. #4
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,752
    Don't they include women in Israel? I think it's 3 years compulsory military service for men and 2 years for women.

    The situation in Germany is easy to understand: what you have to know that till a decade ago women were not allowed to serve in the armed forces. One woman sued Germany at a European Court and won - that opened the door for women. But like I said, that was just a decade ago, so give it some time - I think they will change the system at some time so that women will have some duties too.

    So there is stll compulsory military service for men here. Every man / boy gets a letter around his 18th birthday and has to undergo a physical examination at the Bundeswehr. After that, if he is suitable for military service, he has to decide if he wants to go to the military or if he wants to do some kind of alternative service. If he decides to do alternative service he has to apply for that in time and will have to work in a kindergarten, senior citizen's home or hospital for a year.

    If he wants to go to the military he has to do nothing, they will get him in time. They of course let you finish school, sometimes university. The major differences between the military and alternative service are: if you are in the military you earn more and you don't have to work as long as the ones who decided for alternative service. You can't be sent anywhere during the compulsory military service, they just teach you for half the time and have you work somewhere in the country for the other half.

    My dad was in the military, but he entered after completing his medical degree and they made him an officer right away. I think he stayed several years and after that was in the army reserve for two more decades.

    My brother recently decided to do the military service (what is it with the men in my family?) and will start right after finishing highschool. My mum is very scared that he decides to sign up for a few more years after the compulsory part, which would mean that he will go to Afghanistan for sure.

    Sometimes people in Germany question the system, but most criticism is rebuffed pretty quickly. And I don't even know why we have the compulsory military service and France, Britain and Spain e.g. don't have it. Large parts of the population just accept it as a "rite of passage".

  5. #5
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,127
    I believe they do include women in Israel.

    One thing about a compulsory draft versus a volunteer army. It definitely puts a curb military adventurism. It is when the entire country sees a risk to its children that anti-war activity comes into fashion.

    Yes, it is sexist to say one sex must risk their life, and one sex must not. However not? You can argue that such sexism is somehow justified till the cows come home, but you can't argue that's it's not sexism.

  6. #6
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Kenai, AK
    Posts
    18,654
    yes but no one screams it in the US because the women like the fact that they won't ever have to worry about 'forced service'

    I think it stems from the 'old thinking' that women are the child bearers so they need to be protected... otherwise reproduction is in jeopardy...

    that's just my feeling.

    Personally i'm thankful that in the US both men and women have the option to join or not... I just get tired of people whining when wars come up that they didn't sign up for that... um... what did you think military service was? It's not like war is something new. lol. if you're drafted that's one thing, signing up on your own is something else. (I'm not saying they can't complain about the war itself - should we or shouldn't we - but the whole "I didn't think I'd get sent anywhere" argument drives me batty)


    anyway back to the sexism - I think you can look at a flower and somehow find something sexist about it... if you're looking to be offended you will be.

  7. #7
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    While women are included in the draft in Israel, there are exceptions for women who are already moms (very reasonable, though it does raise questions about exemptions for dads); I am not sure if just being married is exemptable as well. Moreover, while everyone does boot camp, it is generally possible for women to get office posts for the remainder of their service - if they choose to do so; most of my Israeli friends say, essentially, if you're going to waste 2 years of your life here, you might as well do something really useful.

    While I am no fan of the draft, I do think that it has actually been very socially beneficial to Israel, as it has allowed people from disparate backgrounds (religious vs. secular, Ashkenazi vs. Sephardi, poor vs. rich etc.) to get to know each other. This has worked (to a point) because there have been practically no exemptions to the draft. What's more, the people who keep having problems with the mainstream Israel are often the ones who are actually exempted - mainly ultra-Orthodox Haredim, who've had an exemption since Ben Gurion needed their support for the new state of Israel, and to some extent the newly arrived immigrants from the former USSR who tend to find any loophole to avoid the draft.

  8. #8
    I should be studying!
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    431
    I personally grew up in a military town. The older people there (my parents' age and up) all know many men whose lives and family lives were severely disturbed by the mental status of returning soldiers. I also know several women (and their brothers) whose childhood was marked by victimization because of this. While it may not be popular to state this opinion, and maybe someone can help me restate this in a more PC way, I feel that a nation ought not require of its children that they be reared by two parents who have been subjected to the mental strain of war. If women were drafted in the US (particularly into combat roles, which is a goal of the feminist movement), the government would, in essence, be mandating that this occur.

    Toni, it is my understanding that the ERA would indeed permit women to be included in the draft, if not mandate that they be included. It is the reason I oppose the ERA so strongly. Yes, the feminists desire this.

  9. #9
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Staring at the ocean and smiling.
    Posts
    15,127
    Truly, I don't know many people, feminists or not, who want the draft back again. The current situation is that either men or women can volunteer, which is fair.


    In the day, those drafted were typically not married and did not have children. Being married and having children got you an exemption from the draft, which is why my dad was not drafted in World War II.

    So worrying about the children of people who if they were married would never be drafted in a draft we don't even have at this time is a really strange reason for wanting to be unable to do much about it legally if you are underpaid at work because you are a woman (you have 6 months to file only).

  10. #10
    I should be studying!
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    431
    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    In the day, those drafted were typically not married and did not have children. Being married and having children got you an exemption from the draft, which is why my dad was not drafted in World War II.
    Hmm, I was under the impression that my grandfather was drafted. He was married with two children at the time. This highly influenced my opinion and thinking. But you may be right.

    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    So worrying about the children of people who if they were married would never be drafted in a draft we don't even have at this time is a really strange reason for wanting to be unable to do much about it legally if you are underpaid at work because you are a woman (you have 6 months to file only).
    Perhaps my argument should be reserved for the topic of "why I'm against women in combat roles." Certainly, people with post-traumatic stress disorder can marry other people with the same condition after the war, then bear children. Limiting my "worrying" to children of people who were already married when drafted was not my intent. The ERA could be written with an exclusion statement against the draft. I'm not against equal pay for equal work, and support legislation towards that end.

  11. #11
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Watching the sunset
    Posts
    2,793
    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    .....The situation in Germany is easy to understand: what you have to know that till a decade ago women were not allowed to serve in the armed forces. One woman sued Germany at a European Court and won - that opened the door for women. But like I said, that was just a decade ago, so give it some time - I think they will change the system at some time so that women will have some duties too.
    Thank you for your insights. Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if they start recruiting women to follow the case of the professional military, should they continue the system.

    So there is stll compulsory military service for men here. Every man / boy gets a letter around his 18th birthday and has to undergo a physical examination at the Bundeswehr. After that, if he is suitable for military service, he has to decide if he wants to go to the military or if he wants to do some kind of alternative service. If he decides to do alternative service he has to apply for that in time and will have to work in a kindergarten, senior citizen's home or hospital for a year.

    ........
    Sometimes people in Germany question the system, but most criticism is rebuffed pretty quickly. And I don't even know why we have the compulsory military service and France, Britain and Spain e.g. don't have it. Large parts of the population just accept it as a "rite of passage".
    Thank you for your information and thoughts.

    I was reading the statistics presented here and thought it really interesting that only 15% of the eligible German males in 2005 served in military, 31% served in civilian / other alternative services, and others were exempted. So civilian / alternative services seem to be getting the majority among those who provide services.

    Given the large number of men serving for civilian or other alternative services, their societal functions / roles and impacts would be pretty significant. The civilian service may be more visible to people and more tangibly connected to the communities, which I think may enhance its perceived importance, in addition to the increasing number.

    On the other hand, the article mentions that German basic law does not allow conscription except for a defense purpose. So perhaps the civilian service has to take an "alternative" position to military service and cannot stand alone without the other.

    I initially thought of it as a twisted situation because the "alternative" is bigger at least by the number. As I think of it, however, I've come to feel that the military and civilian or other alternative services may be at least equivalent in a sense that young men offer their time to provide services (of different causes) for the nation, local communities, or sometimes foreign nations.

    If it's culturally established as a "rite of passage" (at least for men) and the society is tangibly benefitting from their services, I suspect that it may be hard to get rid of conscription.

    I am not knowledgeable on this matter, but am interested and would like to learn more. If you have any insights, I'd appreciate it.
    Last edited by Bennett; 12-19-2008 at 04:59 AM.

  12. #12
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Kenai, AK
    Posts
    18,654
    in a way I think the way Medusa describes it is quite similar to what Obama has proposed for the young adults here that everyone will have to give up so many years to do charity work for the country or what not. Thereby not giving the choice to the person but rather it's a 'rite of passage' and something you just 'have to do'. I don't agree with that any more than a draft for the military. The people that want to work and volunteer do a much better job than if you're 'forced' or 'obligated' to help. You begrudgingly accept the responsibility, but you very rarely learn something from it.

  13. #13
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    UK - Manchester
    Posts
    4,913
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    in a way I think the way Medusa describes it is quite similar to what Obama has proposed for the young adults here that everyone will have to give up so many years to do charity work for the country or what not. Thereby not giving the choice to the person but rather it's a 'rite of passage' and something you just 'have to do'. I don't agree with that any more than a draft for the military. The people that want to work and volunteer do a much better job than if you're 'forced' or 'obligated' to help. You begrudgingly accept the responsibility, but you very rarely learn something from it.
    Exactly. I'd feel pretty pissed off that on top of having to study and train for as long as i did to qualify into my career - i'd have another two years of poorly paid work to get through before i can evern start to earn real money and do a job i've chosen to? Especially if it concerned the military. I can't begin to explain the number of reasons why i'd be annoyed by that.

    Interstingly as a result of my Dual Nationality there was always the chance i'd be called to do Miltary service in Argentina. Thankfully a couple of years before my 18th birthday military service was scrapped so i was spared! Not that i was ever going to do it - my parents already knew that you can bribe an official in the embassy and dodge it! Though that was always a favourite threat if i was playing up as an early teenager - behave or we we'll let them call you for military service!

    Ant

  14. #14
    Shoe Diva
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Detroit, MI - So Glad to be Home!
    Posts
    2,834
    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    I don't find it sexist... I'm female and not being part of "the draft" is no skin off my nose. Not that I see the US calling one any time soon it's funny but I don't see the Women's movements calling for women to be included in thsoe types of things. Did they fight for that equality during Vietnam?
    I have two opinions on this - one serious and one that's simply my own female arrogance...

    1. Women were fighting for equality of their person and that can't be argued with - in this county, with the exceptuion of straight, Christian, white men - all groups have had to fight for their rights and if you need to fight for equal pay, the right to vote, fair treatment under the law, reproductive & sexual rights and the ability to control your own destiny then I'd say you've faught for this county already - at least its interigty. But that's just me.

    2. Women are too smart to draft - we'd cause a crisis for the military because we'd demand a better reason for the war than "its your duty to serve." But we'd be a fearsome thing to behold on the battle field...

  15. #15
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Kenai, AK
    Posts
    18,654
    ...I'm not fighting, I'm considered an equal in my job (yes I realize it's a seasonal position)... I'm respected by my peers of both genders.

    maybe it's not the nation that has problems but certain companies... pick and choose battles that don't involve me possibly being called up to war!

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •