Webinar on Women and the Draft

The Future of Selective Service

September 27, 2021   4:30 - 6:00 p.m. ET

Watch the youtube video here  https://youtu.be/bLs7gdA29Wo

Resistance to the draft was a major factor in the movement against the US war in Indochina as dramatized in the recent documentary film, "The Boys Who Said NO!".

The Senate Armed Services Committee has proposed amending the Selective Service law to require registration of women in addition to men.   There will be coverage about this issue in the media this fall and debates in both the House and Senate. 

Traditionalists oppose including women in the draft.  Peace activists see this as an opportunity to eliminate or suspend an entire dysfunctional system of required registration.  Others believe as long as Selective Service exists and is registering men, equal treatment of women in the military and society means they should also register.   Feminists who reject war and militarism as linked to patriarchy oppose inclusion of women in the draft.

Critics of an All Volunteer Force decry an economic draft that puts the burden of repeated military postings on a narrow sector of US society and encourages Congressional irresponsibility and public indifference to forever wars.  A less discussed approach so far is creation of universal national service offering both civilian and military paths.

Our webinar will provide insight from different perspectives about how to engage in a vital national debate.


As one of only 20 people to have been prosecuted for resistance to themilitary draft since the end of the U.S. war in Indochina, Edward Hasbrouck "served" 4 ½ months in a Federal prison camp in 1983-1984 for refusing to register with the Selective Service System. In 2019, he was the only draft resister invited to testify before the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. He is a member of the War Resisters League and the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild, and is active in movements for peace, human rights, and youth liberation. His web site https://hasbrouck.org/draft/ is the most comprehensive resource about the draft, draft registration, and draft resistance in the U.S. since 1980.

Robert Levering is an Executive Producer and Advisor to the Boys Who Said NO! a recently completed film about draft resistance during the Vietnam era. (boyswhosaidno.com)  He is currently working on a documentary entitled  The Movement and the Madman about the impact of the 1969 Moratorium and Mobilization demonstrations in preventing Nixon from escalating the war (movementandthemadman.com)  A draft resister himself, Robert was a full-time antiwar organizer for six years during the Vietnam War. A long-time journalist, he wrote an article on the current controversy about registering women for the draft: https://wagingnonviolence.org/2020/05/activists-fought-military-draft-conscription-congress-women-register/

Author/Activist Rivera Sun (CODEPINK) has written many books and novels, including The Dandelion Insurrection and the award-winning Ari Ara Series. She is the editor of Nonviolence News and serves on the Advisory Board of World Beyond War. Rivera is the program coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence and the Nonviolent Cities Project. Her articles on peace and nonviolence have appeared in journals nationwide. www.riverasun.com

Kara Dixon Vuic is the LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society in Twentieth-Century America at Texas Christian University and the author of The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines (Harvard University Press, 2019), which won the Tonous and Warda Johns Family Book Award from the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch.


Her first book, Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), won the Lavinia L. Dock Book Award from the American Association for the History of Nursing, was named a Book of the Year in History and Public Policy by the American Journal of Nursing, and was a finalist for the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award. 


She also edited The Routledge Handbook on Gender, War, and the U.S. Military (2017) and is co-editor (with Richard Fogarty) of the University of Nebraska Press’s book series “Studies in War, Society, and the Military.”  She co-edited the forthcoming collection Managing Sex in the U.S. Military (University of Nebraska Press) and is writing a new book called “Drafting Women.”


For the last fifteen years, Lawrence Wilkerson was the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  In December 2020 he retired from that position.  Before his professorship he was chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell at the U.S. Department of State.  He served 31 years in the US Army retiring with the rank of Colonel.  His final military assignments were Special Assistant to then-chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell and, later, Deputy Director and Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia.  Today he is a Senior Fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network, senior nonresident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and co-founder with Major General Dennis Laich (Ret)) of the All-Volunteer Force Forum.  

Moderator John McAuliff is the executive director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development and coordinator of the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee.  As a student at Carleton College, he organized support for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and participation in the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964.  After serving in the Peace Corps in Peru, he became the first President of the Committee of Returned Volunteers, leading its participation in the Vietnam anti-war movement, including the demonstration at the Chicago Democratic Convention.  He represented CRV in national anti-war coalitions and the U.S coalition at international conferences in Sweden.  For ten years he directed the Indochina Program in the Peace Education Division of the American Friends Service Committee, traveling on its behalf to Hanoi with a delegation from the Indochina Peace Campaign that arrived on April 30, 1975, the last day of the war.  In 1985 he founded the Fund for Reconciliation and Development to continue his AFSC work for normalization of relations with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  After that was accomplished in 2005, he refocused most of his work on a similar goal with Cuba.  He was "detained" at the March on the Pentagon and the Mayday civil disobedience action and while demonstrating against George Wallace during his Presidential campaign in New York. 


Debate on extending registration to women in the House Armed Services Committee:

Roll-call vote:


"Registering women for the draft wouldn’t be a big departure from the past" 

By Kara Dixon Vuic, Washington Post 

"Expanding the Military Draft Is Not Feminism. Abolishing Draft 

Registration Is." by Danaka Katovich    Truthout

"A Feminist Take on the Selective Service" (white paper by Women's Action 

for New Directions, formerly Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament):

"Women in Combat? Let’s Reframe the Debate"

by JERRY LEMBCKE in Ms. Magazine, 11/9/2015 

Testimony of Edward Hasbrouck to the National Commission on Military,
National, and Public Service (April 25, 2019):

Letter from anti-draft activists to the House Armed Services Committee
(March 11, 2021):


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