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In her very first argument in court — 21 years before taking her place as the second woman on the U.S. Supreme Court — Ruth Bader Ginsburg blazed trails. She turned conventional wisdom inside out by arguing that it was unfair to deny a single man the ability to deduct on his taxes the cost of a caregiver for his invalid, dependent mother simply because he’d never married. A single woman in the same situation was entitled to that tax break.

Ginsburg simply and eloquently stated that discrimination in all forms based on gender is not what we seek. Thanks to her efforts to adjust norms, laws, and prevailing perspectives, we can more easily grasp the idea of equal rights among men and women today.

Equalizing the draft

Now we’ve taken another major step toward that goal. Members of a congressionally chartered commission recently recommended to the Senate Armed Services Committee that women, like men, should be subject to registration with the Selective Service System. Wow.

As now written, the related law refers specifically to “male persons” as those who must register and would be called, if a military draft returns. Congress will have to amend that law if women are required to register with Selective Service — a move that now seems a possibility.

“When nearly 70% of 17- to 24-year-olds will fail to meet initial military ascension standards, we cannot afford to exclude half the population, the female half, from the potential pool of inductees,” Joseph Heck, chairman, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, told the committee.

Strengthening national security

Mr. Heck’s perspective resonates with the idea that 100% of America’s skill, talent, and wisdom is needed to make our nation stronger and increase opportunity for all.

“Expanding draft eligibility to women is, therefore, an issue of standards, not gender,” Mr. Heck told the committee. “Expansion will strengthen U.S. national security and mitigate the risks imposed by an unforeseen future. It will enable the military to access the most qualified individuals regardless of sex to fulfill the variety of positions necessary to respond to an ever- changing threat environment and provide all Americans an opportunity to meet their civic obligations.”

That’s very similar to the thinking behind the concept of #5050X2028: roughly half women and half men working together at the table in all elected offices nationwide by 2028. Leverage the power of all of us, to represent all of us, for the benefit of all of us.

Moving boldly forward

The U.S. military has been all-volunteer since 1973. But an Act of Congress can still reinstate the draft in a national emergency. Should that happen, the report from the National Commission, “Inspired to Serve,” leaves no doubt about the need for all of us to be part of the way forward.

“Our recommendations offer a revolutionary and inclusive approach to service for Americans,” the report says. ”Incremental changes and small improvements are not sufficient to cultivate a culture of service. Bold action is required.”

WCF agrees that incremental changes and small improvements are not enough to solve the need for all of us to be represented in elected office, putting the power of all of us to work for all of us. #5050x2028. Sign us up.

©2021 Women’s Campaign Fund

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