1980 February 8

President Carter Recommends Women Register for Draft


As national security tensions rose dramatically as a result of the Iran Hostage Crisis (the seizure of 52 American by Islamic militants in Tehran in late 1979), President Jimmy Carter reinstituted registration for the draft (which had been eliminated with the adoption of the all-volunteer Army). In a dramatic departure from tradition, however, he recommended that women be required to register for the draft. Although he did not recommend that they serve in the military on a fully equal basis, it was a historic first step in the direction of equal treatment of women in the military. Carter called only for the resumption of draft registration for males, not the resumption of a draft itself. Congress did not adopt his recommendation regarding women, however.

Among women who enlisted in the armed services, the Pentagon finally allowed women to serve in combat units on January 24, 2013.

President Carter: “. . . Women are now providing all types of skills in every profession. The military should be no exception.”

Read Carter’s Speechhttp://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=32906

Learn more: Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, A Few Good Women: America’s Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2010)

Learn more about President Carter’s civil liberties record: Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties From Wilson to Obama (2012)

Learn more about Carter’s post-presidential work at the Carter Center: http://www.cartercenter.org/index.html

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