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“At the age of the population cliff, women should go to the military too” What do you think?

“Young women these days don’t have children, so why not enlist in the military?” “Women’s conscription? Are you trying to achieve a zero birth rate?”

Controversy over the female conscription system, which states that women must serve in the military, has reignited. The beginning was a debate held at the National Assembly on the 11th. People’s Power At the ‘Military Service System Development Forum in the Age of Population Cliff’ hosted by Rep. Shin Won-sik, the Military Manpower Administration, and Seongwoohoe (reserve officer meeting), several plans were presented to overcome the problem of lack of military service resources, one of which was female conscription. . At the debate at the time, Lee Han-ho, chairman of the Sungwoo Association, said, “In the past, women with a fertility rate of over 6 could not be conscripted, but now the fertility rate is only 0.78, so there is no reason why women cannot serve in the military. “We need to consider amending the Military Service Act to allow women to be drafted as well,” he said. When this remark became known, the Internet community, which is mainly used by young people, was infested. In the form of conflicts between men and women in some parts, the government said, “(Female conscription) is not being reviewed at all” (Ministry of Defense) “It is not the official position of the government and has not been reviewed” (Military Manpower Administration).

From ‘Solution to Discrimination against Men’ to ‘Discussion by Necessity’

The female conscription system began to emerge as a hot potato in our society in 1999 when the Constitutional Court ruled that the military bonus system was unconstitutional. Some men argued that “women should also be drafted.” After that, ‘Korean men must faithfully perform their military service duties. Several constitutional complaints have been filed alleging that Article 3, Paragraph 1 of the Military Service Act, which stipulates that women can serve by volunteering, violates the right to equality, but all of them have been ruled unconstitutional or rejected. During the Moon Jae-in administration, several national petitions were filed at the Blue House to the effect that a female conscription system should be introduced. The petition that came up in 2021 received the consent of about 290,000 people, and at the time, the Blue House replied, “It is an issue that needs to be decided carefully after sufficient public discussion, such as national consensus and social consensus.”

The demand for the introduction of the female conscription system in the past has usually emerged as a solution to discrimination against men, out of a sense of problem, ‘I (male) go to the military, why don’t you (female) go?’. This used to flow into an unproductive and emotional gender confrontation. But lately, things have changed. It is argued that a serious discussion on female conscription is needed to overcome the situation where the population decline leads to a sharp decrease in the number of troops. The Ministry of National Defense has estimated that the number of soldiers in 2040 will be only 150,000, half of the current level, under the assumption that the current fertility rate and service system are maintained. The Korea Institute for Defense Analysts predicted that the number of military personnel, which stood at 500,000 last year, would decrease to 400,000 in 2039 and 330,000 in 2043.

Experts unanimously agreed that female conscription is being discussed because the demographic cliff is serious. Noh Yang-gyu, director of the Sungwoohoe Security Strategy Research Institute, said, “There is a need for a fundamental discussion on the issue of ‘Is it best to recruit troops in the current way in the age of the population cliff? There was an opinion to do it.” Yang-wook, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said, “It is true that there is a great concern about a sharp decrease in the number of troops,” but also said, “(Female conscription) is currently an argument at the idea level.” Many experts point out that it is not realistic to introduce a full-scale female conscription system because it can cause great social conflict and that it costs a lot to set up facilities and management systems for gender-based military service. Director of the Military Manpower Administration Lee Ki-sik also said in a recent media interview, “Gender conflict (non-reconciliation) could become a bigger problem in our society.” Some argue that a female volunteer service system should be introduced that allows only women who wish to enlist as soldiers, or that women should also receive basic military education.

Taiwan female reserve soldiers during training on the 9th (local time). Amid rising military tensions with China, the Taiwanese military conducted a first-ever women reserve force training. / Reuters/Yonhap News

The pros and cons are tense… It also spreads to extreme conflicts

Despite the government’s official statement that it is not considering conscription of women, the controversy continues. In one internet community, more than 500 related articles were posted for a week after the 11th, and in one social media ( SNS ), the search term ‘female conscription’ dominated real-time trends for a while. They range from claims that the female conscription system should be introduced, to skepticism that it will be difficult to realize, to concerns that the discussion itself will lead to social conflict.

Those in favor cite the lack of enlistment resources as the biggest reason. “Even if unmanned fighter jets and combat robots are developed, the existence of soldiers will inevitably be essential for the next few decades,” said 26-year-old college student Jeong-mo, a reserve student. She sees no reason why women should not go to the military.” Lee Mo (22), a female college student, said, “I think we need to introduce a female conscription system in terms of gender equality, as well as replenishing the insufficient number of troops. Fighting will also disappear.” Mr. Kim (36), an office worker, said, “I believe that single-handedly conscripting males has created an enormous social conflict, and I expect that much of it will be resolved once the female conscription system is introduced.”

There is also a view that female conscription will contribute to aggravating the low birth rate. Mr. Lee (35), an office worker, said, “At a time when a national campaign to encourage women to have children starting in their 20s is not enough, if women’s military service is made compulsory, there will be more women who do not have children.” ) Improving troop efficiency and cutting-edge military power should be given priority.” A 27-year-old job seeker, Mr. Kim, said, “The proposal for the female conscription system stemmed from the victim mentality of some men.

According to the results of the poll, the pros and cons are tight. According to Gallup Korea in 2021, in response to the claim that women should also be drafted, 47% of respondents said ‘only men should be drafted’, and 46% said ‘both men and women should be drafted’. At the time, 47% of female respondents were in favor of female conscription, and 43% opposed (only male conscription). For men, 44% supported and 51% opposed.

However, in some Internet spaces, the female 안전놀이터conscription issue is becoming a kindling spark for conflicts between men and women. Again, in the female community, “Let’s go get the benefits of military school (military + vacation)” “I didn’t want to see men tremble because they served in the military, but that’s good”, etc. Posts such as “When we need to prove ‘ Girls can do anything ’ ” and “Since only men served in the military, now only women are truly equal.” Hatred and hostility toward the opposite sex were expressed through ridicule and sarcasm.

Park Jin-soo, a professor at Deoksung Women’s University, said, “Recently, in Korea, the political world is using the issue of female conscription as a way to reconcile gender conflict and capture the vote of men in their 20s and 30s, while at the same time, the opinions of those at the extreme end of both genders have been overrepresented. He said, “I believe that these two factors prevented constructive and productive discussions (about female conscription).” Professor Park said, “In the case of Sweden and Norway (which have already introduced the female conscription system), they went through a sufficient public debate process and reached a social consensus.” did.

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