28 October 2013

National Service Not For Women

Some male Singaporeans believe that female Singaporeans should be made to serve national service.

Should women serve NS?

The Case For NS For Women
Women want gender equality. There is no better way to achieve this than for women to serve NS.

Women should help defend Singapore:

▪ They are citizens.

▪ They account for about half the citizen population.

▪ They enjoy Singapore's peace and security provided by the SAF.

▪ The SAF is a citizen military force.

Women should be subjected to the same disadvantages that male NSF and NSmen suffer:

▪ Their careers are delayed by at least two years, possibly longer if they are not called up sufficiently early for full-time NS to enable them to read an overseas university course of studies shortly after their ORD — a not insignificant opportunity cost — because of NS.

▪ They are liable to be called up for reservist in-camp training. Many employers, especially the smaller companies, do not like the disruption that this entails.

▪ They have to pass annual IPPT. Otherwise, they have to undergo remedial training.
Singapore is not producing enough babies.
Women already serve in front-line combat roles in some armies, including the SAF.
Women conscripts can serve in non-combat roles in the SAF, thereby allowing men serving in such roles to be posted to combat duties.

The Case Against NS For Women
The SAF has adequate personnel for its needs.

NS in the future may not be the same as NS as we know it since its inception. There may be conflicts in which NS personnel (men and women) are deployed to the front line. Society in general and male soldiers in particular are not ready to accept female soldiers being:

▪ Killed or injured in battle.

▪ Held in captivity by enemy forces.

▪ Sexually assaulted or otherwise tortured by enemy forces.

Who will look after young children if both their parents are deployed to the front line in a war?

Women in general are shorter, lighter, and have less upper body strength and less aerobic ability than men, although there are some (possibly many) women who are taller, heavier, and have more upper body strength and greater aerobic ability than some men. The female skeletal system is less dense than the male skeletal system, and more prone to breaking. Applying different standards may compromise mission effectiveness.

Romantic relationships between male and female soldiers in a unit may undermine morale and combat effectiveness, especially if such relationships are adulterous.

Although women may be conscripted for non-military duties, that is not the raison d'être of NS.

How many men really want their mothers, sisters, wives, fiancées or daughters to be deployed to the front line in a war?
There is no compelling reason, nor is it desirable, to conscript women.


1. The author is a Singapore-born citizen who has completed his national service and reservist training obligations.

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