Conscription is the act of requiring citizens and others resident in a nation to serve in the armed forces of that nation. Some nations with conscription allow for an alternative period of mandatory service outside of the military for conscientious objectors and others.

Reserves are a force of trained soldiers who do not serve in the armed forces full-time. Individuals in the reserves, reservists, are available to be called up to serve in the armed forces either as part of a regular rotation or in a national crisis. Reservists may be former conscripts or volunteers that may or may not have served previously in the armed forces full-time. Former conscripts often have to serve a mandatory period in the reserves. Statements made about conscription in the remainder of this document also apply to any mandatory periods of reserve duty that follow conscription.

A professional army is the term normally used for a national military that does not rely on conscription. All individuals who serve in the armed forces have chosen to do so. The term does not imply that conscripts don’t act professionally but rather comes from the fact that professional soldiers often view the army as a career in which they intend to advance during their service.

A citizen army is the term used for a national military that relies heavily on conscription. The term also tends to imply widespread support for conscription among the citizenry of the country and high levels of morale during mandatory service. Israel, in particular, is often characterised as having a citizen army.

Since the 1970s Western nations have generally favoured maintaining professional armies. Due to changing geo-political realities some Western nations have reintroduced conscription in the 2020s and others are considering doing so.

Historically conscription of men was much more common than conscription of women, and this trend continues to the present day.

It is a matter for a sovereign state whether it institutes conscription or not.

If conscription is required the country should conscript able-bodied adults on the same terms regardless of gender.

It is notable that most military roles are not combat roles. Conscripting women on the same terms as men does not itself mean that women will be put in to combat. Arguments against women in combat are not arguments against the conscription of women.

At the present time few nations conscript women and fewer still conscript them on the same terms as men. In nations that do conscript women they generally serve a shorter period of mandatory service, have more exemptions, and cannot be forced in to combat against their will. Many nations also require former-conscript women to spend a shorter period in mandatory reserve duty, often again with many more exemptions.

A Voice for Men calls on all nations that have conscription to conscript women on the same terms as men.

A Voice for Men calls on all nations with mandatory reserves to require women to fulfil reserve duty on the same terms as men.

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