“What should I tell a young woman who says she feels pressure to go on a mission?” New Era, October 2016, 41
When President Thomas S. Monson announced that young men could serve at 18 years old and young women at 19, he reiterated that missionary service is a priesthood duty and encouraged all worthy and able young men to serve. He then said, “Many young women also serve, but they are not under the same mandate to serve as are the young men. We assure the young sisters of the Church, however, that they make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome their service” (“Welcome to Conference,” Oct. 2012 general conference).
If young women feel pressure to serve a mission, it’s not because of a Church policy or program that sets a new expectation for them to serve. Any person exerting this kind of pressure is not in harmony with what President Monson and other Church leaders have taught. The Church’s stance has been the same for a long time: young women are welcome to serve missions, but unlike young men, they are not expected to serve.