Swiss Defence Minister calls for women to be conscripted

Swiss Defence Minister calls for women to be conscripted

Speaking to reporters in the Swiss media, Defence Minister Viola Amherd confirmed that she wanted to include women in compulsory national service in the future. The government and army hope that by 2030, women will make up 10 percent of active troops.

Swiss women to attend army information days

Speaking to SRF, Amherd confirmed that the government will soon require women to attend the mandatory information day for joining the army and civil service. She argued that the change in the law is “certain” and that it would allow women to enquire about joining the army without losing their job or having to justify the move to their employers. "When women take part in the orientation day, they learn something about the interesting opportunities that the army offers," she added.

Currently, only male Swiss citizens have to do national service in the military or civil service - or pay a forfeit through increased taxes. Women are able to volunteer, but recent data from the Federal Council estimates that women only make up 1,4 percent of active personnel. This will come as a headache for Swiss Army chief Thomas Süssli, who has called for women to make up 10 percent of the military by 2030.

Defence Minister calls for women to be conscripted

While the mandatory introduction session may be a small step, Amherd laid out her intentions to go even further. She confirmed that at her own request, the government is now looking into making military and civil service mandatory for women citizens.

Speaking to SRF, Amherd argued that women will be willing combatants, as they will be paid exactly the same as men for their services. However, she added that more measures need to be taken to make military service more comfortable for women recruits through networking, equal facilities and military reform - 20 Minuten used the example that women are now able to operate all tanks and aircraft in the Swiss fleet.

The idea of women being conscripted is not new, with former Defence Minister Guy Parmelin also floating the idea in 2016. Amherd concluded that the plan will require a change in the constitution and an inevitable referendum, meaning a specific timeline for the reform will be hard to nail down.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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