Switzerland takes step closer to military conscription for women
Young Swiss women will be obliged to attend an ‘information day’ about military service from 2020 in order to encourage more to join the army, according to reports.
Currently military or civil service is compulsory for all Swiss men over 18, who must pay an exemption tax if they are excluded due to health reasons or refuse to serve.
It is not compulsory for women, but they may choose to volunteer.
Last year only around 65 women out of 7,600 recruits began their service.
In February this year army commander Daniel Baumgartner said in an interview that he wanted to increase the number of women in the army because they “think and act differently” which would be “good for the army”.
Now the army is taking a step in that direction by making all women of military service age attend a compulsory ‘information day’ about the army, as of 2020, according to a report in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
Currently the day is only obligatory for men, who risk a fine if they don’t show up.
“We want to attract more women for military service, civil service, civil protection and the Red Cross. Therefore it won’t only be boys who are obliged to attend this information day,” Alexander Krethlow, general secretary of a governmental military body told the paper.
Kathrin Bertschy, vice-president of feminist umbrella group Alliance F, welcomed the move, saying the principle of military service should apply to all.
But not everyone sees the point of the information day.
Speaking to the paper Socialist MP Edith Graf-Litscher said it was pointless to force women who have no interest in the army to attend the event. The military would have more luck persuading girls to join the army if it held information events at their schools or training institutions, she said.