In Switzerland, all able bodied male citizens are required by law to serve in Switzerland’s military. For Swiss women there is currently no such obligation.
A recently published defence ministry report outlines measures to encourage the integration of more women in the Swiss army, who currently make up only 0.9% of Switzerland’s military personnel.
Thomas Süssli, the head of Switzerland’s army has said he wants to increase the percentage of women in the military to 10% by 2030. He has also said that he believes women bring fresh ways of thinking.
A working group has been set up to look at the matter. The new department will look at making military service more compatible with work and family life, in particular part time work and childcare. It will also look at how to better deal with cases of discrimination, sexism and violence. Military accommodation will also be looked at and adapted to the needs of women.
Originally, there were plans to hold an army International Women’s Day. celebration. However, due to Covid-19, the celebration was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021.
One of the reasons there are so few women in Switzerland’s military is that unlike Swiss men, Swiss women are not conscripted. Some have pointed to the Norwegian example as a possible model for Switzerland. In 2013, Norway’s parliament voted to extend conscription to women, something that came into effect in 2015. The first class entered military service in the summer of 2016. The move was prompted by a need to increase the military’s recruitment pool and to promote gender equality.