This week, the Swiss Officers’ Society, a military association, announced that it was in favour of extending compulsory military service to both men and women, according to 20 Minutes.
The association submitted a report, which included the recommendation to include compulsory service to women to Viola Amherd, Switzerland’s minister in charge of defense.
Society president Stefan Holenstein, told the newspaper NZZ that it was time that both sexes had the same rights and obligations in the military sphere. The association also said that it recognises that the Swiss military needs to adapt to better accommodate female personnel.
Military service is currently only compulsory for young Swiss men deemed fit enough for service. Men that don’t qualify or object typically end up undertaking replacement civil service and paying an additional tax on their income.
Service is optional for women and few sign up. Currently, women make up 0.9% of Swiss troops. Defense minister Viola Amherd, has announced an objective to increase this percentage to 10%.
Over the years, Switzerland’s military has increasingly struggled to recruit sufficient able-bodied men to meet the required level of personnel. Making service compulsory for women could help make up numbers.
Making military service compulsory for young women would require a change to the constitution, which could be changed via a successful referendum.
A recent poll run by ETHZ University found that 67% of those surveyed would vote in favour of extending compulsory military service to young women.