As Switzerland ponders compulsory female military conscription, more women are volunteering for service in the armed forces.
The number of new female recruits has virtually doubled in the last two years. The SonntagsBlick newspaper reports that a record 250 women volunteered for service last year, up 35% from the previous year and practically double the 2015 numbers.
“Interest in security issues among women has increased with the crises in Europe, in particular Ukraine,” Tibor Szvircsev Tresch, head of military sociology at the Zurich’s Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), told the newspaper.
Switzerland’s militia armed forces system obliges most men to undertake basic military training at the age of 18 and then attend regular refresher courses. Military service is voluntary for women and there are more than 1,000 currently serving, with more than half going on to complete officer training.
But the proportion of women in the Swiss armed forces lies at only 0.7%, way behind Germany (12%) and Sweden (18%).
The authorities announced last summer that they are considering female conscription along the lines of the Norwegian model. Swiss cantons also plan to make an annual army information day mandatory for women as well as men by 2020 in a bid to attract more female recruits.
swissinfo.ch/mga with agencies