Army moves to retain women who have served abroad

Swiss women being trained for the army’s peacekeeping contingent Swisscoy in Kosovo Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Swiss women who have been deployed in peace-building operations abroad without having completed recruit school should be able to join the militia army directly. The army has launched a project to this end.

This content was published on February 15, 2021 - 12:48

Eleven of the 28 women participating in the Swiss army’s peacekeeping contingents, Swisscoy in Kosovo and Eufor in Bosnia, have applied for direct integration into the army as part of this project.

The aim is to increase the proportion of women in the army and to retain their knowledge and skills, according to an army statementExternal link on Monday. Under current regulations they cannot be assigned directly to the militia army after deployment abroad.

These women are recruited for six-month appointments with contingents abroad and undergo three months of basic and specialised military training. “After nine months they have military skills and are used to operating in a military environment. However, they are not assigned to the militia army and their potential is lost to the military,” the army said.

The different phases of training during these engagements are comparable to those of the recruit school in terms of content, objective and intensity, according to an army analysis. The two basic training courses are therefore equivalent.

“The recognition of this equivalence in training is intended to enable female members of the contingent to be assigned to the militia army directly and on a voluntary basis,” the statement said.

All able-bodied Swiss men are called up to do military service from the age of 19. If declared fit for military service - as on average two-thirds of conscripts are –-the only way out is to opt for civilian community service on ethical grounds. Military service is optional for women.

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