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Women on duty Will the army become compulsory for everyone?

A new study on improvements to the army suggests opening conscription to women. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) 

Experts evaluating the challenges facing the Swiss conscription system after 2030 have suggested considering universal compulsory service. This could potentially include service in the army for women and for foreigners living in Switzerland.

The study, released by the government on Thursday, looked at potential changes which could be made to take advantage of the needs of Swiss society and the skills of its citizens – or long-term residents.

Including foreigners in the system could be a way to foster their integration, according to the report. And including women would be a step toward gender equality. The study authors proposed offering a broad range of options for service which could be performed over a period of 12 years. The type of service would be flexible.

According to current law, contained in article 59 of the Swiss constitution, Swiss men who are fit for military service are required to serve in the army. Conscientious objectors are allowed to perform civil service instead. Men who are not fit for service have to pay an exemption tax. And men who are ‘significantly impeded’ are exempt from the tax. There is no service requirement for women, although serving is possible.

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