Swiss army seeks to recruit more women

Women represent 1.4% of the Swiss armed forces. Keystone / Peter Schneider

The Swiss army says it is exploring various measures to fill the shortfall in armed forces available over the long-term. This includes recruiting more women.

This content was published on October 13, 2022 minutes

In the first part of a studyExternal link that looks at staffing in the Swiss army, the government said that it is considering compulsory military service for women. As a first step, it plans to require Swiss women to attend the information day preceding recruitment.

The army has already taken steps to recruit more women, which are bearing fruit. The number of women in the army increased by 18.5% in one year to 1,778. Women now represent about 1.4% of the armed forces.

According to the 2022 census report, there are around 151,000 soldiers in the army, which is above the 140,000 men and women required. However, this will no longer be the case by 2030 because the length of military service will decrease.

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.

Military service includes basic training for 18 weeks and then refresher courses over the next nine years.

The government expects to make a decision about measures to boost the armed forces by 2024.

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