Switzerland: Women to be obliged to attend military "information day"

Swiss soldier holding weapon

Young women in Switzerland may be obliged to attend an 'information day' about military service from 2020, according to Swiss media. The move comes as part of the Swiss military's plans to encourage more young people to join the army.

In Switzerland, military or civil service is compulsory for all able Swiss men over 18. In cases where they are excluded due to health reasons, or refuse to serve, men are obliged to pay an exemption tax (which is 3% of their income). The length of military service depends on rank, with a minimum number of 260 days for the lowest rank. According to current law, women can sign up however this is not legally required and few do.

The process starts with an information day, which must be attended by Swiss men when they are 18. The current plan proposes making the 'information day' compulsory for women too, who may attend voluntarily at the moment.

Aiming to encourage more women to join the army, the proposal also raises concerns whether this is the first step towards making military service compulsory for women in Switzerland. It comes in accordance with a government report from last year, proposing extending military service for women and foreigners living in Switzerland to tackle with the challenges the Swiss conscription system would face after 2030. In addition, army commander Daniel Baumgartner revealed his intentions to increase the number of women in the army in an interview in February this year.

Source: The Local, Switzerland takes step closer to military conscription for women, 23 May 2017; Le News, Could compulsory military service be extended to Swiss women?,30 May 2017; SWI Swissinfo.ch, Report proposes army service for women and foreigners, 7 July, 2016.

Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

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