Female officers serving at the military base in Rena told the head of the Estonian Ministry of Defense about the gender-neutral service in Norway and changes in public attitudes over the last decade, which led to the introduction of compulsory military service for women.
The defense minister said that the consistent and coherent actions of Norway over the past three decades to achieve equality in the integration of women in military national defense are noteworthy.
According to the minister, the creation of equal opportunities for women to participate in national defense deserves the most extensive discussion in Estonia as well.
The minister said that currently there is no reason to discuss the transition to compulsory recruitment of women in Estonia like there is in Norway. But the role of women in Estonia’s national defense should grow.
Norway has become the first European country to extend mandatory military service to females.
The corresponding law was passed in 2014, with the majority of Norwegian MPs voting in favor of gender equality in the army.
Men and women are expected to fulfill the same tasks during their service and sleep in common barracks. According to the country's authorities, reforms in the military service is an important contribution not only to national defense, but also to the principle of gender equality.
Earlier this month, the Swedish Armed Forces released a manual aimed at teaching personnel from a gender-neutral perspective.
The goal of the new 100-page handbook is to promote equality in the army through imposing a gender perspective in military operations.
The focus on gender issues should place Sweden's armed forces at the forefront of equality in defense work. Sweden is expected to become a role model in international operations. The focus has been placed on, among other things, preventing and stopping sexual violence and harassment in the army.