Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

Swiss Army female recruitment stagnates

SUMMARY: High ranking defence officials in the Swiss Army have supported recruiting more women, however, the fact is that only 0.6% of Switzerland’s militia army are women. Further to the point, there is very little interest from women to join the army. Women have been able to serve in the Swiss Army since 1995, and all roles have been open to them since 2004. Since the Norwegian Army recently announced it would start conscripting women in 2015, this may be a viable recruitment strategy for Switzerland. Sibilla Bondolfi wrote her law school dissertation on conscription of women and says, “it is quite remarkable that no one has really seriously taken it on, neither on a political nor a legal level, although it’s quite clear that there is a legal inequality taking place between the genders.” However as Tibor Szviercsev Tresch a military sociologist at the Swiss Federal Technology Institute ETH Zurich, says, “Conscription for women doesn’t have much of a chance” as support has been around 30% for a long time in Switzerland. Furthermore, the two armed forces are quite different with the Norwegian Army having 10% female forces, while the Swiss Army has less than 1%. It seems doubtful that conscription will be the way to recruit more women in the Swiss Army.

SOURCE: Swiss Info, April 24 2015, ‘Calls for women’s army service fall on deaf ears,’ Swiss Info,

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