Norway Becomes First NATO Country to Draft Women into Military

10% of Norway

From Reuters:  Norway’s parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to conscript women into its armed forces, becoming the first European and first NATO country to make military service compulsory for both genders.

"Rights and duties should be the same for all," said Labor lawmaker Laila Gustavsen, a supporter of the bill. "The armed forces need access to the best resources, regardless of gender, and right now mostly men are recruited. . . ."

Women already serve in the military, but do so of their own volition. They make up a tenth of the armed forces, according to the ministry of defense.

The change is not expected to force women to serve against their will but should help improve the gender balance.

All young people can be conscripted in theory, but since the end of the Cold War the Norwegian armed forces have become more selective in choosing conscripts as their needs have changed.

Those who do not want to serve can often find a reason, such as university studies, to avoid the draft. 

From Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide:  With an overwhelming majority in Parliament today, Norway becomes the first NATO country to introduce gender-neutral conscription.  (photo: Norwegian Ministry of Defense)

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