Sweden’s military shoots down macho image

Sweden's military planners have set out policies to increase equality within the armed forces.

A strategy document submitted to the government on Friday by the Swedish Armed Forces, the National Service Administration (NSA) and the National Defence College called for gender and discrimination issues to be addressed at every level.

“If people don’t then it could lead to disciplinary measures. Not following these guildelines will not be acceptable,” said Björn Körlof, the director general of NSA.

The strategy document was produced at the request of the government, which has demanded an increase in equality and diversity within Sweden’s military authorities.

The goal is that everyone, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation should be welcomed equally. The authorities will come up with a checklist of controls which will be used in recruitment and when equipment and services are bought in.

“Sometimes perhaps it happens routinely according to Swedish norms without considering that perhaps that doesn’t suit everyone,” said Körlof.

Women who have done National Service can testify to that.

In the strategy document it is also emphasised that employment requirements for armed forces staff will be reviewed, with a focus on gender and discrimination issues.

The need for physical strength at the entry test is likely to be changed, which will give more women the opportunity to do National Service.

Multiple languages could also be considered a factor when selecting new recruits.

“Today it’s not a factor. But instead it could be seen as an asset for the military,” said Körlof.

TT/The Local