More women sign up for Sweden’s military

An increasing number of women are joining Sweden's military, with aspiring female soldiers now accounting for 20 percent of new basic training recruits.

More women sign up for Sweden's military

In 2011, the year Sweden moved from mandatory conscription to an all-volunteer force, 14 percent of recruits for basic military training (grundläggande militära utbildningen – GMU) were women, the Arbetarbladet newspaper reported.

The move to 20 percent represents a significant shift from the era when military service was mandatory for men and the number of women who volunteered was only five percent.

IN PICTURES: Swedish women in the armed forces – from Afghanistan to submarines

Mathilda Spaton-Goppers, a 20-year-old Stockholm native at the start of basic training in Gävle in eastern Sweden, cited curiosity and a thirst for experience as motivating factors behind her decision to sign up for the military.

“I want to find out for myself and develop my own understanding of whether Sweden needs a military,” she told the newspaper. “It’s pretty male-dominated. As a woman, and as a feminist it’s going to be very interesting.”

Sweden’s basic training lasts three months and was first offered in 2011. The courses held in various locations across the country, with the Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) holding recruiting drives three or four times per year.

Candidates are admitted after first taking a web-based survey that assesses their suitability and then going through a more thorough admissions test.

Those who complete basic training are then eligible to be employed by the military as either soldiers or sailors. Completing basic training allows new soldiers to continue onto officer training programmes or take a tour of duty with the home guard.

According to figures from the Armed Forces, 20,529 people, 2,822 of whom were women, applied for basic training in 2011. So far this year, a total of 33,146 people have applied, including 6,551 women.

TT/The Local/dl

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Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.