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Voluntary military service for women in Finland - Embassy of Finland, Athens : Current Affairs


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News, 6/16/2017

Voluntary military service for women in Finland

Women are allowed to serve voluntarily in Finnish army. Since 1995 and during Elisabeth Rehn's term as a first woman Defence Minister of Finland, a law on voluntary female enlistment was enacted.

Elisabeth Rehn

Before 1995 women could not join the army. While service is not compulsory for women, some of them decide to enlist. Requirements for women to join the army includes Finnish citizenship, being at least 18 and not more than 29 years of age, physical fitness and having a strong personal drive to fulfill military training. Notice that women go through the same training as male conscripts.

Women’s military service is implemented by all arms of the Finnish army, which means that volunteers can take charge of any duties in any parts of the Finnish army as any other servicemen (men) do such as being a pilot, a diver or a paratrooper and so on.

Vala © Puolustusvoimat

Some tasks require special features and performance requirements and they are accurately defined for men and women so that any gender can take part in any activities in the army.

After a successful training, women are transferred to a reserve, and then called for a refresher training stage which is the same basis for men as well.

There have been two women Defence Ministers in Finland. In 1990, Elisabeth Rehn became the first woman Defence Minister of Finland serving until 1995. Elisabeth Rehn is also known for her international assignments as UN Undersecretary General (1995 - 1999) and as the special rapporteur for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1998-1999). The second Defence Minister was Anneli Taina, 1995-1999.

Read how a Finnish woman tells about her experiences in the army

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Updated 6/16/2017

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