Norway Discusses Compulsory Military Service for Women

It is often said that the military is a masculine organization. Is this correct? What characterizes such a masculinity? How does it affect the organization and recruitment of increased diversity?

These were the questions that were highlighted when the Ministry of Defence invited scientists and business leaders for a research seminar with special focus on masculinity on 11 June.

Minister Espen Barth Eide began his peech with an emphasis on diversity in skills and attitude perspective. He emphasized how the wide range of military tasks now challenge traditional military equality and unity of thought.

– There is no homogeneity required, but inequality and complementary expertise. We must go from brotherhood to the team, he said.

Furthermore, he expressed gender and diversity are central themes in military development, and gender issue must be revised according to military’s future needs.

Gender Equality is not About Veiling and Integration

The keynote speaker for the day was Professor Michael Kimmel, University of New York, an internationally distinguished scientist. His post was partly based on separate studies of gender in the U.S. armed forces, where he was consulted as an expert in a trial on women’s access to military educational institutions.

– Integration of both sexes is the only way to normalize the view of both women and men, and to create favorable conditions for a more positive cultural development. He also nuanced concepts like equality and gender equality. Equality must be more seen as respect for and integration of inequality, than an assimilation and veiling. Women and men are both equal and different, and the goal is not the focus or blurring of differences, nor a masculinisation of women, he said.

Finally, the other presenters in military sociology research went forward especially in the Norwegian armed forces within the topic of gender and diversity.

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