Sexual harassment is a universal problem for armies in almost every country. The US Department of Defense estimates there are approximately 19,000 sexual assaults in the military every year. While the situation in the US comes across adversity, the Norwegian army is experimenting to solve the problem in a bold way. Instead of separating men and women, they go for the opposite-put them in one single room. Yes, this is exactly what they are doing.
While some might be skeptical about the effect of this move and privacy issues followed, the feedback from the women seems quite positive. Female soldiers stated sharing room makes them feel “one of the boys”, according to Ulla-Britt Lilleaas in her report “The Army: The Vanguard, Rear Guard and Battlefield of Equality.” They enter a “common mode where gender stereotypes had disappeared, or at least they were less obvious,” reported Lilleaas, according to the Local.
“You have to be a team here, and then you have to live together in order to be able to trust in one another,” one of the women told the Local.
It is not known yet whether this method works in other militaries, as the Norwegian military has an atmosphere for experiments for quite a long time already. They decided last year that one day a week the military will have only vegetarian food to help the climate and also that male soldiers gain the same rights as the female to grow their hair long if they keep it in pony-tail or braids.