Yle’s poll: One-third of MPs believe conscription should be mandatory for women

Yle's poll: One-third of MPs believe conscription should be mandatory for women

According to Yle’s straw survey, about a third of the deputies who responded said they were in favor of conscription for women.

Out of 200 Finnish MPs, 113 answered the survey. Thirty of them said they were in favor of conscription for women, while 69 MPs opposed the idea.

Meanwhile, 14 MPs said they were unable to answer the question, and the remaining 87 MPs did not respond to the survey.

The debate over whether women should also be required to serve in the military resumed last autumn, and the debate on the subject has intensified since the Russian occupation of Ukraine in late February.

While Finnish MPs are also considering whether Finland should apply for NATO, concerns are being raised about the country’s military reserves and resources as discussions continue on how Finland could act in a crisis situation.

Last autumn, the cross-party committee proposed extending conscription to women, but not compulsory military service for Finnish men. It said general calls could help prevent social exclusion, as officials would reach everyone in a certain age group.

Women can currently serve as conscripts, but on a voluntary basis. Last year, a record number of women, 885, volunteered. The total number of female reservists in the country is currently about 11,000.

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Survey breakdown

Most of the MPs who opposed forcing women into the military came from the two largest opposition parties – the Basic Finns and the Coalition Party – and the Prime Minister. Sanna MarinSocial Democratic Party (SDP). They generally did not oppose conscription, but suggested that the current arrangement work well.

Member of Parliament for Basic Finns Lulu Ranne noted that the country could strengthen interest in military service through cooperation between schools and the military, suggesting, for example, visits to social studies and other classes.

NCP MP Kalle Jokinenalso in opposition, suggested that instead of military service, women could be required for national and defense preparedness training in crisis situations.

MP Anna Kontula The Left Alliance, one of the five governing parties, was also interested in seeing the development of women’s education or service. She also suggested that the system could be reformed, not just for women.

"Conscription should be replaced by an age-appropriate public service arrangement that could be performed by those willing to serve. It would be shorter in duration and take better account of work, study and family formation," he said.

A few other MPs also raised the issue of the role of women in starting a family.

Social Democrat Member of Parliament Eeva-Johanna Eloranta said women ‘s compulsory military service would further shorten women’ s careers.

MP Jouni Ovaska The center, another governing party, suggested that both men and women could be screened before going to university or work.

"Military service could also be combined with some form of defense training to learn about cyber security and hybrid attack preparedness," Ovaska said.

Government-led MP for the Greens Saara Hyrkkö said he was in favor of equality and a change in the system.

"I believe that a mandatory gender-sensitive national defense service would strengthen the sustainability and acceptability of the system in the future," Hyrkkö said.

The majority of MPs in favor of extending conscription to women, 23 of them, belonged to one of the five parties in the coalition government.

Meanwhile, seven MPs from the opposition party supported the change.

Meanwhile, 30 government-affiliated MPs opposed the change and 39 opposition parties opposed women’s conscription.

Source: The Nordic Page

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