Major week for Norway’s women / News / The Foreigner

Major week for Norway’s women. Two notable events join the centenary year since women first received full voting rights in Norway. The Norwegian Parliament voted to adopt conscription for women as well as men, Friday. Following what Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen called “an historic day for our armed forces”, MPs’ decision now makes Norway the only European country to have this gender-neutral military policy.

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Major week for Norway’s women

Published on Monday, 17th June, 2013 at 13:17 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 17th June 2013 at 13:33.

Two notable events join the centenary year since women first received full voting rights in Norway.

Women camp 2012 participants,
Women camp 2012 participants,
Photo: Ole Gunnar Henriksen Nordli/FMS


The Norwegian Parliament voted to adopt conscription for women as well as men, Friday.

Following what Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen called “an historic day for our armed forces”, MPs’ decision now makes Norway the only European country to have this gender-neutral military policy.

“Male-only conscription is out of synch with the rest of society. All citizens shall have the same rights and obligations, regardless of sex,” said the Minister in a statement.

According to her, the move is also aimed at securing diversity and Norway’s operational capabilities in the future.

The Minister underlines that the conscription is not obligatory, unlike for Norway’s males, however. Between 8,000 and 10,000 conscripts are needed on an annual basis out 60,000 appropriately-aged persons.

Compulsory first-time service is for people between 18 and 28, with an age-limit of 25 if not previously called in. The training normally lasts for 12 months.

19 months is the total service time, which includes both first-time service and service that takes place in the conscription period (additional training, education, exercises etc.)

Over half of those who have completed this initial phase are then called in to serve in the Home Guard.

Duties are to support civil society, the various military branches, as well as the total defence force in times of peace, crisis, and war.

Generally, compulsory conscription applies to people aged between 19 and 44 – or up to 55 for officers. As a general rule, only about one third of eligible conscripts are called in.

“We do not adopt conscription for women because we need more soldiers, but because we need the best, no matter who they may be,” declared Minister Strøm-Erichsen. “High-tech equipment alone does not make for a modern military; we also need a modern and diverse organisation with different people, skills and perspectives.”

Officials’ aim is to increase today’s nine per cent share of women in the armed forces to 20 per cent by 2020.

Norway's Sonia Henie
Norway's Sonia Henie
German Federal Archives/Wikipedia C.
Friday also saw the opening of an exhibition about female sports heroes at the Norwegian Olympic Museum in Lillehammer.

The exhibition, named ‘Til tross for’ (‘Despite that’) tells eleven pioneering women’s stories who have succeeded in various sports despite the conditions they had to compete under. Five Norwegian and six foreign women are featured.

The Norwegians comprise figure skater Sonja Henie (b. 1912, Christiania), a three-time Olympic and ten-time World, and six-time European Champion. She died on a plane journey between Paris and Oslo in 1969.

Laila Schou Nilsen, a speed skater, alpine skier, and tennis player won Gold speed skating World All-rounds in 1937 and 1938, with Gold Norwegian All-rounds in 1935, 1937, 1939, and 1940. She claimed Silver at this sport in 1934, 1938, and 1939.

The other female Norwegian athletes featured are runner Grete Waitz, who died in April 2011 after losing her six-year-battle against cancer, former cross-country skier Ingrid Wigernæs, former footballer Linda Medalen, and ski-jumper Annette Sagen.

Madge Syers (figure skater, UK), US athlete and Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph, and Heidi Krieger – a former German shot putter who underwent so-termed sex reassignment surgery, changing name to Andreas – are three of the foreign athletes represented at the exhibition.

Francina “Fanny” Elsje Blankers-Koen (the Netherlands) – best-know for winning four Gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London – and Saudi judo competitor Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani are the remaining two women featured.

The exhibition lasts all summer. Opening hours and visitor information can be found here.




Published on Monday, 17th June, 2013 at 13:17 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 17th June 2013 at 13:33.

This post has the following tags: norwayvoting, womennorwayvote.


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