Working group proposes possibility of alternative civilian service for women
Option currently available for male conscientious objectors to military service
A working group is proposing that women be allowed to perform voluntary civilian service. Civilian service is currently available to male conscientious objectors as an alternative to mandatory military service.
Minister of Labour Anni Sinnemäki (Green) welcomed the proposal, noting that women already are allowed to perform voluntary military service. However, she said that she does not expect women to become interested in civilian service before the training involved is developed further.
There was also some criticism. While welcoming the idea as a positive step for gender equality, Björn Månsson, secretary-general of the Parliamentary group of the Swedish People’s Party, wondered why women would want to spend a year doing civilian service on a small per diem when they could do similar work for full pay.
The working group proposed that the civilian service system should be placed under state control
“The idea is not to establish a massive new player, but rather to increase a certain amount of personnel both at the Lapinjärvi Civilian Service Centre, and the ministry”, says the working group’s chairman Raimo Luoma.
Sinnemäki welcomed the proposal that men doing alternative service, who cannot find an alternate task to perform after the initial training phase in Lapinjärvi, should be given one.
“It is not in the interests of society, or of these individuals themselves, that the service phase that is supposed to follow the training phase does not happen, and that they stay at the Lapinjärvi training centre”, Sinnemäki said.
The working group would shorten the duration of alternative service only if the service for conscripts were to be reduced as well.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Survey reveals negative attitudes among employers toward conscientious objectors (6.10.2010)