The labor participation rate of women, well over 70%
On the 19th (local time), Women News had an interview with Deputy Director General Wetland. She said, “Extending mandatory military service to women reinforces gender equality policies which are based on an argument that rights and duties should be the same for all.”
In June, under the lead of a female lawmaker Laila Gustavsen, the Norwegian Parliament voted overwhelmingly to conscript women into its armed forces by 2015. The aim is to ensure that the armed forces can “secure the best and the brightest, regardless of gender.” If the proposal is accepted, the duty will be wide open to females as well in two years. Wetland is in full support of the Parliament‘s proposal and she agrees with the Defense Minister who said all citizens shall have the obligation to serve in the military, regardless of sex.
Current law says all men aged 18 to 44 are obliged to military service for up to 1 year. The conscripts are selected based on physical and psychological tests. The military estimates that 8000 ~ 10,000 men out of a pool of 60,000 carry out the duty every year. For conscientious objectors, alternative civilian service is available. Norwegian women have been allowed to do military service on a volunteer basis since 1976. They account for about 10% of conscripts. If the bill is implemented, women is expected to represent 20% in the armed forces by 2020.
Norway is one of countries with the best gender equality in the world which is why it is possible for active discussions over ‘gender-neutral conscription act’ to take place.
Norwegian female labor participation rate is nearly 80%, far exceeding the OECD average 62%. Also, it is two times greater than that of Korea. Things are quite similar with gender wage gap. As of 2012, the gap in Korea is 39.9%, while it is 8% in Norway. Since 2003, Norway has enforced a law requiring a 40% share of female board members in both large private firms and public enterprises.