How can a woman get into the military

Military career as a woman - officer: "Conscription for women would be equal rights"

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Corina Gantenbein is an exception. The 40-year-old is making a career in the military. Only one percent of all members of the army are women soldiers. Her collar is currently adorned by the two thick bars of a lieutenant colonel, and she recently became president of the Obwalden Officers' Society. Only in St. Gallen is this post occupied by a woman.

Defense Minister Viola Amherd wanted more women like Corina Gantenbein. The defense minister has set herself the goal of increasing the proportion of women in the military. In an interview, Gantenbein tells what could help the Federal Councilor's plans and why women are good for every company.

Corina Gantenbein

President Officer Society Obwalden

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Gantenbein is a career officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel. She has been President of the Obwalden Officers Association since 2021.

SRF News: How do people react when you talk about your job?

Corina Gantenbein: With astonishment. I often hear that people imagine a woman in the military differently than me. Then those who have done military service themselves quickly begin to share their own experiences.

What do you prefer: When people ask interestedly or when they take it for granted that you are a woman in the military?

Slowly but surely, it would be time for this to become a matter of course. It has been one for myself for a long time, so I can no longer really understand the astonished reactions.

Did you have to prove yourself as a woman in the military? Or have you been treated and encouraged exceptionally well?

I have already experienced both rudiments. But not to the extent that a pattern could be seen in it. Of course, as a woman, you stand out in a predominantly male environment, which can have advantages and disadvantages. If you show good performance, these are particularly noticeable and if something goes wrong, it is also more noticeable. Basically, I think that a woman should be treated in the same way as everyone else in the military.

More women in the military, that also helps the army. Studies have shown that mixed teams perform better.
Author: Corina Gantenbein, President of the Obwalden Officers Association

Federal Councilor Viola Amherd has been a woman's top chief of the military for two years. How do you feel that?

The defense minister brought the issue to the stage. You can already see that more women are being recruited. For example with image campaigns. I hope that the Federal Councilor's strategy will motivate one or two candidates to come forward.

What do you think would have to change for this to work?

First, I may have to be more precise: I don't necessarily want more women to join the military at random. But: Everyone who is interested in it and has this wish should, for God's sake, not let anything dissuade them and should trust themselves to do so. That helps the army too. Studies have shown that mixed teams perform better.

As a concrete measure to increase the proportion of women, the orientation day could be made compulsory for everyone. That would be a chance to show the young women what options the army offers.

What about conscription for women?

That is also a possible variant. You have to start somewhere if you want to promote equality. Right and duty go hand in hand.

The interview was conducted by Beat Vogt.

SRF 1, Regional Journal Zentralschweiz, April 25, 2021, 5:30 p.m. vogb / gotl; kocm

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  • Comment from Alex Schneider (Alex Schneider)
    Compulsory service for women

    If we introduce the voluntary militia army for men, we can at the same time establish voluntary community service for men and women, albeit in an attractive form, i.e. with wages and working conditions in line with the market.
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Daniel Röthlisberger (Dänu R.)
    I also find that women have to do a service. Doesn't have to be military. Can also be in the form of community service! I also know many women who would be willing to do so! So please politicians, get to work :-)
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Christian Kunz (CK124)
    With Ms. Amherd, the name says it all for the tasks of women in the army ;-)
    I think the Swiss system with the WKs is a big obstacle.
    Otherwise I don't see any objections.
    Women are represented in the armies worldwide, which is why not in Switzerland.
    Agree agree to the comment

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