Conscripting Women: Gender, Soldiering, and Military Service in Sweden 1965-2018

Citation:

Persson, Alma, and Fia Sundevall. 2019. "Conscripting Women: Gender, Soldiering, and Military Service in Sweden 1965-2018." Women's History Review 28 (7): 1039-56.

Authors: Alma Persson, Fia Sundevall

Abstract:

This article explores how women, men, and gender equality in the military have been debated, made sense of, regulated, and dealt with in Swedish contemporary history. It takes its empirical point of departure in 1965, when the issue of military conscription for women was first raised in Sweden, and ends with the implementation of so called gender-neutral conscription in 2018. The study is based on a wide range of sources, collected through a combination of extensive archival work, ethnographic studies, and interviews. The analysis shows how men have been the standard against which women were measured throughout the period studied. Women service members were simultaneously perceived both as a problem and as a solution to a range of problems in the organisation. Women’s ‘different’ bodies were considered problematic, while staff shortages and demands for specific personnel qualities rendered the ‘woman soldier’ a solution, in particular in relation to international missions.

Keywords: conscription, national service, gender equality, military employment, military officers, Swedish Armed Forces

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2019

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