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More women interested in voluntary military service; application period ends Sunday

Last year, a record number of women took part in voluntary service. In 2024, the maximum age will drop slightly.

personer i militärklädsel
Women have been allowed to carry out voluntary military service in the Finnish Defence Forces since 1995. Image: Yle/Monica Slotte
Yle News

January 15 is the last day for applications by women interested in carrying out voluntary service in the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF). A new law that took effect last year moved the application date to the beginning of the year to coincide with the call-up for young men, who face compulsory military conscription. In the past, women could apply until the beginning of March.

The change makes it possible to organise women's selection events at the same time as the intake of male conscripts, according to the Finnish Army. The required health check-ups will also be carried out on the same schedule as for men.

According to the Army, women's interest in voluntary military service has grown in recent years. More than 1,000 women apply for the service every year. The option has been available since 1995. Since 2020, men and women have been housed in the same barracks at some bases.

The number of female volunteers in the FDF has risen in recent years. Last year, 1,211 women started voluntary service, the highest number ever.

Meanwhile 1,040 women completed service in the Defence Forces or Border Guard last year and joined the reserves. After at least a month of service, women will remain liable for military service until age 60.

You can apply for the service beginning in the year when you turn 18. The service must be completed during the year in which you turn 30. As of 2024, service must begin no later than the year in which you turn 29, down from the previous 30. Applicants must be Finnish citizens in good health.

According to a poll carried out last autumn, more than one third of respondents said that women should be subject to military conscription along with men.

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