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Estonians support voluntary conscription for women

12. June 2017 - 13:56

According to the public opinion poll on national defence, the majority of Estonia's residents support the opportunity for women to complete voluntary conscription, support for conscription for women is even higher among active service members.

According to the survey, 79% of those questioned supported voluntary conscription for women, with support for the possibility reaching 85% among Estonian respondents. Sixteen per cent of respondents were opposed to conscription for women, with that number having been 22% six months ago. Those in favour of conscription for women were Estonian language speakers, young people and those with a higher education, with those opposed being Russian language speakers and older survey participants.

Three per cent of respondents supported mandatory conscription for women, with 10% of 15-19 year olds surveyed supporting equal mandatory conscript service.

In a feedback survey carried out among active duty service members, in the framework of which the same questions on conscription for women were posed as in the public opinion poll, support for voluntary conscription for women was 77% and 18% for gender-equal mandatory conscription. Eighty-five per cent of female service members supported voluntary conscription, with 11% supporting mandatory conscription for women.

Sixty-one per cent of public opinion poll respondents believed that women would be able to cope with all tasks in the Defence Forces, should equal rights and requirements be enforced, while 72% of servicemen and 80% of female servicemen held that same opinion.

Based on the results of the public opinion poll, the Defence Forces and the Defence League continue to be the most trusted institutions among the Estonian people, with the Defence Forces trusted by 79% and the Defence League by 71% of respondents. The main guarantors of Estonia’s security, according to respondents, continue to be membership in NATO and an independent defence capability.

Among those surveyed, 58% believe that the situation in the world will continue to grow more unstable, with the number of those believing this having falling continuously during the latest surveys. Estonia's security situation is perceived as being better than the situation in the world, with 60% of respondents believing that the situation in Estonia will become more secure and will not worsen. In comparison with the survey performed six months ago, the share of those perceiving an increase in security has risen.

Eighty-three per cent of respondents considered armed resistance to be necessary in the case of an attack on Estonia. A total of 61% of respondents were ready to take part in defence activity, including 73% of men and 66% of Estonian language speaking respondents. A total of 93% of respondents considered conscript service to be important, with 69% considering it wrong to avoid conscript service.

The survey Public Opinion and National Defence was carried out this spring by the Ministry of Defence, through Turu-uuringute AS. This is the 41st survey in the series. The results of this survey, as well as past surveys, can be found at http://www.kaitseministeerium.ee/sites/default/files/elfinder/article_files/public_opinion_and_national_defence_2017_march.pdf (PDF)

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