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Minister of Defence Hanso: Norway’s determination to include women in national defence gives pause for thought
Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso visited Rena Military Base, in Norway, where Norwegian Army Brigadier General Ingrid Gjerde provided an extensive overview of the development plans for Norway’s Army and conscription for women in Norway.
The female Norwegian officers and conscripts serving at Rena introduced Hanso to Norway’s gender neutral compulsory conscription and changes in the attitudes held by Norwegian society over the past few decades, which led to the introduction of compulsory conscription for women.
“Norway’s three decade's long, consistent and comprehensive approach to achieving gender equality, when it comes to including women in national defence, has been impressive,” said Hanso after the meeting. “Creating equal opportunities for women to participate in national defence is a topic also worthy of as broad a discussion as possible in Estonia.”
According to Minster of Defence Hanso, there is obviously no reason, yet, in Estonia, to discuss transitioning to a system of compulsory conscription for women, as is the case in Norway, since Norwegians have travelled a long road in attaining gender equality.
“The role of women in national defence in Estonia must definitely increase,” said Minister of Defence Hanso. “In essence, half of our population is not adequately involved in national defence. This definitely needs to change.”
The Minister of Defence also met with special operations forces, who spoke to the Estonian delegation about how Norwegian conscripts complete special operations forces training.
Today, Minister of Defence Hanso will be meeting with Norwegian Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide, in Oslo, and holding security policy talks.
This summer, the allies will be carrying out large-scale training exercises on the Baltic Sea. The United States will be leading the annual international Baltic region training exercise BALTOPS, while the United Kingdom will be leading the deployment exercise Baltic Protector.