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Record high number of women applied to voluntary military service

Publication date 4.3.2021 9.54
Press release
kuva jossa naissotilas taisteluvarustuksessa joukon osana

The voluntary military service for women attracted a record high number of applicants as altogether 1,675 women applied to voluntary military service. In the future, applying to service becomes even easier with the E-Service available online.

As the period for submitting applications closed on 1 March 2021, altogether 1,675 women in total had applied to voluntary military service. The previous record is from the year 2018 when 1,516 women applied to service. The number of applications increased by c. 250 from the previous year.

The Finnish Defence Forces very much welcomes the number of applications which since 2017 has stabilised at a rate of over 1,000 applications each year. According to Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Petri Hulkko, the experiences from the voluntary military service for women are only positive.

– The target for service recruitment involves up to 2,000 women per year. We are on the right track but still need to step up communications efforts relating to military service amongst young women, Lieutenant General Hulkko says.

The Finnish Defence Forces provides each woman selected for voluntary service with progressive training full of experiences. In recent years, the Finnish Defence Forces has strongly improved its training. The ongoing Training 2020 Programme renews the instruction methods as well as makes digitalisation, simulation, and comprehensive capability part of daily training. Furthermore, competences achieved by training will also benefit post-service studies and work life. Over the past years, the feedback by women on the end-of-military service questionnaire of conscripts mustered out has been at very high levels, which means that training quality is highly valued.

The women applicants will at this point be ordered to military service mainly to the contingents of 2022, and also vacant positions in the contingent of the summer of 2021 will be filled.

– All women fit for service will be assigned to a good service location, and your wishes will be taken into consideration as well as possible. Take up the challenge, it will pay off for sure, Lieutenant General Hulkko encourages.

The voluntary military service for women has established itself. In fact, last year marked the 25th anniversary of adopting the Act on Voluntary Military Service for Women. Over the years, the Finnish Defence Forces has trained more than 10,000 women into the reserve. Annually, close to a thousand women complete conscript service.

–  Women’s motivation remains at a very high level. This is reflected in that, proportionately, a higher number of women than men undertake leadership training. And, on the previous Reserve Officer Course, the highest achiever overall was a she, Lieutenant General Hulkko points out.

The increase in the number of women serves the Finnish Defence Forces in many ways.

– For instance, for crisis management missions, we need more women applicants who have completed conscript service. Womens’ service also indirectly enhances the will to defend and military national defence awareness amongst the general population. The impact of this cannot be underestimated, Lieutenant General Hulkko says.

E-service to open in April – aiming to make applying easier and to increase the number of applications

The threshold for applying to voluntary military service for women becomes lower as the E-service becomes available in the week 16. The reform aims to make applying easier and to increase the number of applications for voluntary military service. The electronic application possibility has increased the number of applications submitted for the other tasks available in the Finnish Defence Forces as well. 

The application reform also simplifies the access to relevant information as the electronic service guides the applicant in filling out the application and thereby makes the paper version unnecessary. From week 16 onwards, the application form can be submitted online at the Finnish Defence Forces’ E-Service available at At logon to the E-Service, verification requires mobile banking identification, electronic identification card, or mobile certification.

Selection events will be organised in April considering the local situation

Based on the applications submitted, women who have applied to service will be invited to a selection event organised by the Regional Office. Apart from offering information on conscript service and liability for military service, the selection event involves interviewing the applicants and having their health examined. Moreover, the selection event also offers the applicants a possibility to voice their wishes concerning training and service.

Considering the local situation in April, the selection events will take place either on-site or online. The Regional Offices will contact the applicants to inform them as to whether the events will be organised online. Information on the changes will also be available online on the Army’s and the Finnish Defence Forces’ websites and social media channels which are thus well worth following.

The selection events organised on-site will follow the recommendations by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on hand disinfection, coughing etiquette, and sustained safety distances. The selection events have face masks available, and give instructions on masking up, on the sustained disinfection protocol and safety distances.

All planning relating to the selection events prepares for rapidly changing assembly restrictions. The number of people attending the selection events and the size of facilities available vary depending on the given municipality. As applicable, the programme will be shortened, seating order made more spacious, and persons’ arrival sequenced. However, notification on sequenced arrival schedule will not necessarily be sent to your home address prior to the selection event.

These measures are to ensure keeping the detachment size small enough and contacts with other persons to a minimum.

Selection event participants are asked to consider the following precautionary measures:

  • If you are ill or with symptoms, contact your own Regional Office and agree on how to participate in the selection event.
  • Wash your hands with patience and care immediately upon arrival at the selection event, and sustain hand hygiene while on-site. 
  • Sustain safety distances to all persons present on-site.
Number of applications to the Finnish Defence Forces and to the Finnish Border Guard
•    Army 1,355
•    Navy 181
•    Air Force 101
•    Border Guard 24
•    Special Forces 14

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