Poll: More than one third want female conscription

The issue of extending military conscription to include women as well as men has been the subject of much debate in Finland over recent months.

Some 35 percent of respondents to a survey by the Uutissuomalainen newspaper group said they would be in favour of extending military conscription to women.

However, 44 percent of those surveyed said they were against the idea of extending conscription, while 21 percent did not wish to reveal their stance on the issue.

The prolonged debate over whether women should also be required to serve as conscripts was reignited in autumn last year, after a proposal by a cross-party parliamentary commission, and the topic has remained in the public domain ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February.

In May, an Yle poll of MPs found that one third of those who responded were also in favour of female conscription.

Out of Finland’s 200 MPs, 113 responded to Yle’s poll, with 30 saying they were in favour of making conscription obligatory for women while 69 MPs said they were against the idea.

In August, the opposition National Coalition Party (NCP) said it supported extending conscription to include women.

“Every year it becomes more and more difficult to justify why the best and most willing Finns, regardless of gender, are not selected for service,” Kai Mykkänen, chair of the NCP’s parliamentary group, told Yle at the time.

The Uutissuomalainen survey was carried out by the market research centre Tietoykkönen during the month of September, and interviewed 1,000 people living in Finland. The poll’s margin of error is 3.1 percentage points both ways.

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