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NATO Chief Calls For Recruitment Of More Female Into Armed Forces


Brussels  –    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on member countries of the military alliance to recruit more women into the armed forces as well as security and defence policy roles.

Stoltenberg said in an interview to mark International Women’s Day that NATO will become a better alliance.

“If we want the best people for our alliance, we have to make sure that women have a more prominent role. We cannot recruit from 50 per cent of the population.

“Every ally has a national responsibility to address the issue,” he said.

He said that even though 40 per cent of the staff at NATO were women, he was in no way satisfied with the number of women represented in leadership and operational positions.

“NATO is no longer a man’s world,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg added that an unprecedented quarter of the defence ministers at the alliance were women, describing it as a “big step forward.”

“In the fifties and sixties only white men were sitting in the corridors here, smoking cigars.

“The fact that more and more women are taking part shows that change is possible even in traditionally male-dominated organisations like NATO and the armed forces in general,” he added.

While the representation of women in the armed forces of NATO member countries has reached an all time high, it was still only at 10.8 per cent in 2015.

The number of women represented in NATO operations was even lower at 6.4 percent.

Stoltenberg spoke of the need to break a “vicious cycle of some women believing that this is not a world for them and then some men in charge of recruitment believing that women are not qualified.”

He added that by recruiting more broadly “NATO will become a better alliance, we will have a better defence and decisions.”

In 1985, Stoltenberg’s native country Norway was the first NATO member state to allow women to serve on submarines and to participate in all other combat functions.

In 2015 Hungary, Latvia and Slovenia, were the three NATO member states with the largest share of women serving in their armed forces.

Poland, Italy and Turkey had the lowest participation according to NATO’s annual report.

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