The head of Finland’s Defence Forces, Admiral Juhani Kaskeala, said that Finland needed more female recruits. On Saturday the Admiral said that women could serve in crisis management operations as well as with regular troops.
Adm Kaskeala believes that women should have an equal obligation to appear in front of call-up boards although he did attest that he is not in favour of making females liable for compulsory military service. Having women attend call-ups, however, could encourage women to consider service and boost recruitment.
Finnish women are not obliged to perform military service whereas Finnish men between the ages of 18 and 60 must either perform military or non-military national service.
Adm Kaskeala spoke on the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s Lauantaiseura programme, about the declining levels of physical fitness among conscripts.
“There is no doubt that our society must come to grips with the fact that we will have an enormous national health problem on our hands unless we manage to breathe new life into everyday exercise, school exercise and sports clubs,” Adm Kaskeala told YLE.
“An old sports nation is in the process of sleepwalking into a state of physical decay.”
In less than ten years, Adm Kaskeala said, the average weight of conscripts has risen from 70 kilograms to 77 kilograms. Many of the new conscripts, he said, cannot even climb stairs without losing their breath.