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Conscription for women in Norway

Photo: Norwegian Ministry of DefencePhoto: Norwegian Ministry of DefenceOn 14th June this year the Norwegian parliament decided to introduce conscription for women. The question was on the agenda of all the political parties’ yearly meetings this spring, spearheaded by women from a young generation. The most surprising thing, bearing in mind the Norwegian context, is that the socialist party’s young women were at the very front in calling for this change.

Conscription extended to women in Norway

Norway has joined Israel and Eritrea, becoming one of a handful of countries worldwide that conscript women.

Norway: end of substitute service for conscientious objectors

The Norwegian government announced on 1 July 2011 that substitute service for conscientious objectors will end later this year. According to Minister of Justice Knut Storberget, the reform will mean that conscientious objectors to military service will in the future no longer be called up for a substitute service, but will simply be exempted from military service. According to the press release, there has been an ever decreasing number of applicants for conscientious objection in recent years, from over 3,000 applicants about 10 years ago to the current level of about 350.

Norvège : un service militaire obligatoire pour les femmes ?

Un service militaire pour les femmes pourraient être à l'ordre du jour de la prochaine session parlementaire, d'après la ministre de la Défense Anne-Grete Stroem-Erichsen au cours d'un entretien pour la NRK. D'après elle, le système actuel du service national est obsolète et elle travaille à l'instauration de la parité.

La nouvelle loi proposant la généralisation de la conscription aux hommes et aux femmes sera présenté au parlement au printemps prochain.


As published in The Right to Conscientious Objection in Europe, Quaker Council for European Affairs, 2005.


Conscription is enshrined in Article 109 of the Constitution and is further regulated by the 1953 General Compulsory Service Act (29/1953).

The length of military service is 12 months.

Johansen v. Norway (Application No. 10600/83)


The applicant is a Norwegian citizen born in 1956 and resident at Ise in Norway. (...)

Being a pacifist, the applicant is opposed to military service, and he also objects to civilian service, since the purpose of such service is, in his opinion, to uphold respect for military service.


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