According to a report on Spanish radio, there are more women serving in the Spanish army than in any other army in Europe. Compulsory military service for men in Spain was ended relatively recently, by the PP government in 2001, in a move which was greeted with wide support among the majority of the Spanish electorate. Only a few years earlier, consciencious objecters refusing to do their military service faced prison or 18 months compulsory “voluntary” service.
When military service was abolished, the Spanish armed forces faced with the challenge of recruiting professional soldiers rather than relying on the bulk of young men doing military service, embarked on a series of high-profile publicity campaigns aimed at persuading young people to consider joining the army as the first step in a long and stable professional career.
Judging by the figures released by Cadena Ser yesterday, the campaigns seem to have been particularly successful among young women, as the number of female soldiers and marines has shot up in the past few years to the extent that this year no less than 14,300 women serve in the Spanish army, that is 13.
5 percent of the whole armed forces. This means that Spain has the largest number of women soldiers of all EU member states, and the third largest in NATO member states, behind the USA and Canada.