The Swedish Armed Forces is made up of 77 percent men and 23 percent women. We want the number of women to increase. We want to show that women exist, are needed, and have a natural place in the Armed Forces, and we want to address the prejudices that exist about women not being fit for the military defense.

By attracting more women to apply to the Armed Forces, we get a broader selection of applicants with the right skills which increases our operational capability. A more even distribution of women and men also makes us more attractive as a modern and contemporary employer – for both men and women. A broader selection of applicants gives us better opportunities to recruit the most suitable candidate for employment or for officer training.

In the campaigns we run and the posts we publish on social media, women often have a central role as they are an important target group for us. We often work to debunk myths and counter prejudices by showing a female aircraft technician and a male medical soldier, instead of vice versa. We always use personnel who work in the Armed Forces, we never use actors. We place great importance on showing women being active in their line of duty, instead of posting a picture of a woman just because she is a woman. Youths often have a progressive attitude, so we choose to communicate with them in a way that surprises and attracts interest – often by countering prejudices and stereotypical images of the military defense.

Example: “Your strengths make us stronger.”

In surveys, we have seen that women often think that they are not strong enough to work in the Armed Forces, or that they do not belong with us. In the campaign “Your strengths make us stronger,” we highlighted strengths that are needed just as much alongside pure physical strength. Being able to make decisions, to be resilient, or to have the ability to care for others and that many qualities one possesses in “real life” are those we want in the Armed Forces. In this campaign, we portrayed such qualities with the help of employees in the Armed Forces. The majority of employees shown in the campaign were women.

Picture 1: “We are looking for you who always take care of others.”
Picture 2: “And you who prefer to take care of something else.”

Example: “Women are incompetent as soldiers.”

On International Women’s Day, the Swedish Armed Forces often run campaigns that stand out, and we are not afraid to provoke debate or emotions. Here we clearly show that gender equality is important for Sweden’s military defense, and on several occasions we have chosen to challenge prejudices about women in the military defense. For the 2024 campaign, we chose to highlight the negative comments and erroneous statements spread about women who are military personnel. By linking negative quotes with images and videos showing the opposite, we showed that these statements are not true. Even though we do not agree, we are ready to fight for everyone’s right to express their opinion.

“Women are incompetent as soldiers.”

– User, Flashback
We do not share your opinion.
But we are ready to fight for your right to express it.”

Andrew Tihonov Designer

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