Women now eligible for Dutch military draft

Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert is changing the law so that the Dutch compulsory military service also applies to women, she announced to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament on Monday, news wire ANP reports.

The proposal will have very little practical effect. The military draft was suspended in 1996, and there is very little chance of reintroduction. The vast majority of the Tweede Kamer is against it.

It is however a symbolic step for equality between men and women, requested by the PvdA and D66. The Minister will be sending the legislative proposal to the Tweede Kamer in the autumn.

Women have been active in the Dutch armed forces for more than 70 years. There are currently 3,689 female soldiers in the military and 38,400 men. In the late 70's the Royal Military Academy was also opened to women, meaning that women can also become an officer.