Norway has created history!
Norway has become the first country in the world with an all-women special forces unit. Jegertroppen or the “hunter troops” was first raised in 2014 and since then has raised the status of women in the Norwegian military. The need to raise an all-women special forces team was realized when Norway was deployed in Afghanistan and the male soldiers had a difficult time interacting with the local women.
A parliament legislation in the 1980s opened up all military roles to women. However, it took more than two decades for the decision to come to fruition. Col. Frode Kristofferson, the commander of Norway’s special forces, said,
When [Norway] deployed to Afghanistan we saw that we needed female soldiers. Both as female advisers for the Afghan special police unit that we mentored, but also when we did an arrest. We needed female soldiers to take care of the women and children in the buildings that we searched.
Proudly announcing that the trained women are as competent as their male counter parts, Col. Kristofferson commented,
One of the advantages that we see with an all-female unit is that we can have a tailored program and a tailored selection for the female operators.
Tonje, a 22-year-old soldier trainee, revealed,
We’re carrying the same weight in the backpack as the boys. We do the same tasks.
Commanders said that the all-women unit is ready for combat deployment. Col. Ole Vidar, the officer leading the training program, said,
At a recent exercise, one of the female soldiers shot better than some of the men in the elite platoon.
Col. Vidar also said that the women show more solidarity with their teammates as compared to men. He commented,
The boys see that the girls help each other, so the boys are doing better on that as well.
In the first year, more than 300 applications were received for this elite program and the entry requirements have been raised.
Take a look at some of the photographs taken during the practice exercise:
As appealing as it may sound, the fact that these trained women have never been deployed in combat speaks otherwise. In India, the issue of allowing women in active combat roles has been raised several times. While the women serve brilliantly and are extremely competent in non-combat roles, there is always a question of how well they will do in combat roles. Physically, women cannot work under the harsh circumstances of the battlefield. Also, the presence of male troops can bring in different types of challenges if women are allowed to go on active duty.
However, one never knows if and when the Indian women decide to surprise us!