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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsGreece Mulls Voluntary Enlistment of Women in the Armed Forces

Greece Mulls Voluntary Enlistment of Women in the Armed Forces

parade in Greece
Military parade in Athens. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece is considering the introduction of the voluntary enlistment of women in the armed forces, according to the defense reorganization that is currently being drafted.

Defense Minister Nikos Dendias recently called for the “use of all the forces of society in defense,” including the voluntary enrollment of women.

Women in Greece can serve voluntarily in all branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces. However, they are not mandated to serve through conscription unlike their male counterparts.

Since their official introduction in 1977, women in the Greek military have served in various roles and are also increasingly being integrated into combat support roles. However, they remain excluded from specific combat units.

As of 2023, women make up around 16.8 percent of the total personnel in the Greek Armed Forces with the highest percentage being in the air force at around 20 percent and the lowest in the navy at around 10 percent.

There are ongoing efforts to increase the number of women in the Greek military and promote gender equality within the ranks.

Women in the armed forces will increase soldier numbers

Dendias stressed that Greece cannot have an entirely professional army: “We are 11 million and next to us we have a neighbor [Turkey] who questions us, questions the entire institutional framework on which our country is based and which in a few years will exceed 100 million. So, numerically, it is not possible to answer with a professional army.”

“So we believe in the armed citizen and we believe that we can create a system with which he will be able to serve, having possibilities given by modern technologies and a brilliant education,” he added.

Dendias referred to the plan concerning the upgrading of the reserve, i.e. the citizens who will be able to contribute more, operationally, to the Greek army.

According to this, the reservists will have the possibility at regular intervals to return and retrain so that Greece maintains a significant core of trained manpower. “This way, we will be able to deal with any threat, of any size, wherever it comes from,” it was said.

The Ministry of Defense is also considering measures to modernize and upgrade higher military educational institutions in the country. It also mulls the establishment of a joint IT body—for all three branches of the armed forces—to strengthen cyber security and the establishment of a Department of Artificial Intelligence and a Department of Analytical Data (Big Data).

“For the government, strengthening the deterrent power of the Armed Forces is an absolute priority,” said Dendias, recalling the statement of the Prime Minister in the last cabinet that this reform is perhaps the largest that has taken place in the history of the Greek state. “Hence the formulation of ‘Agenda 2030,’ i.e. the major reform of the Armed Forces which is underway.”

Related: Greece Vs Turkey: The Military Balance in the Aegean

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