Swiss Army To Stop Issuing Female Recruits With Male Underwear

by : Cameron Frew on :
Swiss Army To Stop Issuing Female Recruits With Male Underweararmee.ch/Instagram

In a bid to drive up female recruits, women joining the Swiss armed forces will no longer be issued with male underwear. 

Under the current system in Switzerland’s army, every recruit is given the exact same underwear as part of their uniform. However, a new trial beginning in April will see women issued with two sets of female underwear, with one for warmer months and the other for colder temperatures.


Women only make up around 1% of the Swiss armed forces. It’s hoped the underwear initiative may encourage more reluctant people to sign up to the military, with the country aspiring for 10% by 2030.


All recruits are currently given ‘loose-fitting men’s underwear, often in larger sizes’ which can often be uncomfortable for women, BBC News reports.

Marianne Binder, a member of the Swiss National Council, said: ‘The clothing is designed for men, but if the army is really to become more feminine, appropriate measures are needed.’


Defence minister Viola Amherd was also said to welcome the move, agreeing that ‘compatibility’ was required for future generations of recruits if female numbers are to increase. In addition to underwear, combat clothing, backpacks and protective vests are also under review for possible adjustments and replacements.

PA ImagesPA Images

Kaj-Gunnar Sievert, a spokesperson for the Swiss army, told national news site Watson that current components of the uniform were becoming outdated and needed revamping, saying: ‘The older generation of uniforms was not sufficiently focused on the specific needs of women.’

The standard issue Swiss army uniforms have not seen a review since the 1980s. Sievert added: ‘The focus will be on fit and functionality.’


According to an unnamed female soldier in the army, the underwear ‘makes a difference whether you have to crawl on the floor with 27 kilograms of luggage or sit quietly on an office chair.’


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Reacting to the news on social media, one user wrote: ‘What does that even mean?!! These policies are so stupid it’s mind boggling that they even existed in the first place, let alone that it’s 2021 and now they’re considering these changes.’

Another commented: ‘Huh? What? Is this a joke? Women have been made to wear MEN’S UNDERWEAR? How would that even make any sense? Hopefully, they could provide their own – and be compensated. This is just flat out dumb.’


A third wrote: ‘So they are good enough to protect their country but not good enough to have underwear? That’s absurd! Shame on you Switzerland!’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Army, clothing, Now, Switzerland


BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Women's underwear to be provided to female recruits in Swiss army