Plans are reportedly afoot to include women in the currently all-male Swiss papal guard. Swiss women could be on guard from 2027 if the plan is ratified by the Pope, according to RTS.
The move, which would be seen as symbolic, would also address the shortage of candidates.
It is a decision that has been heavily discussed that would also be important for the image of Switzerland, said Agostino Paravicini, a professor of history at the University of Lausanne who is a specialist on the papacy. Such a change would fit with a series of decisions taken by the current Pope to promote the place of women within the Vatican.
Questioned in 2015 on the possibility of women joining the ranks of the papal guard, the guard’s chief Christoph Graf said that he thought he wouldn’t live long enough to see it.
Discussions around integrating more women into Switzerland’s own military have been taking place for sometime. A defence ministry report published in March 2020 outlined measures to encourage the integration of more women in the Swiss army, who currently make up only 0.9% of Switzerland’s military personnel. In December 2020, a former Swiss army boss voiced support for an initiative aimed at replacing the existing system with a broader form of service that includes the military and civil service, but which is compulsory for both young Swiss men and women. Currently, only men are obligated to serve.