For the first time ever, the Swiss army is going to give its female recruits women’s underwear, as the force looks to attract more women to its ranks.
At present, female soldiers are issued with men’s underwear, but two different sets of women’s undergarments, for warmer and colder weather, will be tested during a trial starting next month, Kaj-Gunnar Sievert, spokesman for Armasuisse, the Swiss armed forces’ procurement organization, said Wednesday.
Armasuisse told CNN in a statement that “previous army equipment and uniforms were too little or not at all geared to the specific needs of women.”
The underwear trial is part of a wider update of military uniforms, which were developed and designed in the 1980s, according to Armasuisse.
“During the development phase, the ergonomics of women, among other things, were taken into account,” the statement continued.
While men and women will wear the same combat uniforms, items have been updated to allow individual adjustments. For example, the new camouflage trousers will feature an adjustable waistband.
The underwear news comes shortly after the army announced its desire to attract more female recruits.
To mark International Women’s Day earlier this month, the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport said it wanted to increase the proportion of women in the military.
The ministry said it would implement a “new service for women” and promote “the reconciliation of military service, work, education and family.”
Women make up less than 1% of the Swiss army, but officials want to increase that proportion to 10% by 2030. In 2019, Viola Amherd became the first female defense minister in the country’s history.