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image caption Switzerland hopes to encourage more women to apply to the armed forces
Switzerland is to allow female members of the army to wear women’s underwear for the first time in an effort to boost recruitment, local media report.
Under the current system, the standard uniform issued to military recruits includes only men’s underwear.
The trial, beginning next month, will provide two different sets of female underwear for warmer and colder months.
Women make up about 1% of the Swiss armed forces, but the country hopes to increase that figure to 10% by 2030.
Marianne Binder, a member of the Swiss National Council, said that offering women more suitable underwear would encourage more to apply to join the military.
“The clothing is designed for men, but if the army is really to become more feminine, appropriate measures are needed,” she said.
Women have, until now, reportedly been issued loose-fitting men’s underwear, often in larger sizes, which can be uncomfortable.
Army spokesman Kaj-Gunnar Sievert said that clothing and other items issued by the military were becoming outdated.
He told Swiss news website Watson that the new “functional underwear” for female recruits would consist of “short underwear” for the summer and “long underwear” for the winter.
Mr Sievert said earlier this week that changes were being considered in relation to other supplies, such as combat clothing, protective vests and backpacks. “The focus will be on fit and functionality,” he said, adding that sizes were until now quite restricted.
Swiss Defence Minister Viola Amherd also welcomed the move, saying that “compatibility” needed to be improved.
The current Swiss army uniforms were first introduced in the mid-1980s, Swissinfo reports.
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