Gender and Generation Differences in Finnish Defence Policy Opinions 2000–2020
Hart, Linda; Häggblom, Erasmus; Pulkka, Antti-Tuomas (2023)
Scandinavian Military Studies (SMS)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Outside Finland, gender differences in opinions on defence and security policy have been the subject of analysis in Western states of all sizes. This study investigates whether political opinions on key issues of defence policy in Finland are affected by differences in gender and age, and how such differences can be understood in the context of a small-state where there is conscription for men. Gender differences are suggested in relation to both the Finnish social and political context and the gendered division of labour in a society long characterised by a high willingness to defend the country, male conscription, and military non-alignment. Generational differences are proposed to be related to the directions of potential social change in the population. We analyse survey data from the Finnish Advisory Board for Defence Information collected between 2000 and 2020 on four survey items and test whether opinions on (a) willingness to defend Finland, (b) mandatory male conscription, (c) defence spending, and (d) military alignment vary as a function of sex or age. What emerges as statistically significant is that Finnish men will support the military defence of the country if it is attacked, while older cohorts tend to support mandatory male conscription. Defence spending and military non-alignment in the years 2000 to 2020 were mostly inconclusive on gender and generational differences. With illustrative findings from qualitative interview data from women’s preparedness training in voluntary defence, we suggest a contextual explanation of situated socialisation, where self-perceived proximity to defence issues leads to men being more convinced and women being more ambivalent in their views on defence policy.
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