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Project November 23, 2018

Stand at Attention and Bite the Bullet: Sweden's Gender-Neutral Draft in the Era of #MeToo


Image by Teresa Fazio. Sweden, 2018.
Image by Teresa Fazio. Sweden, 2018.

This summer,  Sweden's first class of gender-neutral concripts reported for duty, less than a year after their military's #MeToo movement exposed systemic sexist attitudes in the forces. Called #givaktochbitihop, which loosely translates to "stand at attention and bite the bullet," the revelations struck a blow to Sweden's image as a beacon of gender parity.

Why, despite some of the most egalitarian gender policies in the world, do men still harass and assault women in the Swedish armed forces? Can female servicemembers' protests affect their peers' response, and how are senior officers and social scientists trying to change policy to right previous wrongs? Can Sweden provide lessons to the United States military as it roils under its own continued barrage of sexual harassment and assault?

In this project, journalist Teresa Fazio visits combat arms conscripts in northern Sweden and officer cadets at Military Academy Karlberg, interviews servicemembers involved in the #givaktochbitihop movement, and looks closely at Swedish training to facilitate military gender integration.


Three women grouped together: an elderly woman smiling, a transwoman with her arms folded, and a woman holding her headscarf with a baby strapped to her back.


Gender Equality

Gender Equality