Choosing unfit men over fit women
Austria’s civil service isn’t getting enough young recruits, said Claudia Aigner. At age 18, all Austrian men must choose between six months of military service or nine months of civilian service. Of those who meet physical fitness standards, more than half choose the shorter stint in the military. But a whopping 24 percent of all young men aren’t deemed fit to serve at all, because they are either obese, unhealthy, disabled, or mentally ill. The result is that while the army is doing fine, the civilian service has become severely understaffed. So some politicians have come up with a ridiculous proposal to shunt those men deemed unfit to serve in the Austrian military straight into the civilian corps for their national tour of duty. “Seriously?” Do we really want to let “obese psychos” work as ambulance drivers, home health aides for the sick and elderly, or with children? I have a radical idea that would get some warm bodies in these unfilled posts: Why not open up compulsory service to—gasp—women? Since “women are known to be the caring sex,” most of them would probably choose a civilian job over a stint in the military, and the problem would be solved in a jiffy. Yet in sexist Austria, this logical solution hasn’t even been proposed.