Manpower impact of conscripting women can be minimised

PHOTO: ST FILE

Unlike Mr Lim Chee Khiam, I support the conscription of women into national service (Having women as NSFs will worsen labour crunch in other sectors; March 8).

We can certainly minimise the impact of a labour crunch arising from the conscription of women. This can be achieved by mandating that they serve only up to nine months full-time, compared with the usual 24 months for men.

This would comprise the normal three months of basic military training, after which the women could be dispatched to military camps to serve the balance six months at the back-end, mainly in clerical, administrative, medical, logistical and cyber security roles.

In this way, they could free up more men to serve in the combat and technical vocations.

For decades, Singapore's military defence strategy has mirrored that of Israel. All Israeli citizens, regardless of gender, must take up arms to defend their country.

Getting women to undergo military training comes with many benefits. At a fundamental level, they would better appreciate the numerous challenges that go into protecting our nation.

Also, in times of war, women would be more adept at fighting alongside men.

By keeping the service period to nine months, any labour crunch would be significantly reduced. Such sacrifices are of utmost necessity to the survival of a tiny nation like Singapore.

Indeed, every Singaporean citizen and permanent resident has a part to play in national defence. However hard it may appear at first, it is only a matter of time before women become accustomed to and gradually welcome the concept of conscription.

Zhang Guocheng