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Belgian army heads to shopping centres to attract new recruits

21:09 17/02/2020

The Belgian defence ministry has opened pop-up stores in two shopping centres to attract more women and young people to join the armed forces.

Officers will organise demonstrations and answer questions from passers-by at Wijnegem, on the outskirts of Antwerp, and Médiacité in Liège.

According to the defence department, 8.7% of military jobs are currently filled by women - and "this must increase".

The pop-up initiative aims to open people's eyes to the broad range of jobs available. "There's been a lack of information," said Eric Croquet, director of the Defence Information Centre in Liège province.

"We have to go beyond the idea that women only do the medical work and men are in the infantry. Defence is much less macho than one could imagine."

He said the presence in shopping centres "allows us to not only reach more women - but also young people in general. It's a place where you find people who aren't inclined to come knocking at the door of their nearest barracks for careers information".

The defence ministry is looking to hire 2,035 soldiers this year. The pop-up stores are open until 14 March.

Written by The Bulletin