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The Norwegian military has looked into the idea of having male and female service members share bedrooms — but don’t expect the U.S. military to follow suit anytime soon.
When the Norwegian army experimented with unisex dorms by putting two female and four male service members in the same room, the women felt less emphasis on gender differences, according to “The Local,” an English-language media outlet in Europe.
“To them, there was nothing strange about the unisex rooms,” study co-author Ulla-Britt Lilleaas was quoted as saying. “They had entered a common mode where gender stereotypes had disappeared, or at least they were less obvious.”
While some U.S. service members live in unisex dormitories, each member has his or her own bedroom and bathroom, officials told Military Times. When asked if the U.S. military might also look into having male and female service members bunk together, service officials were concise and consistent.
“The answer is, ‘No,’ ” Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Maureen Krebs said.
“The Navy is not currently considering any type of unisex living quarters,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Stephanie Homick said.
“No. Each airman has their own bedroom and bathroom,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.
“You may report that the Army declined to comment on this Norwegian initiative,” Army spokesman George Wright said.
The U.S. military is currently struggling to curb sexual assaults. There were 3,374 reported sexual assaults across the military in fiscal 2012, Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson said.
Preliminary figures for fiscal 2013 indicate about 5,000 reports, a 48 percent increase. The final numbers for sexual assaults in fiscal 2013 are expected to be delivered to Congress soon.