Friday 15 March 2024

Gender equality? Denmark to introduce mandatory military service FOR WOMEN

 Denmark may become the newest Scandinavian country to begin conscripting women into its military, broadening the country's recruitment program to strengthen national security amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The Danish government's plan to recruit women for military service makes it one of just a few nations in the world that require women to serve in the armed forces

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen revealed the initiative on Wednesday, March 13, in Copenhagen, telling media that requiring women to join the military will assist in achieving "full equality between the sexes."

"We do not rearm because we want war. We are rearming because we want to avoid it," Frederiksen said.

"More robust conscription, including full gender equality, must contribute to solving defense challenges, national mobilization and manning our armed forces," said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Troels Lund Poulsen.

Lund Poulsen added that the region's security outlook has become "more and more serious, and we have to take that into account when we look at future defense" while adding that "a broader basis for recruiting that includes all genders is needed."

Including women in conscription part of Danish defense overhaul

The Danish armed forces, known as Danish Defense, currently has about 13,700 troops, including 9,000 professional soldiers and 4,700 conscripts in training.

The Danish Law of Conscription requires all able-bodied men over the age of 18 to serve in Danish Defense for a minimum of four months. Danish law currently requires all able-bodied men to be drafted for about four months of military service. Not all eligible men serve because the high number of volunteers reduces the need for compulsory enlistment.

Women are capable of volunteering for military service. At present, female volunteers account for about 25 percent of Danish Defense's 4,700 short-term troops.

Frederiksen's government aims to increase the number of draftees to 5,000 with the inclusion of female conscripts.

Current plans for the overhaul of Danish military policy call for the introduction of a new compulsory military service law that includes women by 2025 and for this new law to go into effect by 2026.

These new male and female draftees will undergo five months of training and an operational service length of six months.

Along with the introduction of female conscripts, Frederiksen's overhaul is also calling for the minimum service period to be increased from four months to 11 and for new investments into land-based air defense systems. Frederiksen also wants the creation of a new infantry brigade made up of up to 6,000 soldiers by 2028.

"We are not rearming in Denmark because we want war, destruction, or suffering. We are rearming right now to avoid war, and in a world where the international order is being challenged," Frederiksen said.

Frederiksen has called for regional neighbors to introduce similar overhauls, asking them to also "scale up" their defenses to deter potential Russian aggression. "Freedom comes with a price," she said. "It is our own responsibility to be able to protect ourselves."

Denmark is also planning to boost defense spending. Currently, it is spending around 1.4 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, but is expected to increase spending by 5.4 billion euros ($5.91 billion) over the next five years.

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