Denmark rock bottom in local politics equality

Nation lags behind its Nordic neighbours when it comes to how many women are members of local councils

When it comes to gender equality within local politics, Denmark lags far behind its Scandinavian neighbours, metroxpress newspaper reported recently.

Seen as a whole, the nation's council members are more than two thirds male. In Ærø and Stevns councils, there are just two women sitting on each board, while in ten of the nation’s 98 councils, less than 20 percent of the elected council board members are women. The gender make-up of Denmark's local council boards gives the country a clear last place in the Nordics when it comes to equality of the sexes in local politics.

“It’s going excruciatingly slow. It’s over 100 years since the first women were elected into a council board and few would have believed that less than a third of the nation’s council board members today are women,” Ulrik Kjær, a political science professor at the University of Southern Denmark, told metroxpress.

Not as attractive for women
Kjær contended that the figures are not due to voters’ attitudes, but rather the fact that being a local council board member, a responsibility one maintains alongside a full-time job, is not as attractive to women.

But the women’s advocacy group Kvinderådet argued that the lack of women in local council boards is a signal that something is wrong.

“It’s important that the competencies, networks and experiences from both men and women are part of the political decision making process,” Randi Theil, Kvinderådet’s secretariat head, said.

If the development continues at its current trajectory, it will take over 50 years before there are as many women as there are men in local politics.

Heidi Wang (Liberal Alliance), created a minor stir this week thanks to her local election campaign slogan which noted that "Politicians shouldn't interfere with what people put in their mouth. Yes to buying sex and legal cannabis!" (Photo: Heidi Wang)"Take it or leave it!"
One woman, however, grabbed the bull by the horns last week after creating a minor stir during her local election campaign.

Heidi Wang's (Liberal Alliance) campaign slogan noted that "Politicians shouldn't interfere with what people put in their mouth. Yes to buying sex and legal cannabis!"

But her provocative message was somewhat overshadowed by a grammatical error in the text – Wang spelled 'politicians' as 'politiker', when the correct plural form of the noun should be 'politikere'. In response to the criticism or her writing skills, Wang created a Facebook page called 'Heidi Wang can't spell'.

"I am Danish-Chinese and will never be able to spell as well as native Danes. This is how I am. Take it or leave it!" Wang wrote on the page.

Wang is running for re-election to the Copenhagen City Council.





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