Danish women soldiers not permitted to train Libyans

North African country requests male-only soldiers for training

Around 60 soldiers from the Royal Life Guards 2nd Battalion from Høvelte Kaserne in North Zealand have been given the task of training approximately 2,000 Libyan soldiers in the United Kingdom this year. However, at the request of the Libyans, only male soldiers may take part.

"The parts of the education that require ‘hands on’ contact with Libyan soldiers, for example, in correcting a Libyan soldier firing position on the firing range, will be performed by a male instructor," Henrik Lyhne, a lieutenant colonel from Hærens Operative Kommando (Army Operational Command), told DR.

"This avoids the predictable conflicts that arise from the Libyan soldiers’ cultural backgrounds and traditions."

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Problematic decision
Åse Lindman, ​a lawyer representing the  trade union for army personnel, Hærens Konstabel- og Korporalforening, acknowledged that the decision was "necessary with a certain degree of pragmatism and respect for local behaviour and culture".

However, she found the decision problematic. "The women are cut from important, professional experience that they could use to advance their career: for promotion and better pay," Lindman told DR.

Hanne Marlene Dahl, a professor at the Department of Society and Globalisation at Roskilde University, also expressed her concern with the decision, suggesting it may be against EU regulations on gender equality.

According to the website of Forsvaret (Defence Command Denmark), 15 percent of their civilian and military employees are women.

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