Denmark plans to conscript women for military service for first time

Danish Defence/Flickr
March 18, 2024

Denmark plans to conscript women for military service for the first time under a proposed armed forces overhaul. “We do not rearm because we want war. We are rearming because we want to avoid it,” said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen when making the announcement on March 13th, 2024.

The prime minister went on to say that the government wants “full equality between the sexes” and plans to extend the length of military service from 4 to 11 months. Under plans for its 2024-2033 defence settlement, 5,000 conscripts, both male and female, will be called up each year from 2026. Negotiations for legislation are still ongoing.

Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen stated: “Unfortunately, the security policy situation in Europe has become more and more serious, and we have to take that into account when we look at future defence. A more robust conscription, including full gender equality, must contribute to the armed forces’ task resolution, national mobilisation and to manning our armed forces.” He went on to say that, “It is absolutely crucial that we get a more robust conscription in Denmark when we have to build up the Danish defence. Therefore, a broader basis for recruiting that includes all genders is needed.”

Chief of Defence Flemming Lentfer said conscription expansion was a “necessary foundation” for strengthening Denmark’s armed forces’ combat power. “In the armed forces, we support all initiatives that can expand our recruitment base and increase diversity. Here, a higher degree of equality between the sexes is both necessary and desirable,” he said.

Women have been permitted to voluntarily serve in the Danish military since 1998.

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