The modern-day character and the historical status of women in Denmark has been influenced by their own involvement in women's movements and political participation in the history of Denmark. Their mark can be seen in the fields of politics, women's suffrage, and literature, among others.
|Women in Denmark|
Painting by Anna Ancher. Interior with the Painter's Daughter Helga Sewing, 1890
|Gender Inequality Index|
|Rank||5th out of 152|
|Women in parliament||39.1% (2013)|
|Females over 25 with secondary education||95.5% (2012)|
|Women in labour force||70.4% (employment rate OECD definition, 2015)|
|Global Gender Gap Index|
|Rank||8th out of 149|
The legal, civilian and cultural status of women in prehistoric society during the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age in Scandinavia are somewhat obscure, but from Viking Age sources we know that women were relatively free, compared to men, contemporary societies and the later Middle Ages.
With the gradual introduction of Catholicism in Scandinavia in the early Middle Ages, women's rights were increasingly regulated and restricted. During the Middle Ages, the legal rights of women in Denmark were regulated by the county laws, the landskabslovene from the 13th-century, and therefore varied somewhat between different counties: however, a married woman was generally under the guardianship of her spouse. Sons and daughters both had right to inheritance, though sisters inherited half of the portion of a brother.
The cities were regulated by the city laws. With the exception of widows, who inherited the right to the trade of her late spouse, women was not allowed membership in the guilds, which monopolized most professions in the cities: however, in practice, it was very common for women, whether married or not, to be granted dispensation to manage a minor business for the sake of her own support, and become a købekone (business woman), a custom which continued until women were given the same rights as men within commerce in 1857.
The Civil Code of 1683, or Christian 5.s Danske Lov (also enacted in the Danish province of Norway as the Civil Code of 1687 or Christian Vs Norske Lov ), defined all unmarried females regardless of age as minors under the guardianship of their closest male relative, and a married woman under the guardianship of her spouse, while only widows were of legal majority. This code was in effect until the 19th-century: in 1857, unmarried women were given legal majority, while married women were given the same right in 1899.
Girls were included as pupils in the first attempt of a public elementary school system in 1739, though this attempt was not fully realized until 1814. From the 1780s, schools for secondary education for females were established in the capital of Copenhagen, though female teachers were only allowed to teach girls or very small boys. One of the first schools for females of any note was the Døtreskolen af 1791, and in the 1840s, schools for girls spread outside the capital and a net of secondary education girl schools was established in Denmark. In 1875, women were given access to university education. In the reformed law of access in 1921, women were formally given access to all professions and positions in society with the exception of some military and clerical positions and the position of judge (given in 1936).
There had been two major periods of women's movement in Denmark. The first one was from 1870 to 1920. The second was from 1970 to 1985.
The first women's movement was led by the Dansk Kvindesamfund ("Danish Women's Society"). Line Luplau was one of the most notable woman in this era. Tagea Brandt was also part of this movement, and in her honor was established Tagea Brandt Rejselegat or Travel Scholarship for women. The Dansk Kvindesamfund's efforts as a leading group of women for women led to the existence of the revised Danish constitution of 1915, giving women the right to vote and the provision of equal opportunity laws during the 1920s, which influenced the present-day legislative measures to grant women access to education, work, marital rights and other obligations.
Following the International Congress of Women held in The Hague in 1915, Danske Kvinders Fredskæde or the Danish Women's Peace Chain was established in Denmark. It called for women to provide more active support for peace once the First World War was over.
The second wave of women's movement was organized with the Rødstrømpebevægelsen (the Red Stocking movement). The effort led to "institutionalized feminism" (managed directly by the Danish government) and to the "mainstreaming of equal opportunities" between Danish men and women.
Women in Denmark gained the right to vote on 5 June 1915.
The Danish Women's Society (DK) debated, and informally supported, women's suffrage from 1884, but it did not support it publicly until in 1887, when it supported the suggestion of the parliamentarian Fredrik Bajer to grant women municipal suffrage. In 1886, in response to the perceived overcautious attitude of DK in the question of women suffrage, Matilde Bajer founded the Kvindelig Fremskridtsforening (or KF, 1886-1904) to deal exclusively with the right to suffrage, both in municipal and national elections, and it 1887, the Danish women publicly demanded the right for women's suffrage for the first time through the KF. However, as the KF was very much involved with worker's rights and pacifist activity, the question of women's suffrage was in fact not given full attention, which led to the establishment of the strictly women's suffrage movement Kvindevalgretsforeningen (1889-1897). In 1890, the KF and the Kvindevalgretsforeningen united with five women's trade worker's unions to found the De samlede Kvindeforeninger, and through this form, an active women's suffrage campaign was arranged through agitation and demonstration. However, after having been met by compact resistance, the Danish suffrage movement almost discontinued with the dissolution of the De samlede Kvindeforeninger in 1893.
In 1898, an umbrella organization, the Danske Kvindeforeningers Valgretsforbund or DKV was founded and became a part of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA). In 1907, the Landsforbundet for Kvinders Valgret (LKV) was founded by Elna Munch, Johanne Rambusch and Marie Hjelmer in reply to what they considered to be the much too careful attitude of the Danish Women's Society. The LKV originated from a local suffrage association in Copenhagen, and like its rival LKV, it successfully organized other such local associations nationally.
In 1918, a total of twelve Danish women were elected to the Danish parliament. Four of those women were elected to the Lower House (known as the Folketinget), while eight Danish women were elected to the Upper House (known as the Landstinget). In 1924, Nina Bang became the first female minister of Denmark, making Denmark the second country in the world to have a female minister. Jytte Anderson served as Minister of Employment from 1993 to 1998. Anderson was later appointed in 1998 as Senior Minister for Construction and Housing. In 1999, Andersen was appointed as the first Danish Minister on Gender Equality in 1999.
A second female minister in Denmark was elected twenty years later (counting from 1924). Afterwards – in 2000 – the female members of the government of Denmark increased to 45%.
As in many other Western countries, the connection between child birth and marriage has been significantly weakened since the later half of the 20th century. As of 2016, 54% of births were to unmarried women. During the 1960s and 70s, Denmark was one of the first European countries to change its social norms towards accepting unmarried cohabitation and childbearing, at a time when this was still seen as unacceptable in many other parts of the continent.
The maternal mortality rate in Denmark is 12 deaths/100,000 live births (as of 2010). Although this is low by international standards, it is higher than in many other Western countries, and it has increased in recent years.
Abortion laws were liberalized in 1973, allowing the procedure to be done on-demand during the first 12 weeks, and in specific circumstances at later stages of the pregnancy.
Denmark has a reputation of being "open" with regards to sexuality, perhaps due to historical factors, such as being the first country to abolish censorship and legalize pornography in 1967. However, today the Danish pornography industry is minimal compared to many other countries, with large scale production of pornography having moved to other countries.
The issues of violence against women and domestic violence are controversial; according to a 2014 study published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Denmark had the highest prevalence rate of physical and sexual violence against women in Europe. Denmark has also received harsh criticism for inadequate laws in regard to sexual violence in a 2008 report produced by Amnesty International, which described Danish laws as "inconsistent with international human rights standards". This led to Denmark reforming its sexual offenses legislation in 2013. Denmark has also ratified the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. A 2010 Eurobarometer poll on violence against women found that victim blaming attitudes are common in Denmark: 71% of Danes agreed with the assertion that the "provocative behaviour of women" was a cause of violence against women, well above the 52% European average.
Among notable female Danes was Matilde Bajer, who – together with her husband Fredrik Bajer – founded the Danish Women's Society in 1871, the oldest women's rights organization in the world. Another notable Danish woman was Lise Nørgaard (b. 1917), a Danish author and journalist during the 1930s and the 1940s. She authored the autobiographical books such as the Kun en pige ("Just a Girl", 1992) and De sendte en dame ("They Sent a Lady", 1993). Another notable Danish woman was Line Luplau, who achieved national fame in 1887 when she supported the cause to grant women to vote during local elections.
In literature, one of the most notable female literary writers in Denmark was Karen Blixen (1885–1962). She was also known by the pseudonyms Isak Dinesen and Tania Blixen. Blixen was the author of the Seven Gothic Tales (1934), a collection of short stories, which she wrote at the age of 49.
This lists the "women firsts" in different subjects in chronological order:
A Mother (Danish: En moder) is a sculpture created by Danish sculptor Hans Peder Pedersen-Dan in 1908. A bronze cast of the sculpture was installed outside Hvidovre Rytterskole on Hvidovrevej in Hvidovre in 2005. Pedersen-Dan and his wife Johanne Pedersen-Dan lived and worked in the building for more than 20 years. They are buried at the adjacent Hvidovre Cemetery.Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla
Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla (born 3 July 1948), often referred to as Ane Uggla, is a Swedish-Danish business executive and the youngest daughter of Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller. Since 2012 she has chaired the A.P. Møller Foundation which owns the controlling stake in the Maersk Group, the world's largest container-ship and supply-vessel operator. She is considered to be one of the most powerful women in Denmark.Anne Cathrine Collett
Anne Cathrine Collett (19 February 1768 – 27 January 1846), was a Norwegian-Danish landowner. She was one of the wealthiest women in Denmark of her time. She owned Lundbygård and Oremandsgaard from 1827 until 1846.Dansk kvindebiografisk leksikon
Dansk kvindebiografisk leksikon ("Biographical Encyclopedia of Danish Women") is a collection of over 1,900 biographies of Danish women from the Middle Ages to the present. The first edition was published in 2001 by Rosinante & Co, Copenhagen. Free searchable online access is available from Kvinfo.De Danske Husmoderforeninger
De Danske Husmoderforeninger or DDH (The Danish Housewives Associations), later Aktive Kvinder i Danmark (Active Women in Denmark), was established on 15 May 1920 as the central organization covering the many local housewives associations in Denmark. The first of these was Københavns Husmoderforening (Copenhagen's Housewives Association) which was established in 1917. The author Thit Jensen was responsible for founding the Copenhagen association as we all the DDH.Over the years, the DDH became the country's largest organization for housewives, reaching a membership of some 10,000 by 2005. It later became known as Aktive Kvinder i Danmark but was dissolved in 2009.The organization set out to support, protect and promote the role of the home for practical, social and ethical purposes, recognizing above all the importance of housework carried out by women. The DDF and the associations it represented focused on mainly middle-class women in cities, in parallel to the rural women's household associations established for the farming community. Education, which became a major concern, led in 1934 to the establishment of Marthaforbundet (The Martha Federabtion) which offered a three-year theoretical and practical course in housekeeping for young women. The association was also instrumental in establishing a course in housekeeping at Aarhus University in 1945.The initial emphasis on the role of women in the home evolved in the 1960s when women increasingly entered the labour market. This later brought about changes in the name of the association, first in 1997 to DDH Forening af Aktive Kvinder (DDH Association of Active Women) and in 2001 to Aktive Kvinder i Danemark (Active Women in Denmark), the focus shifting to the part women played in public health, nutrition and childcare and as well as their social and economic responsibility for consumer issues. But as membership seriously declined, the association was dissolved in 2009.Death and the Mother
Death and the Mother (Danish: Døden og moderen) is a sculpture created by the Danish sculptor Niels Hansen Jacobsen. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Story of a Mother, it depicts a Grim Reaper figure, in a dynamic pose, carrying a scythe, striding over a mother with a dead child crouching on the ground. The original plaster model is in the holdings of the Danish National Gallery while two bronze castings are located outside St. Peter's Church in Copenhagen and Vejen Art Museum.Eliteserien (disambiguation)
Eliteserien (literally, "The Elite League") is the official or unofficial name of various sport leagues in Norway. In most sports, Elitserien is the highest league, and may refer to:
Eliteserien i fotball, previously known as Tippeligaen, the highest football league for men
Eliteserien i ishockey, known as GET-ligaen, the highest icehockey league
Eliteserien i håndball
Eliteserien (men's handball), the highest handball league for men
Eliteserien (women's handball), the highest handball league for women
Eliteserien i futsal, Norwegian Futsal Premier League, the highest futsal league
Eliteserien i bandy, the highest bandy league, see Norwegian Bandy Premier League
Eliteserien i volleyball, the highest volleyball league
The former name of Toppserien, the highest football league for womenIn Denmark:
The former name of AL-Bank Ligaen, the highest icehockey leagueEva Steiness
Eva Steiness née Uhl (born 1941) is a Danish physician, former university professor and businessperson who has been active in Scandinavia's pharmaceutical industry since the late 1990s. She is currently CEO of Serodus ASA, a biomedical company based in Oslo which develops drugs for the treatment of diabetes. In 1982, Steiness became the first women to be appointed dean of Copenhagen University's faculty of medicine and in 1985, she became the first women in Denmark to become a full professor in the medical field with her appointment at Aarhus University.Little Gunver
Little Gunver (Danish: Liden Gunver) is a song and fictional character in Johannes Ewald and Johann Hartmann's singspiel The Fishermen (Danish: Fiskerne) which premiered at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen in 1780. It is also the name of a bronze sculpture by Theobald Stein in Rosenborg Castle Garden.
The Fishermen was partly inspired by true events which had taken place a few years earlier. A group of fishermen from Hornbæk saved the crew from a wrecked British ship and later refused to receive the customary reward. Instead a nobleman granted them an annual amount for the rest of their lives.Louise Westergaard
Louise Westergaard (1826–1880) was a Danish reform pedagogue and pioneer on women's education.
Her parents were surgeon Jens Anton Westergaard (1791-1829) and Johanne Wilhelmine Louise Bentzen (1799-1856). Working as a governess, she graduated as a seminar teacher from the Højere Dannelsesanstalt for Damer of Annestine Beyer in 1851. From 1858 to 1880, she managed a progressive girl school in Copenhagen, regarded as one of the foremost educational institutions for women in Denmark aside from that of her contemporary Natalie Zahle.
She was also active as a writer and translator. In 1853, she had a Thesis of her own printed and published in the press, which was also awarded by the University of Copenhagen, likely the first for a woman in Denmark, though this was not written as a part of any formal university study, which was at that time not yet allowed.May Lorna O'Brien
May Lorna O'Brien BEM (born 20 May 1932) is an Australian educator and author.
Born in Laverton, Western Australia, at the age of five she was removed to the Mount Margaret Aboriginal Mission. In 1953, she received her Teacher's Certificate at Claremont Teachers College. She was the first known Aboriginal woman in Western Australia to graduate from a tertiary institution. After teaching for 25 years she moved into education policy, working for the Western Australian Ministry of Education and the Aboriginal Education Branch.
She was awarded the British Empire Medal on 31 December 1977 for work in Aboriginal education. For this she was also awarded the John Curtin Medal. She was a delegate for Australia at the United Nations Conference on Women in Denmark in 1980.
Her publications include:
Education for Aborigines (co-author), Aboriginal Consultative Group to the Australian Schools Commission, 1976
Aboriginal Access to and use of Technical and Further Education, 1976
The Badudu series of children's books
The Bawoo series of traditional teaching stories in bi-lingual textMinister for Gender Equality (Denmark)
The Minister for Gender Equality (Danish: Ligestillingsministeriet, literally Ministry for Equality) is a Danish ministry that works on improving equal gender rights across all other ministry areas. The first Minister for Gender Equality was appointed by the Prime Minister on July 1, 1999.Natalie Zahle
Natalie Zahle (11 June 1827 – 11 August 1913) was a Danish reform pedagogue and pioneer of women's education. She founded N. Zahle's School in 1851.Nicotine gum
Nicotine gum is a type of chewing gum that delivers nicotine to the body. It is used as an aid in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a process for smoking cessation and quitting smokeless tobacco. The nicotine is delivered to the bloodstream via absorption by the tissues of the mouth.
It is currently available over-the-counter in Europe, the US and elsewhere. The pieces are usually available in individual foil packages and come in various flavors. Nicotine content is usually either 2 or 4 mg of nicotine, roughly the nicotine content of one sixth to one third of a cigarette, with the appropriate content and dosage depending on the smoking habits of the user. Popular brands include Nicotex, Nicorette, Nicogum, Nicotinell and Zonnic.
Alternative nicotine replacement products include the nicotine patch, nicotine pastilles/lozenges and the nicotine inhaler.The Humane Nurse
The Humane Nurse (Danish: Den Humane Sygeplejerske) is a monument to Danish nurses located in front of the old main entrance to Bispebjerg Hospital, with Lersø Park as a backdrop, in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was unveiled in 1941 and depicts a uniformed nurse holding a somewhat obstinate infant in her arms.Timeline of women in Denmark
This is a timeline of women in Denmark, noting important events in Danish women's history.´Toreby
Toreby is a village in Guldborgsund Municipality on the Danish island of Lolland. It is located 6 km (3.7 mi) west of Nykøbing Falster and 11 km (6.8 mi) east of Sakskøbing. It had a population of 617 as of January 1st 2015. The main road through the town is known as Torebyvej.Winnie Liljeborg
Winnie Liljeborg (formerly Winnie Dahl and Winnie Enevoldsen) is a Danish businesswoman, investor and philanthropist. She was one of the founders of Pandora and is now one of the wealthiest women in Denmark with a net worth of DKK 4.9 billion.Women's Museum, Aarhus
Kvindemuseet i Danmark or Kvindemuseet (English: Women's Museum), is a history museum in Aarhus, Denmark focused on the cultural history of women in Denmark. Kvindemuseet was founded in 1982 and is housed in the former Aarhus City Hall, built in 1857. As of 2012, the museum operated on a budget of DKK 10 million from state, municipal and private funding. There is a café and bakery at Kvindemuseet.
Part of the Kingdom of Denmark
|States with limited|