The texts are selected in order to shed light on the historical developments in women’s representation in municipal councils, and thus also provide an insight into developments in gender research in the political sciences over the past 25 years.
Danish political history is characterised by slow and uneven developments in women’s representation, by women’s representation rates being higher in Parliament than on municipal councils, and by the fact that the women’s movement has played a central part in the struggle for a higher degree of women’s representation.
Causes for low women’s representation and sluggish development have accordingly been central themes for researchers, along with the question of which strategies the women’s movement, the political parties, and national and international gender equality institutions have developed in their efforts to have more women elected.
Drude Dahlerup’s Vi har ventet længe nok – håndbog i kvinderepræsentation (We Have Waited Long Enough – Handbook for Women’s Representation), Nordic Council of Ministers, 1988, is a pioneering work that had a major impact across the Nordic countries. Text 1 is an excerpt from the book’s second chapter: “Recruitment and Elections”.
Since the publication of Dahlerup’s book, Women’s representation has been a focus area of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ research programme. The most recent example is the project Gender and Power in the Nordic Countries, under whose auspices Drude Dahlerup has contributed a survey of theses on barriers to women’s representation.
In the period leading up to the 2005 structural reform and merger of municipalities, which reduced the number of municipalities in Denmark from 271 to 98, the Ministry for Gender Equality requested a study of possible effects on women’s representation. The study’s results are summarised in Text 2: Ann-Dorte Christensen, Women's Representation in Local Politics. The Neglected Achilles' Heel of Gender Equality in Denmark, KVINFO, 2009.
The latest municipal elections are analysed in Elklit, Jørgen & Kjær, Ulrik (eds.) KV09. Analyser af kommunalvalget 2009 (ME09. Analyses of the 2009 Municipal Elections), Odense University Press, 2013. One of the chapters from the book is this collection’s Text 3: Ulrik Kjær, After the first 100 years: Women in the Danish municipal politics 1909-2009. It contains an up to date overview of 100 years of women’s representation history.
About the Contributors
Ann-Dorte Christensen is a Ph.D. and professor of sociology at Aalborg University. She is an expert on political sociology and has contributed to several publications on social movements, citizenship and political identities.
Drude Dahlerup is a professor of Political Science at Stockholm University, Sweden. She is an expert on gender and politics and operates the global website quotaproject.org together with International IDEA and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Ulrik Kjær is a Ph.D. and Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark. He is an expert on local elections and local government studies. He has written several books and given lectures on local elections and democracy.