A 1962 law enabled Danish women to join the armed forces. Today only five percent of military personnel are women.
By Katarina Blomqvist, 2006
A 1962 law concerning military personnel opened the door for women to join the Danish armed forces. It was not until 1971, however, that the first women actually entered military service.
As service in combat troops, commando or artillery units is often a precondition for making a career in the army, women experienced difficulty in gaining promotion.
When parliament passed a law in 1978 pertaining to equal employment opportunities for men and women, the Ministry of Defence was granted exemption from the legislation.
It was not until 1988 that women were allowed to serve in the actual combat units of the defence forces. In 1992 women were granted the right to train as fighter pilots and in 1993 the opportunity to serve in the Danish International Brigade.
The final step towards official equality in the defence forces was taken in 1998 when women were granted the opportunity to undertake voluntary military service on a contractual basis or under conditions similar to those applying to men doing their compulsory military service.
That the Danish military is legally signed up to gender equality does not mean that the armed forces is a gender-balanced workplace. Today, approximately 5% of defence personnel employed on a contractual basis are women. In recent years, the defence forces have run recruitment drives to attract more women applicants