Women should be open to being conscripted into the military in light of the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Denmark’s defence minister suggested this week.
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, the deputy prime minister and minister of defence of Denmark said that at present, the NATO country is unable to defend itself and therefore should seek to expand the ranks of it’s armed forces.
Appearing on TV2, the defence minister said that this effort should include expanding conscription, including drafting women into the military. Ellemann-Jensen, of the centre-right Liberal Party, said that the country cannot merely rely on volunteers and therefore should consider changing laws surrounding conscription to allow everyone, including women, to be eligible for the draft, the Copenhagen Post reported.
“The armed forces would benefit from more women coming,” he said, going on to warn that “if Putin wins this war, he will continue… He must lose.”
The defence minister’s comments drew some pushback in Denmark, including from within the Social Democrat party of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, the second woman to serve as the elected leader of the country.
Social Democrat Simon Kollerup said that while he would like to increase the number of women in the military, he did not agree with the idea of conscripting females, claiming that there should be a “more modern way of approaching the challenge of gender equality in the Armed Forces.”
At present, all healthy men are summoned to ‘Defence Day’ in Denmark in which they draw numbers for possible conscription. Those who draw between 1-8,000 are eligible to be forced to serve in the military, even in peacetime, for a four to 12 month term. Women are invited to enter into the draw if they wish however, they are not required to participate.
The Scandinavian country currently has between 7,000-9,000 professional troops, in addition to the conscripts going through their basic training term.
The idea of forcing women into the military has drawn some support from within the armed forces community, including its largest trade union, the Central Association of Armed Forces Personnel, as well as the Conscription Council and Female Veterans.
It has also backed by the third member of the governing coalition, the Moderates, with Culture Minister Jakob Engel-Schmidt saying: “The Moderates have always believed that conscription – just like civic duty – should apply to both women and men.”
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