Denmark to draft women into armed forces News, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Denmark to draft women into armed forces

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced Wednesday that Denmark plans to draft women into the country’s armed forces for the first time. Under current law, only men are required to register for the draft. 

Frederiksen cited a desire to achieve “full equality between the sexes” as one of the drivers behind the proposed reform. According to a press release from the Danish Ministry of Defence, the goal of the new plan is to ensure “that all young Danes declared fit for military service will be treated equally in regards to conscription—regardless of gender.” 

Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said the new system would require a change in the law, which he said will happen in 2025 and take effect in 2026. This will likely require a change in the country’s Constitution, of which section 81 reads, “Every male person able to bear arms shall be liable with his person to contribute to the defence of his country under such rules as are laid down by statute.” The new plan will also require a change to the Conscription Act, of which section 1 reads,  “Every Danish man is subject to conscription.” Currently, the law does not obligate women to enter the national lottery through which men are drafted into the armed forces.

Frederiksen also announced at the same press conference that the country intends to extend conscription from four months to 11 months. She stated, “We do not rearm because we want war. We are rearming because we want to avoid it.” 

The Ministry of Defense indicated that the new plan is in response to the “current security situation.” The ministry also went on the explicitly mention Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, and Denmark’s obligation to the NATO alliance. Poulsen said, “It is vital that we react now, together with our Allies, in order to deter a resurgent Russia. Therefore, we must fast-track investments in key military capabilities.”