There’s a perception that Denmark is one of the most feminist-friendly nations in the world, so it comes as no small surprise that a new study found that in a poll of 23 countries asking women if they consider themselves to be feminist, Denmark came in near the bottom of the list.
The poll, conducted by the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project in partnership with The Guardian, found only one-sixth of Danes thought they were feminists. Moreover, one-third of Danes were just fine with men wolf-whistling at women. Additionally, only roughly 40% of Danes supported the #MeToo movement.
One 37-year-old Danish woman told The Guardian: “It’s a difficult question. What is a modern feminist? I don’t want to be equal in all senses.” She said of wolf-whistling, “I don’t mind it so long as it’s done in a nice way. I see it as a compliment, actually. A lot of Danish women say that they would like men to to be more like in southern Europe and tell you how nice you look.”
Rikke Andreassen, Professor of Communication Studies at Roskilde University told The Guardian, “We have had a culture where what you say isn’t racist or sexist if you don’t intend it to be. You can grab a woman, but so long as you did it because it was ‘fun’, then culturally we tend to think it’s not that bad.” She added, “A lot of people have been writing about whether it’s really true that women are being harassed, or that women are being too sensitive. And they’ve focused a lot of what would happen to a man who has been falsely accused.”
The poll found that 46% of Swedes regarded themselves as feminists. The Daily Mail noted, “This is not the first time the country’s stance on female equality has fallen under scrutiny. In 2014, a study conducted by the Fundamental Rights Agency, found that 47 per cent of Danish women had suffered violence since the age of 15.”
As The Murmur has previously reported, feminism is not strong in Denmark:
In 2011, the Swedish preschool “Egalia” caught international attention by abandoning the gender specific pronouns “him” and “her.” Instead, all the children were referred to as “hen.” Hen is quickly becoming a normalized term in the Swedish language and was included in the Swedish dictionary last year. … Unsurprisingly, the controversial school invited mockery from its snickering neighbors across the Øresund. Only 27 percent of Danes identify as feminists versus 52 percent of Swedes, according to a recent poll by DR program Debatten.
JutlandStation reported in March:
Many recognize Scandinavia as the most gender-equal region in the world. Still, Denmark ranks 14th in the Gender Equality Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF), far from its neighbors Norway, Finland, and Sweden, that are among the top 5. According to the feminist lawyer Zen Donen, board member of the Everyday Sexism Project Denmark, there is one key factor that constrains the Danish society in particular into becoming more equal. “You have a society where everybody agrees that we are ‘very equal’ then it gets challenging to talk about problems we still have,” says Donen.