Denmark’s Role in Equal Futures Partnership: Aarhus Perspective

This post originally appeared on Aarhus Blog.

In September, the United States established the Equal Futures partnership for the purpose of expanding women’s political and economic participation. In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, President Obama stated that “We should each announce the steps we are taking to break down economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls.”

Denmark has pledged to –

Assess possibilities for improving the gender balance in Danish companies. Denmark will also implement new measures to reduce gender-based violence, focusing on increasing the awareness on violence in the family and capacity-building among municipal authorities and front line staff. In addition, Denmark will work to enhance political and civic participation of ethnic minority women in Denmark through mentorship programs and support for ethnic minority women’s entrepreneurship and businesses.

According to Helle Neergaard, a Professor in the Department of Business Administration, ”there is a very easy solution – equal access/right to maternity/paternity leave. Right now as the rules are, the mother is favoured over the father and it has negative consequences not only in the workplace (businesses do not choose young women of childbearing age for jobs even if they are as qualified because they will go on maternity leave) and second in the home, where children do not have an equal relationship to their fathers.”

She adds that she believes “it is wrong to support ethnic minority women’s entrepreneurship, when we are not supporting women’s entrepreneurship at large – I do not think that ethnic minority women are more disadvantaged in this respect than native Danish women.”

Whether or not the Equal Futures partnership accomplishes anything remains to be seen.

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