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Danish Female leadership

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen arrives for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, February 21, 2020. (Ludovic Marin, Pool Photo via AP) from www.timesofisrael.com

Mette Frederiksen is a Danish politician who has been Prime Minister of Denmark since June 2019 and Social Democratic Leader since June 2015.  She is the second woman to become the Prime Minister of Denmark and the youngest woman in Danish history. Helle Thorning-Schmidt was the first female Prime Minister (from 2011 to 2015), also leader of the Social Democrats, Mette Frederiksen follows in his footsteps. Denmark is a Scandinavian state with 5.8 million inhabitants.

Born in 1977 in Aalborg, Denmark, Mette became the first generation of her family to attend university. She earned a degree in business administration and social sciences, and a Master of Science degree in African studies from Copenhagen university and Aalborg university. Metta completed her studies when she already held a seat in Folketinget, Denmark’s parliament. She joined politics at a young age at the age of 15, becoming a member of, becoming a member of the Social Democratic Youth Organization. she is the 4th generation of a Social Democratic family that has been active in both the trade union and the party. Mette became a member of the Danish Parliament when she was only 24 in 2001 as the youngest member up until then. She went on to be the party’s spokesperson on social policy, equality of opportunity, culture and media in 2005. From 2005 to 2011, she served as vice-president of the Social Democrats in Folketinget. She became minister of Employment in 2011 and then minister of justice in 2014. Mette had to work hard in these ministries, especially not after ten years of a Liberal government, whose views had seeped into the upper strata of the public service.

As Prime Minister, she is able to manage a great deal through her education and experience. For example, Mette managed the COVID-19 pandemic better than many other countries because she acted earlier than later. In her words,  “Virus is so aggressive, and we have so little knowledge, this is a new situation and for some decisions we cannot wait for evidence based knowledge to make a decision, we have to act before it is too late.” Through her leadership, Denmark has also become one of the first countries in Europe to partially reopen the country.

Mette has high regard for Danish values:  Trust in Danish society, that people trust each other, that they feel secure and that public institutions look after them. She always want to protect the values, and once she said, “I pay my taxes and expect that others pay theirs as well, and when I get ill or am in need, I expect the welfare state to take care of me.”.

Further, Mette stated that the values of the Danish welfare state were under pressure and that she wanted to defend and improve the welfare state. “A Dane must be able to trust that the welfare state he or she has paid to upkeep through the taxes paid is also there when needed in their old age, that there are enough hands in the public institutions, in the hospitals or the old people’s homes.”

Mette’s concern for children and the welfare of the population is equally important. She presented a plan called “Law of Children”, in order to put the children at front in social cases, including giving municipalities more resources to take children away from violent parents, and give children more rights in divorce cases. She also reached an agreement with the other political parties in order to give people who have worked for a long time the opportunity to take early retirement.

Mette’s fight for women’s rights is mind-boggling and she is an outspoken opponent of prostitution. For many years, she strongly advocated a ban on sex buying, as in Iceland, Norway and Sweden.  In 2002, she opened the debate on the prohibition of prostitution, “work for a ban on the purchase of sexual services”, saying that prostitution caused mental health damage to the prostitute. Mette’s policies towards mass immigrants are different from those of the leftist leader.  It shows that her intention to resolve the problem without creating a heavy burden on Danes who pay a higher tax on their welfare system.

“Mette gained international attention in August 2019, when President of the United States  Donald Trump cancelled a state visit to Denmark following her refusal to sell Greenland, an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. On August 15, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had talked about buying Greenland with aid. Kim Kielsen, Prime Minister of Greenland, replied that Greenland is not for sale. On 18 August, after the rumor had been confirmed by the White House, Mette echoed Kielsen’s comments, claiming “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland”, and called the discussion “absurd” On 20 August, Trump cancelled the state visit, scheduled 2-3 September, with specific reference to Mette’s refusal to discuss a possible sale”.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is a leading woman in the world who fights and works for the advantages and justice of the country and its subjects.  Some of her decisions and actions are also inspirational to young women interested in politics.

Dewondara Arachchi
Dewondara Arachchi
Social and Political Analyser, Writer

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