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Amid Russia threat, Denmark to draft women, extend military service

Women currently make up around a quarter of Danish conscripts.
Amid Russia threat, Denmark to draft women, extend military service
Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark, joined the Home Guard, which supports the Armed Forces, police and emergency services, voluntarily in 2008. Photo: Daily Mail
Amid Russia threat, Denmark to draft women, extend military service

Denmark will conscript women for military service and extend service from 4 to 11 months for both genders due to the threat of war with Russia, announced Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. 

“We do not rearm because we want war. We are rearming because we want to avoid it,” Frederiksen told a press conference. She said the government wants ”full equality between the sexes.”

While women can already volunteer for Denmark’s military, they currently make up only around a quarter of conscripts. The planned changes for 2026 will make Denmark the third European nation, alongside Norway and Sweden, to require women to serve in the armed forces.

The plan involves boosting basic training from 4 to 5 months, with the remaining 6 months dedicated to specialized skills training. Denmark aims to increase its pool of 4,700 conscripts by 300 annually, supplementing its 9,000 professional troops.

Frederiksen announced a nearly $6 billion increase in defense spending over the next five years to meet NATO targets, raising the budget from 1.4% to 2% of GDP amid heightened security concerns.

The Danish royal family itself has significant military experience, with Prince Joachim serving in the Royal Life Guards as a reserve major, and Prince Henrik holding the ranks of general and admiral after infantry service in Algeria from 1959-1962. The reigning monarch, King Frederik X, is a major general.

As a NATO member with a population of nearly 6 million, Denmark is reinforcing its defensive capabilities to counter potential Russian aggression in the region.

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