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Income and gender equality in Denmark

Denmark has some of the world's lowest income inequality. And when it comes to gender equality, women play a prominent role in business, while men get involved in childraising. 

The cultural importance of equality

Denmark is among the countries with the world's lowest income inequality, according to the OECD, which looks at income inequality as measured by the GINI coefficient across all 35 member states. It also has the lowest poverty rate among the OECD countries, where poverty is measured as the percentage of people who receive less than half the median national income. 

Equality is important to the Danes. The Danish governing coalition almost always includes a Minister for Equality. 

Culturally, equality is also a deeply ingrained value in Denmark. The fictional, but much-discussed, Law of Jante contains dictates such as "Don't think you're better than we are" and "Don't think you are anyone special." Danish schools avoid ranking students according to their achievements.

Gender equality in Denmark

Denmark scores well on the World Economic Forum's gender equality index. Women in Denmark generally work outside the home and pursue careers while raising a family, assisted by the country's generous parental leave and tax-subsidised daycare.

Women are well-represented in Denmark's government. About 40 % of the representatives in Denmark's parliament, the Folketing, are female, and so are many of the country's ministers. Denmark's first female prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, took office in 2011. 

Women's influence in Danish politics is nothing new. In 1924, Nina Bang became the world’s first female minister in a country with parliamentary democracy. 

Since Danish women now receive more advanced university degrees than men, their advancement seems likely to continue in the years ahead. 

Danish men also benefit from gender equality. They get more time with their families than in many other countries. Parental leave after the birth of a child can be split between parents, and limited workdays mean it is often the father who picks up children from daycare and prepares the evening meal. 

A recent OECD survey showed that Danish men do more housework than in any other country in the world, although they still do slightly less than Danish women.  

Did you know

Parental leave is generous in Denmark. Women receive paid leave for four weeks before a baby's birth and 14 weeks after. Men receive paid leave for two weeks after the birth, and then the parents split up to 32 weeks paid leave.

LGBTI+ rights in Denmark

Being gay in Denmark is no big deal. The country legalised same-sex marriage in 2012, and same-sex partners are treated the same as opposite-sex partners before the law. Several government ministers in same-sex relationships bring their partners to public galas and introduce them to Queen Margrethe II. 

Although it lacks a distinct "gay neighbourhood," Copenhagen is generally considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Its annual Pride Parade is held each year in August.

Denmark is well-known in the transgender community because of the 2015 film The Danish Girl, which is loosely based on the true story of transgender Danish painter Lili Elbe (1882-1931).

Denmark was also the site of one of the first internationally-discussed gender reassignment surgeries in 1951, when American Christine Jorgensen received several treatments from doctors in Copenhagen.