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Denmark’s equality minister criticises party for celebrating all-female MPs

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Denmark’s equality minister criticises party for celebrating all-female MPs
All of Denmark's Alternative party's six current MPs are female. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

The government’s minister for equality has criticised opposition party Alternative after it celebrated becoming the first party in the history of the Danish parliament to be represented solely by female MPs.

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A social media post by the party, celebrating its status as the first party to have an all-female parliamentary group, has been criticised by Minister for Equality Marie Bjerre of the centre-right Liberals (Venstre).

Bjerre said the post was insensitive and gave the impression men weren’t welcome in Alternative, a left-wing party with an environmentalist platform.

“It should never be the aim to have a group consisting only of women. It sends the signal that men aren’t as welcome and this polarises the fight for equality,” Bjerre said.

The post from Alternative, published on Facebook on Thursday, used the text “today is an historic day”.

The party’s MPs are now all women – albeit temporarily – after Nikoline Erbs Hillers-Bendtsen was approved as a stand-in for Torsten Gejl, who is on sick leave due to stress.

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The remaining MPs in Alternative’s six seats are lead political spokesperson Franciska Rosenkilde along with Helene Liliendahl Brydensholt, Sascha Faxe, Christina Olumeko and Theresa Scavenius.

Rosenkilde told news wire Ritzau on Thursday that she considered a fully female parliamentary group to be a positive thing because there is still a male majority in parliament overall.

But an “optimal” team of MPs for the party would include men, she said when asked.

“Yes absolutely [male MPs should be included, ed.]. We are fighting for equality for all genders,” she said.

Bjerre said that it was unthinkable to “celebrate a parliamentary group with only men”.

In a written comment, Rosenkilde later said “Alternative has never wanted a 100 percent female parliamentary group.”

“This is purely the decision of the voters, since we had an equal number of male and female candidates,” she said.

“We are simply marking a historic moment that took 105 years to reach – you might think that our Minister for Equality would acknowledge that,” she said.

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