TEDxOdenseWomen – a small piece in a larger puzzle
Denmark is often referred to an egalitarian utopia in many countries and cultures. It has a flat hierarchical structure, where the arbitrary distance from citizen to elected official is rather short for a traditional Western country. There are many things we can be proud of: Denmark was the first nation to legalize same-sex registered partnership, passed women’s right to vote in 1915 and already elected four women to the parliament three years later, currently has a female prime minister in office, and statistics indicate that more women currently pursue higher education than men.
So, what does an event like TEDxOdenseWomen have to bring to the table in today’s society in Denmark?
If we look below just a small fraction of the, usually pretty stellar, conditions for women in Denmark, we see a murkier picture.
Although almost twice as many women were admitted to Copenhagen University in 2016, only two out of ten professors at national universities are women. We may have a female prime minister, but she is not only merely the second woman in that position in all of Denmark’s history (out of a total of 42 prime ministers since the introduction of constitutional monarchy in 1849), she is also part of the only little above ⅓ of the Danish parliament’s female elected officials. We may have allowed same-sex civil unions since 1989, but not until 2010 were common law on adoption rights and custody applied to same-sex marriages, and not until 2012 were same-sex couples granted the right to a traditional wedding ceremony conducted by a church official.
Just to name a few.
Any kind of prejudice and discrimination—whether it be gender, sexual orientation, race, age, ability, religious belief, or other—is systemic. It is embedded in cultural norms, gaps in wages, our language, the ability to get a job, to feel safe, to be taken serious, and in the very worst cases, it infringes upon a person’s human rights.
And change is slow, late, and often not distinct, effective, or enough.
It’s the general belief that Denmark is doing pretty well. And we are! We have come far, and we are, in the eyes of many, indeed egalitarian and utopian. But just because something works, doesn’t mean you can’t improve upon it.
That’s what TEDxOdenseWomen is here to do. TEDxOdenseWomen is small piece in a larger puzzle that puts women in the cultural, professional, and public spotlight, where men have dominated for most of history. We believe it is time to focus on the Bold and Brilliant endeavors that powerful, visionary, and entrepreneurial women have. There’s a vastness of unexplored and unnoticed talent in Denmark and in the women of this country, that we think it’s high time to celebrate.