Denmark to introduce conscription for women

The country’s Prime Minister said the policy is aimed at boosting the number of young people in its armed forces.
denmark conscription women

Denmark’s government will introduce conscription (mandatory military service) for women.

Neighbouring countries Norway and Sweden began conscripting women in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Now, women in Denmark will be issued mandatory service notices too.

The country’s Prime Minister said the policy is aimed at boosting the number of young people in its armed forces.


Denmark, a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), is expanding its military in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the country will send troops to Russia’s border with Finland, which became a NATO member in 2023.

NATO countries must come to the defence of their fellow members if attacked. Finland has called on its European neighbours to strengthen their defences.

Conscription in Denmark

Under current laws, men over 18 can be ordered to serve in Denmark’s armed forces. Women, who can volunteer to serve, make up around 25% of the Danish military.

Conscripts, chosen through a lottery process, are issued a digital notice to attend Denmark’s National Defence Day. There, they must complete a written test and undergo a health exam to determine if they are “suitable for military service”.

Anyone who receives a notice and does not attend is reported to the police and fined.

Defence minister’s comments

“Unfortunately, the security policy situation in Europe has become more and more serious, and we have to take that into account when we look at future defence,“ Denmark’s Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said.

Poulsen is part of the majority coalition of parties in Denmark’s one house of Parliament. The law including women in the conscription process is expected to pass, and will take effect from 2026.

Poulsen said “more robust” conscriptions were needed to shore up Europe’s defences against Russia.

“We are not arming to go to war. We are arming ourselves to ensure peace.”

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.