Denmark proposed Thursday to make military service compulsory for women amid rising criticism from its Western allies over its defense shortcomings.
The plan was unveiled by Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen in an interview with local media.
With tensions rising in the region since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war last February, the Nordic country aspires to increase the size of its military.
The minister said that while the inclusion of women in the armed forces will help the country meet its NATO requirements, their presence will also be “beneficial” for the military. At present, Danish women can join the military voluntarily, while men are legally mandated to serve for a maximum of four months if they are called up under a lottery system.
The announcement was made after the Defense Ministry published the conclusions of a biannual NATO review which expressed reservations over Denmark’s failure to invest in its military forces according to geostrategic requirements.
The ministry, unlike in the past, has not shared the full report on the grounds of the “current security policy situation and Russia’s aggression.”
Denmark has set an ambitious target for a one-time increase of 4.5 billion kroner ($659 million) in defense spending to reach 2% of its gross domestic product by 2030. According to its commitments to NATO, Denmark is expected to form an elite infantry brigade (1st Brigade) by 2032.
Earlier this week, Denmark committed to donating 19 French-made Caesar howitzer artillery systems to Ukraine at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.