Gerlev Sports Academy workshop raises eyebrows (and questions) about the status of gender equality in an egalitarian country

By Veronika Mikhaylenko, ISCA

On 14 February, Gerlev Sports Academy (Gerlev Idrætshøjskole), as a part of the Future MOVE project, held a workshop for its 140 students led by the guest facilitator, Danish feminist and activist Cathrine Berendt, who has been doing impressive work collecting statistics on gender equality in Denmark. On her blog @kvindekenddinstat, she shares latest research data and breaks some stereotypes and assumptions about Danish society, aiming to fight against biased perceptions of woman’s roles with compelling numbers. 

During the workshop she presented some surprising facts, including that 58% of men in Denmark believe that gender equality has been achieved, whereas 20% of them think that it has gone too far, viewing the existence of the Ministry for Gender Equality “as unnecessary at best and potentially damaging at worst”. At the same time, only 29% of managerial positions in Denmark and are held by women, and sadly, every fifth female local politician has experienced harassment in their workplace. It was surprising to learn that Denmark ranks only in 23rd place in terms of a worldwide assessment of gender equality, and at this rate it is estimated that it will take up to 133 years to reach full equality.

ISCA’s Youth Officers had the opportunity to join in the workshop and witness the lively debates the students got engaged in, where they raised questions about different perceptions of equality and feminism, the wage gap between females and males, career and family choices. While some questions did not have one concrete answer, some of the students were brave enough to express themselves and deviate from the popular opinion, making their own arguments. This open approach is part of creating a safe space at the school, which allows for a plurality of views. The topic was of great interest to the students and definitely raised their awareness of the disparity that Denmark still faces and the causes behind it. Catherine highlighted the importance of becoming educated on the issue to be able to challenge gender stereotypes and mindsets towards build an equal society,

ISCA received a warm welcome from the school administration and students, who organised a tour around their facilities. It was impressive to see how the students study, live, play and share the same space whilst taking care of it. Girls and boys cooperate closely, building a community and enjoying sports and physical activities together. Before the workshop, we were also able to join the students for their morning singing session and learn from one of them about his experience of a traineeship with firefighting service, which is part of their curriculum.

We hope to have more opportunities to cooperate with Gerlev Sports Academy in the future and help promote their best practices of educating the youth about the most pressing issues in our society.

Find out more about the Future MOVE project

Photos by Julia Lisewska, ISCA

Posted on 29/02/2024 by Veronika Mikhaylenko, ISCA