United Nations


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Distr.: General

25 February 2021

Original: English

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Seventy-eighth session

Summary record of the 1797th meeting*

Held via videoconference on Monday, 22 February 2021, at 12.30 p.m. Central European Time

Chair:Ms. Acosta Vargas


Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

Ninth periodic report of Denmark

The meeting was called to order at 12.30 p.m.

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention

Ninth periodic report of Denmark (CEDAW/C/DNK/9; CEDAW/C/DNK/Q/9; and CEDAW/C/DNK/RQ/9)

At the invitation of the Chair, the delegation of Denmark joined the meeting.

Ms. Hansen (Denmark), introducing her country’s ninth periodic report (CEDAW/C/DNK/9), said that successive governments had continuously improved legislation with a view to achieving gender equality. Consequently, men and women had the same formal rights, obligations and opportunities in society.

The Government of Denmark was currently led by a woman and, in general, women enjoyed equal opportunities in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres. Despite Denmark having one of the most gender-equal societies in the world, the Government fully acknowledged that women continued to lag behind men in a number of areas.

Combating violence against women remained a key priority for the Government. The Danish parliament had recently passed new rape legislation criminalizing sex without explicit consent. A nationwide information campaign had been launched to raise public awareness of the new legislation and of a new national hotline for rape victims. The teaching guidelines on sexuality education were also being updated.

In 2020, the parliament had allocated funds to strengthen support services for female victims of intimate partner violence. Additional permanent shelters for battered women had been opened and funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing ambulatory counselling services for victims had been increased. Furthermore, victims in shelters were now entitled by law to 10 hours of free psychological counselling. During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, further funding had been allocated to expand counselling and treatment programmes and to increase the capacity of shelters across the country. In 2019, the parliament had passed new legislation criminalizing psychological violence. Training on psychological violence had been dispensed to police officers and prosecutors, and a related awareness-raising campaign had been launched.

A survey on the prevalence of psychological violence against women would be conducted in 2021. Amendments had been introduced to the legislation on such violence, aimed at making the act of forcing women to remain in a civil, religious or other marriage against their will a crime. A proposal had also been made to criminalize the religious marriage of minors and to empower authorities to withdraw or refuse to issue a Danish passport or travel document to children deemed to be at risk of forced marriage abroad. The parliament had decided to allocate 10 million Danish kroner (DKr) each year until 2024 in order to combat such practices, provide support services for victims and train professionals.

The Government maintained that it was the right of all women to decide freely on matters related to their body and that neither religion nor culture could be used to limit their rights. The myth surrounding the hymen as a mark of virginity was still used to suppress women and their sexuality. In 2019, the parliament had introduced a ban on reconstructing a hymen by surgical means.

Online sexual harassment and abuse had the effect of limiting the freedom of expression of women and girls. A campaign on online harassment had been launched to inform young people about penalties for indecent exposure online, non-consensual sharing of private images and pornographic image manipulation.

Regrettably, sexual harassment, especially of younger women in low-paid jobs, remained widespread in Danish society. In late 2020, the Government had launched new initiatives to combat that phenomenon, including a dialogue with the social partners on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Steps were being taken to raise public awareness of the services and guidance provided by the Working Environment Authority, including its harassment hotline. A nationwide whistle-blower mechanism for reporting sexual harassment would be introduced in late 2021. The prevalence of sexual harassment was being monitored through surveys conducted in higher education institutions and workplaces.

In Denmark, the labour market participation rate of women remained high and one third of families had a female breadwinner. Although Danish legislation allowed men and women to share parental leave equally, Danish men still only took around 10 per cent of their statutory parental leave. In view of the advantages associated with a more equal distribution of parental leave, the Government had decided to relaunch a previous campaign to encourage greater uptake by men and to strengthen the relevant legislation as part of the implementation of Directive 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019, on work-life balance for parents and carers, which provided for two months of non-transferable parental leave for fathers.

In an effort to promote more female entrepreneurship, the maternity equalization scheme for maternity, paternity and parental leave for self-employed persons had been reintroduced. As women were still underrepresented in academia, in 2021, DKr 110 million had been allocated to expand the “Inge Lehmann” talent programme in order to promote greater gender balance in research.

The Government was committed to promoting gender balance on company boards and in management positions. Relevant legislation and policies were being reviewed to assess how that goal might achieved more expeditiously in public and private companies. A voluntary diversity tool had been introduced to help ensure that at least one third of the candidates put forward for managerial positions by recruitment agencies were women.

Even though women already accounted for almost 40 per cent of Danish parliamentarians, the Government was still working to provide women with more opportunities to participate in political decision-making bodies.

Initiatives to combat gender segregation in the education system included a yearly nationwide campaign to encourage more girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In 2021, efforts would be devoted to promoting gender equality in vocational education institutions.

Gender equality and women’s rights were at the centre of Danish development cooperation and humanitarian action. The COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the vulnerability of many women and girls, who were increasingly exposed to risks such as sexual and gender-based violence and lacked access to essential health-care services, especially in humanitarian crises. Denmark stood firm in its support for gender equality, as was shown by its co-hosting of the Nairobi Summit in 2019, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the programme of action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development. In late 2020, the Government had launched its fourth, and most ambitious, national action plan to implement Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security.

Ms. Horni (Faroe Islands, Denmark) said that, in recent years, the Faroe Islands had experienced significant economic growth and that, as a result of improved infrastructure, had overcome many of the challenges associated with geographically remote and isolated societies, including brain drain and a deficit of women and young people. The fall in emigration from and the decision of young women to return to the Faroe Islands was attributable to the special social benefits for families with infants, affordable childcare, a targeted gender equality policy, an equal share of paid parental leave and other factors.

However, the growth in the territory’s population had posed some new challenges, especially with regard to housing and the integration of newcomers, many of whom were women. Although a human rights institution had yet to be established in the territory, there were several systems in place to protect citizens’ rights.

Several support packages had been introduced to stem the negative social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Faroese society. Additional resources had also been allocated to the territory’s crisis centre, which had assisted a large number of women during the recent lockdown. In summer 2019, a gender equality office had been set up to mainstream gender equality in all sectors of society, to raise public awareness of gender and equality and to increase the number of women in decision-making positions.

Her government had launched a campaign to prevent domestic violence and to support foreign women living in the Faroe Islands, entitled “Speak Out”. The provisions of the Criminal Code of the Faroe Islands relating to sexual assault had been amended in 2017. The penalty for rape had been increased and the definition of rape had been expanded to include other forms of illegal constraint and abuse of a helpless person, as well as sexual assault within a marriage. A new regulation intended to protect persons from violence, assault and harassment, including stalking, allowed for the expulsion of an abusive person from the home shared with the victim for a certain period of time and set out clear provisions on restraining orders.

Ms. Gant (Greenland, Denmark) said that the government of Greenland had been working diligently to further gender equality. In January 2021, a new law on leave for pregnancy, childbirth or adoption extended pregnancy leave from two to four weeks. Childbirth leave remained at 15 weeks for the mother and 3 weeks for the father or co-mother (in the case of a same-sex couple) within the same 15-week period. However, the parental leave subsequently shareable with the father or co-mother had been extended by 4 weeks to a total of 21 weeks. The limits of 15 weeks and 21 weeks, respectively, had been extended by 4 weeks in the case of a multiple birth. All categories of leave were paid and the right to childbirth leave also applied in adoption cases.

Over the last five or six years, the general unemployment rate for both men and women had decreased sharply from an average of 9.1 per cent in 2015 to 5.1 per cent in 2019. Women were no longer overrepresented in unemployment statistics. The most recent figures showed that, in percentage terms, women were less affected by unemployment than men. Women and girls continued to outperform men and boys in upper secondary, vocational and higher education.

In Greenland, the ratio of female to male cabinet members had improved, with women now accounting for 3 out of 10 ministers. However, the ratio was inferior to that achieved over the period 2009–2017, during which gender parity had been reached. The period 2018–2020 had been an exception to a general upward trend towards gender equality in that sphere. Since 2011, women had occupied the two seats reserved for Greenland in the Danish parliament. At the municipal level, three out of five mayors were women.

Regarding the case of sexual harassment mentioned in the report of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, she wished to point out that criminal charges had been laid and that the case had been brought to court. In January 2021, the District Court had convicted the defendant on four counts of affront to public decency and had sentenced him to 60 days’ imprisonment. Following the conviction, one of the largest political parties in Greenland had announced plans to develop a policy to combat sexual harassment.

Ms. Holck (Denmark) said that the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the country’s national human rights institution, was also the human rights institution of Greenland and worked in close cooperation with the Human Rights Council of Greenland to promote and protect human rights in the territory. While the Government of Denmark was to be commended on the many positive initiatives that it had undertaken to further women’s rights, a number of issues remained unaddressed.

In order to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace, the Institute recommended that the Government should take steps to ensure that an employer could be held liable, under Danish equal treatment law, for acts of sexual harassment committed not only by employees in leadership positions, but also by colleagues and clients, if the employer failed to take sufficient measures to prevent and deal with the sexual harassment.

While the Institute welcomed the adoption of new rape legislation criminalizing sex without explicit consent, it maintained that such a significant legislative advance should be accompanied by awareness-raising and education campaigns for children and young people on issues relating to sex, gender and personal boundaries.

The majority of the 827 persons identified as victims of human trafficking over the period 2007–2018 were women, most of whom had been trafficked for the purpose of prostitution. The number of trafficked persons was probably even higher, as victims did not always contact the public authorities. Moreover, data from the Danish Centre against Human Trafficking showed that the number of charges brought against traffickers had decreased in recent years.

Official statistics showed that fewer women than men ran for and were elected to political office in Denmark. The proportion of women elected to the Danish parliament remained less than 40 per cent, while the proportion of women elected to municipal councils was still only approximately 33 per cent. The Institute therefore recommended that the Government should take measures to promote female representation in politics, especially at the municipal level.

Since 2015, there had been only a slight increase in uptake of parental leave by fathers. The Institute recommended that the Government should take measures to amend Danish legislation on parental leave as part of its efforts to implement the aforementioned European Union directive in order to ensure a more equal distribution of parental leave and the inclusion of different types of family.

In Greenland, the prevalence of violence was significantly higher than elsewhere in Denmark. According to a 2010 survey, 62 per cent of women in Greenland had experienced violence or threats of violence. The Institute and the Human Rights Council of Greenland therefore recommended that the government of Greenland should collect and analyse data on violence against children and women, including persons with disabilities.

Articles 1–6

Ms. Ameline said that she wished to know whether the Government would consider formally incorporating the Convention into its domestic legal order. In view of the fact that the Convention and the Optional Protocol were unevenly implemented in mainland Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, she wondered whether a coordination mechanism might be established to bridge the gaps between them.

The Committee wished to know whether the Government would consider introducing legislation based on the Istanbul Protocol in order to strengthen efforts to tackle all forms of violence against women. It would be interesting to learn whether any changes would be made to the Government’s policy of using gender neutral language in its programmes and policies. Lastly, she asked whether the Government would consider establishing a commission, composed of members of parliament and representatives of civil society, that would monitor the follow-up given to the Committee’s concluding observations.

Ms. Fowler Lund (Denmark) said that the Government was fully committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Convention but did not currently have any plans to incorporate the Convention into its domestic legal order. It should be noted that the Convention was a relevant source of law that was evoked and applied by the Danish courts.

Ms. Appel (Denmark) said that all government ministries were required by law to include the gender perspective in their policies and programmes. Consequently, the majority of the ministries were involved in the process of implementing the Convention. Following the constructive dialogue, interministerial meetings would be held to establish how best to take action in response to the Committee’s concluding observations and monitor the follow-up given to them. The Government would transmit the Committee’s concluding observations to the parliamentary Gender Equality Committee and to NGOs working in the field of gender equality. The Minister for Equal Opportunities would publish the documents issued by the Committee on the Ministry’s website to ensure that the public had access to them.

All laws and policies took account of the need to eliminate gender-based discrimination. Many government initiatives were aimed at promoting equal opportunities for women, including in connection with decision-making positions. Other initiatives were aimed at men, such as a new bill that would require information concerning children to be sent to fathers as well as mothers.

Ms. Ameline said that she wished to know why the Government was not planning to incorporate the Convention into its domestic legal order. In view of the adverse impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had had on levels of inequality, she would welcome information on any measures taken to address that impact and give new impetus to policies intended to enhance equality. The delegation might state whether strategies for reducing inequality would be implemented at both the national and the local level and whether the government of Greenland would be renewing its equality strategy.

She wondered how the Sustainable Development Goals were integrated into the Government’s strategies for enhancing equality, what measures would be taken to strengthen the national human rights institution and whether the institution’s powers would be extended to the Faroe Islands. The Committee wished to know how the European Commission’s recovery plan for Europe would be used to promote equality in the State party and how cooperation with the governments of Greenland and the Faroe Islands would reduce territorial inequalities in the implementation of the new legislation on rape and access to legal aid. Lastly, she wished to know when the Government would begin to generate and make use of statistics broken down by gender, age, ethnic affiliation and other characteristics.

Ms. Peláez Narváez, noting the Government’s claim that gender neutral legislation did not hinder its ability to implement the Convention (CEDAW/C/DNK/RQ/9, para. 18), said that the Committee was concerned that women continued to be underrepresented in the Government, on the boards of companies and elsewhere in public life. In view of that situation, she wished to know whether any plans were in place to introduce a quota system with a view to strengthening the representation of women in decision-making positions. She would welcome information on any temporary special measures taken or envisaged to ensure that women belonging to vulnerable groups were protected against the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Appel (Denmark) said that the Government had a policy on monitoring compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals. Every year, an annual action plan was submitted to the parliament that contained information on the Government’s intentions and plans for the following year. That plan included an evaluation of activities carried out in the previous year that helped to ensure that progress was being made in the area of gender equality at the national level. The regions and municipalities were also required by law to send the government statistics and information on the initiatives that they had taken to promote gender equality.

The Government shared the Committee’s concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women. As most nurses and health-care workers were women, they were in the front line of the battle to control it. The pandemic threatened to exacerbate long-term problems such as the unequal distribution of care responsibilities and the gender pay gap. Right at the start of the pandemic, the Government had realized that women confined to their homes with their partners were exposed to a heightened risk of domestic violence. It had therefore allocated funding to provide extra accommodation in shelters and ensure women’s access to health-care treatment. There had been no discrepancy in the increase in unemployment rates for men and women. Owing to the social safety net in place in Denmark, women did not appear to be suffering disproportionately from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Ms. Søndergaard (Denmark) said that the aid packages established to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic fell outside the Government’s normal fiscal policy. Other expenditure on measures related to the pandemic had been managed through temporary fiscal easing. As a result, efforts to promote gender equality had not been undermined by the measures taken to control the pandemic. The Government had yet to decide what initiatives would form part of the Danish recovery plan. The Finance Act of 2021 had been designed to ensure that all citizens would have equal access to the employment opportunities arising from the green transition currently under way in the country.

Ms. Walbom (Denmark) said that, every year, the Government published statistics on criminal offences that were broken down by age and gender. The statistics were produced by the national police and the Central Criminal Registry. In cooperation with the University of Copenhagen, the Ministry of Justice published the results of an annual national survey on victims of crime.

Ms. Lund Frederiksen (Denmark) said that, although the government of Greenland had not yet assumed responsibility for amending and updating the Greenland Criminal Code, the process of updating legislation for Greenland was carried out in close cooperation with it. In that regard, the Ministry of Justice submitted an annual list of proposed legislative changes to the government of Greenland. The latest such list contained a proposal to amend the section on rape in the Greenland Criminal Code. If the government of Greenland decided that it wished to amend the definition of rape in its Criminal Code, the Ministry of Justice would take steps to fulfil that goal as quickly as possible.

Ms. Piontek (Denmark), noting that non-Western migrants and refugees were more vulnerable to COVID-19 than the general population, said that the health system’s general recommendations relating to the disease had been translated into the nine languages most commonly spoken by migrants and distributed among migrant communities. The recommendations had also been published online and in video and poster formats. In view of the fact that migrant women were likely to be more isolated and at risk during the pandemic, a counselling programme related to the prevention of honour-based violence and abuse had been initiated. The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration was working closely with the municipal authorities and civil society organizations to determine whether persons belonging to ethnic minorities required any special attention to protect them against COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic.

Ms. Svendsen (Denmark) said that, in 2018, the parliament had passed legislation to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of disability. The Board of Equal Treatment considered complaints of discrimination on a number of grounds and was empowered to award compensation and remedy wrongful dismissals. In 2020, the Government had amended the law to provide for the mandatory provision of reasonable accommodation in public and private schools and day-care centres. Furthermore, the Board was empowered to receive complaints concerning the failure to provide such accommodation and grant compensation where appropriate.

In accordance with the Act on Social Services, social assistance was organized on the basis of a specific, individualized assessment of a person’s needs. The Government had introduced a temporary child benefit scheme to help reduce poverty among women on low incomes. The social welfare system in Denmark ensured that both men and women were entitled to the same minimum income.

Ms. Peláez Narváez said that she wished to know whether the Government had implemented any temporary special measures that were specifically targeted at any particular vulnerable group of women.

Ms. Ameline said that she wished to know what measures would be taken to promote gender mainstreaming and ensure that all members of society enjoyed equal rights.

Ms. Hansen (Denmark) said that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government had maintained a close dialogue with representatives of lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations. In view of the fact that lesbian, bisexual and transgender women were exposed to a greater risk of violence, which adversely affected their mental health, an action plan to support them had been launched in 2019. In 2021, the Government would be conducting a study to determine how best to meet the needs of such women and other women victims of intimate-partner violence. It would also be expanding the definition of discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech under the law to explicitly include sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics.

Although there was no established quota for the proportion of women in decision-making positions, women accounted for almost 40 per cent of parliamentarians, 2 out of 3 prime ministers over the past 10 years, 6 out of 10 heads of political parties, 7 out of the 14 Danish members of the European Parliament and 7 out of the 20 government ministers. No plans were currently in place to adopt legislation on the mandatory nomination of women candidates by political parties. The Gender Equality Committee in the parliament was planning to hold a conference on women’s participation in politics.

Ms. Svensson (Denmark) said that in 2020, in a bid to give an additional boost to the increase in the number of women in academic research in Denmark, the Government had established a talent programme named after Inge Lehmann, the Danish scientist who, in 1936, had discovered that the Earth had a solid inner core – DKr 110 million had been set aside for the programme in 2021. As that programme alone would not lead to the achievement of a broadly equal representation of men and women in the Danish research environment, the Minister of Higher Education and Science planned to intensify consultations with universities, research foundations and civil society to discuss other means of moving more quickly towards equality for women in academia and research. A compilation of best practices for recruitment recently produced by the country’s universities would inform the upcoming work.

Ms. Appel (Denmark) said that gender mainstreaming, which was required under the Gender Equality Act, was a topic of great concern to her Government. Every three years, for example, State, regional and municipal agencies reported on gender-related issues, and all the reports produced as part of that mandated exercise were made public. The boards and other governing bodies of State institutions were obliged under the Act to strive for an equal number of women and men. The Minister for Gender Equality reported annually to the Government, all government ministries were required to determine whether proposed legislation had implications for gender equality and the Government’s overall legislative programme was assessed to determine whether it, too, had any such implications. The number of bills so assessed was reported to the country’s lawmakers every year. Members of an interministerial commission had met every year since 2013 to discuss gender mainstreaming and relevant best practices.

Articles 7–9

Ms. Nadaraia said that she wished to know what steps the State party was taking to progress more quickly towards the achievement, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 5, of gender equality. That less than 40 per cent of the State party’s lawmakers were women was evidence that the State party, whose policies favouring gender equality were nonetheless an example for the rest of the world, should move more quickly to ensure that women and men were represented equally in all decision-making bodies. Further action was also needed if more women were to obtain seats on corporate boards or positions in top management in the private sector. In addition, the State party should take measures, including temporary special measures, to encourage political parties to ensure that their electoral lists, especially at the municipal level, included equal numbers of women and men.

Lastly, she wondered whether the State party was considering drafting a national action plan to combat the harassment and other forms of misconduct that discouraged women and girls from expressing their views online. In that connection, the Danish authorities should bring cases against social media companies when illegal content was posted on their platforms.

Ms. Hansen (Denmark) said that the Government was aware that men were disproportionately represented on most corporate and other institutional boards. Since 2012, large Danish companies and government institutions on whose boards men and women were not equally represented had been required to set targets for the appointment of members of the underrepresented gender. Annual progress reports had also been required.

The Government was considering what steps to take to increase the pace of progress towards gender parity in management in both the private and public sectors. The legislation currently in effect covered only companies and other institutions with executive boards; it could be amended to apply to positions in senior management in companies or State institutions – ministries, for example – without boards.

Most recruitment and search firms operating in Denmark had made commitments to uphold a voluntary code of conduct for diversity in management and board recruitment, by which they undertook to ensure that at least a third of the prospective candidates they recommended to their clients were women. Efforts were also being made to encourage men and women to take more equal shares of the parental leaves that they were entitled to.

Ms. Ameline said that the State party should consider developing a national plan to ensure that it achieved gender parity in political leadership by 2030.

Ms. Fuglsang-Damgaard (Denmark) said that the media sector in Denmark was wholly independent and that the media thus reflected the views and beliefs of the country’s people. Although women were less well represented than men on social media platforms in particular, a recent open letter protesting sexual harassment in the Danish media had been signed by more than 700 women and attracted considerable attention in late 2020. In addition, women occupied positions of senior leadership in the country’s media landscape, including at its two largest television broadcasters.

Ms. Aller (Denmark) said that the Government was committed to strengthening the digital education of children and other young people. A number of initiatives had been undertaken in that regard. In 2017, for example, a long-term action plan on digital learning, covering all levels of education, had been launched. The Government was considering the possibility of regulating social media, including video-sharing services and the blogging.

Articles 10–14

Ms. Bethel said that she wished to know what urgent measures were being considered, in connection with the Sustainable Development Goals, to enhance the well-being of the single mothers, younger homeless women and members of immigrant and refugee families who, in a shift that had begun some twenty years earlier, accounted for a growing share of the population living in poverty in the State party. She also wished to know what new measures were being taken to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers, including women, had access to health services, housing and employment. In addition, she asked what steps were being taken to solve the problems of family reunification encountered by refugees and whether, in view of the recovery from the pandemic, any plans had been made to help women business leaders create new businesses.

Turning to the climate crisis, she wondered whether the State party would consider providing a first-time, multi-year contribution to the Adaptation Fund to help sustain the Fund’s work, which was governed by an exemplary gender policy. She also wondered what measures were being taken to ensure that the rights of Inuit women in Greenland informed decision-making processes related to the climate crisis and sustainable development policies.

In view of the growing prospects for infrastructure development and the exploitation of natural resources in previously ice-bound areas of Greenland, she would welcome examples of the integration of Inuit women in the definition and implementation of development policies. She would also welcome an account of the measures taken by the State party, in collaboration with Greenlanders, including women, to safeguard the rights of the Inuit people and ensure that they were not displaced. In addition, she asked what was being done to ensure that development was responsible and that the government of Greenland and the Inuit people, including women, would be in a position to regulate mining activity and hold foreign investors to account for their business activities.

Ms. Peláez Narváez asked what measures were being taken to provide support, including income support, to women who lived far from urban areas, in particular in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. She, too, would welcome an account of the impact on women of the growing interest in the exploitation of the natural resources of the Faroe Islands and Greenland and the concomitant arrival of large numbers of overwhelmingly male foreign workers.

She also asked how immigration policy changes that had been made in 2019 had affected immigrant women in the State party, how many undocumented immigrant women there were in the State party and whether those women had access to health services during pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, she wished to know how the State party could be certain that the pandemic had not had a disproportionately harsh impact on specific groups of women such as older women, women with disabilities, indigenous and refugee women and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.

Ms. Piontek (Denmark) said that rates of employment for non-Western minority women in Denmark were low, as they faced barriers, including in their own families. Mainstream initiatives to increase employment were not enough, so a number of special employment initiatives, including initiatives led by non-governmental organizations funded by the Government, had been undertaken. Neighbourhood organizations made up of local community members, also funded by the Government, facilitated local outreach efforts. Women also had access to counselling services and specialized safe houses.

Mr. Kenny Rasmussen (Denmark) said that the expenses that asylum seekers and migrants without legal status incurred for necessary health care, including for pregnancy and childbirth, were covered by the Danish immigration authorities.

Ms. Findsen (Denmark) said that all legal residents in Denmark had access to health care on an equal footing. Persons staying temporarily in Denmark could, if necessary, remain in Denmark if they required ongoing care for a chronic condition.

No recent legislative changes had been made with regard to access to health care. Although there had been some changes to rules regarding payment for emergency care for some groups of non-residents, no one could be denied access to emergency hospital care in the public health-care system.

Ms. Peláez Narváez said that she wished to know whether, in view of the ongoing pandemic, the State party intended to takeany special measures to help the roughly 30 refugee and asylum-seeking women who, according to reports, were living in the State party with their children.

Ms. Svendsen (Denmark) said that men and women in Denmark had the right to the same minimum income – poverty in the country was not a gender-specific problem. However, the Government had introduced a temporary benefit to help the children of single parents, who were often women. All Danish municipalities were required to provide care to those who needed it, regardless of their age or gender. The ultimate aim of the country’s policies for the care of older people was to enable them to stay healthy in their own homes for as long as possible. In that regard, no distinction was made between women and men.

The meeting rose at 2.40 p.m.