Pre-session working group

Forty-fourth session

20 July-7 August 2009

List of issues and questions with regard to the consideration of periodic reports


The pre-session working group examined the seventh periodic report of Denmark (CEDAW/C/DEN/7).


1.Please provide information on whether the report was adopted by the Government and presented to the Parliament. Please also indicate whether the reports contained in appendices A and B, with respect to Greenland and the Faroe Islands, were adopted by their Governments and presented to their Parliaments and whether non-governmental organizations were involved in the preparation of the reports.

Constitutional, legislative and institutional framework

2.Please describe the manner of incorporation of the Convention into the Danish legal system, in particular its incorporation through the Act on Gender Equality. Please provide information on whether the Convention was invoked before the Danish national courts or in cases before national courts. If it was, please give examples of such cases.

3.Please provide additional information on the legal position in Greenland and in the Faroe Islands of the Convention and its Optional Protocol, as well as on any agreements between the Government of Denmark and the Government of Greenland, with respect to the implementation and reporting process under human rights treaties ratified by Denmark.

4.The report indicates that the Minister for Gender Equality is a dual ministerial office. Please provide information about the role and functions of the Minister for Gender Equality and its relationship with the office of the Minister for Social Welfare. Please also provide information on any cooperation between the Minister for Gender Equality and related ministries for gender equality in Greenland and in the Faroe Islands dealing with gender equality and implementation of the Convention.

5.The report indicates that the Gender Equality Board will be closed down and that the new General Complaints Board will be established. Please provide information on the composition, mandate and functions of the new General Complaints Board and on its competence to handle complaints based on sex and gender discrimination. Please indicate the number of complaints and decisions handled by the Gender Equality Board and the new General Complaints Board.

Political participation of women in decision-making

6.In its previous concluding comments of 2006, the Committee expressed concern that women’s representation remained significantly lower at the local level. The report indicates that the proportion of women in local politics has remained unchanged, at 27 per cent. In its previous concluding comments, the Committee was also concerned about the low participation of women in political decision-making positions in the Faroe Islands. The report also indicates that women continue to be underrepresented at the international level and in the universities. Please provide current data. Please indicate whether temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention, are being contemplated or utilized in the above mentioned areas, where women remain underrepresented, especially with respect to the upcoming local government elections in 2009.

7.Please provide statistical data on women in Greenland and the Faroe Islands in decision-making positions, at the local level and in the judiciary.

Stereotypes and education

8.The report indicates that the action plan was evaluated in 2006. The project had been valuable for the ministries and had significantly contributed to implementing section 4 of the Act on Gender Equality, indicating that public authorities were required to incorporate gender equality in all planning and administration. What was the outcome of that evaluation and how many women in urban and rural areas were incorporated in all planning and administration? Also provide more information on the action plan for the inter-ministerial gender mainstreaming project for the period 2007-2011 and the difference between the first action plan and the action plan for 2007-2011.

9.The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted with concern that the school curriculum, at all levels of education, does not seem to include sufficient information on ethnic minority cultures and that the cultural diversity of Denmark is reportedly not sufficiently reflected in the fields of culture and information. The report does not provide any information on article 5, on stereotypes. Please provide any relevant information concerning article 5 and the image of Danish women, including minority women, in society. Please also indicate whether the Government intends to include cultural diversity in the Danish education system.

10.The report indicates that the project “Gender, ethnicity and guidance”, which ran from May 2005 to April 2007, aimed at fighting inequalities of any kind in the educational system and in the labour market. Please provide information on whether the gender or ethnical background of minorities and other individuals have an influence on the choices they make. Also please provide statistical data on the percentage of those groups that have benefited from the project.

Prostitution and trafficking

11.The report indicates that the National Commissioner of Police published a report on a new strategy for reinforced police action against criminals who control prostitution. Please provide information on the result of the new strategy and how it was monitored and implemented. Also please provide information on whether the 10 main points of the strategy cover the prosecution of pimps and traffickers, the rehabilitation of victims of trafficking and assistance programmes and protection for women, and if they do not, what the available measures in this regard are.

12.In 2005, the Government action plan, “A new life”, initiated a holistic approach in the area of prostitution. Please provide more information on the results of the programme. Also please provide information on the activities since 2007 of the Competence Centre for Prostitution, especially with respect to the inclusion of health and labour market activities.

13.The report indicates that “Theme prostitution” (a body under the National Board of Social Services and thus the Ministry of Social Welfare) has calculated the minimum number of visible, active prostitutes based on the highest number of empirical sources, instead of trying to make a more accurate assessment of the size of the entire target group. Please provide further information, if available, about the effect of the policies, strategies or laws specifically related to the incidence of clandestine prostitution and trafficking.

14.Please provide data on the implementation of the 2007 action plan and data on the extent of trafficking in women into, through and from Denmark, as may be available. This should include additional statistical data on the number of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation, work and other forms of exploitation, and on perpetrators punished and sentences imposed. Also please provide information on the composition of the Centre for Human Trafficking and on the composition of regional and national reference groups.

Violence against women

15.The report indicates that approximately 70,000 women between 16 and 64 years of age are exposed to physical violence on an annual basis. In 40 per cent of the total number of violence cases, the perpetrator is a present or former partner, which means that approximately 28,000 women between 16 and 64 years of age are the victims of partner violence every year. In the period 2000-2005, it is estimated that the number of women victims of partner violence fell by one third. Please provide more information on this positive trend and on the nature and scope of violence against women in Denmark, including information about any systematic collection of data on violence against women, through a national statistical office or regular population-based survey.

16.Please provide data and information on laws and measures to protect women in the Faroe Islands and in Greenland who are victims of violence, including of domestic violence.

17.In 2002, the Government’s first action plan to combat violence against women ran from 2002 to 2004. On 20 April 2005, the Minister for Gender Equality presented a new four-year action plan to combat men’s domestic violence against women and children for the period 2005-2008. Please provide information about the impact and effectiveness of those two plans.

18.In its previous concluding comments of 2007, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted that foreign women who were victims of violence might not seek assistance or ask for separation or divorce for fear of expulsion, although they might obtain a permit to stay for two years in Denmark. What targeted measures aimed specifically at combating violence against foreign women and providing support services to them are available?

Employment and reconciliation of work and family

19.The report indicates that women and men work in different sectors; women dominate the local government sector and men are employed in the private and State sectors to a much higher degree. In 2005, men employed in the State sector earned on average of DKK 248.6 per hour of work performed. That is 8.3 per cent more than for women, whose hourly earnings in 2005 amounted to DKK 229.7. What measures are being taken or intended to be taken by the Government to rectify this situation? Does the Government apply temporary special measures in accordance with article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention?

20.A report drawn up by the Danish National Centre for Social Research in 2004 analyses the pay differentials between men and women in Denmark. The pay differentials are, among other things, the result of an unequal distribution of men and women in the private, State and local government sectors. The pay differential in the local government sectors was 11.3 per cent in 2001. The report indicates that a new report is expected in 2008. Please provide information on the findings of the new report and on any actions to efficiently tackle this persistent pay gap.

21.The report indicates that there is more part-time employment among women than men. This phenomenon primarily affects such female-dominated sectors as the education, health and social sectors. What concrete measures has the Government taken to reduce underemployment among women, targeting those sectors, and what has been the impact of those measures, if any?

22.The Human Rights Committee expressed concern that despite continuing efforts by the State party, there remain areas of discrimination against women, notably in employment in the public and private sectors. What measures have been taken to create further economic opportunities for women, including immigrant and ethnic minority women, and what has been the impact of those measures? In addition, what training opportunities are available to those groups in different sectors of the economy?


23.Please provide information on the Government’s health programme “Healthy throughout life”, which sets targets and strategies for a public health policy for the period 2002-2010, including on its implementation and on its impact on efforts to reduce the major preventable diseases primarily affecting women.

24.The report indicates that Danish women smoke on a rather large scale, which has caused death, including from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, in the female population. Please provide information on measures taken and on the impact of campaigns if any, designed to reduce tobacco consumption.

25.The report indicates that female genital mutilation with or without consent from the victims or parents is a crime under s.245 A of the Danish Criminal Code. In its concluding comments of 2006 (CEDAW/C/DEN/CO/6, para. 20), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed concern about Danish nationals and residents of Denmark who perform or assist in performing female genital mutilation and commended the State party for amending the Criminal Code so that they can be brought to justice under s.245A of the Danish Criminal Code. The report indicates that there have been no convictions under the Code. Please provide any updated information.

Marriage and family relations

26.The report indicates that the Government had drawn up an action plan in 2003 to prevent forced marriages and forced-like marriages and to combat arranged marriages. In its previous concluding comments of 2006, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women noted the absence of statistics on the incidence of forced marriages. The report indicates that there is no verified official statistical information on the number of forced marriages. It also indicates that research projects and new findings will address the problem. Please provide the results of the research and new findings and information on how the Government intends to address the problem.

Economic consequences of divorce

27.Please provide information on the type of property that is distributed on dissolution of relationship and indicate, in particular, whether the law recognizes intangible property (i.e., pension funds; severance payments; insurance). Please also indicate whether the law provides for the distribution of future earning capacity and human capital, or considers enhanced earning capacity or human capital in any manner in the distribution of property upon dissolution (e.g., through a lump-sum award reflecting the other spouse’s estimated share in this type of asset or by allowing for an award of compensatory spousal payment).