Sponsored by Hoogly Tea
Denmark has been three times voted the happiest country in the world by the United Nation's World Happiness Report. What’s more, in 2016, it was named as the world’s best country for women live and to retire in, too. Jeez, we’re grabbing our company credit card and booking a one way flight, pronto. Is there something in the water? What exactly are they doing so right? Pink Parcel investigates…
Denmark is a beautiful country in Scandinavia. Its capital city, Copenhagen, is full of colourful houses and rivers with cute boats. It's a little cold, it gets dark early, but the Danish know how to get their cosy on!
You’ve probably heard of the concept ‘hygge’ – the feeling of contentment through living in the moment and appreciating the little things. We could all do with a little of that on the regular, tbh. This concept originated in Denmark and in this month’s Pink Parcel, we have teamed up with Hoogly Tea – a brand bringing hygge to the Brits.
Tina Gloggengieser, founder of Hoogly Tea, describes hygge as “cherishing the simple things in life and making the ordinary things extraordinary.”
She says: “Don’t rush your food, focus on each mouthful, declutter, make sure you have a tidy environment with extra comfortable items like pillows, plants, etcetera. Look after yourself by making time for hygge moments everyday, even if it’s just having a hot bath or catching up with loved ones.”
It doesn’t have to be cold to feel at home with hygge. In the summer, take moments out of your day to step back and just appreciate the good times. Pour a cup of Hoogly Tea! The mint flavour in July’s box is a little indulgence that is sure to induce those hygge feels.
Solo mothers – or “solomors” – are on the rise in Denmark. These are sistas literally doing it for themselves and having children using sperm donors, without a partner. One in ten babies conceived via a sperm donor are to solomors, which speaks volumes to the progressive societal norms in the country.
Ole Schou, who is the director of the largest sperm bank in the world, based in Aarhus, was quoted by The Guardian stating that in 2015, 50% of their clients were single. They predict this will rise to 70% by 2020.
If you do take the more traditional route, you can still benefit from Denmark’s positive attitudes towards women. In total, 52 weeks of parental leave is available and you can split 32 of these weeks with the father of your child as you see fit. Stereotypical gender roles are less reinforced in Denmark, meaning the father can be sole caregiver while the mother is breadwinner, or vice-versa – it’s completely up to each couple. In the UK, you can receive up to 52 weeks of maternity leave too, however the gender split differs and less pay is available.
The welfare state in Denmark further encourages women to go back to work, with 75% subsidised nursery payments. This has resulted in between 75% - 85% of Danish women heading back to work after having a baby.
Kamille, who was born and lives in Denmark says: “Denmark is a lovely place to live - besides the cold weather - and I guess the main reason is our great welfare system. The inequality is low and no matter where you are born, you can build up a successful life.”
Not only is Denmark coasting at the top of the happiness polls, but at the top of OECD’s Better Life Index too. Only 2% of the Danish people polled said they work very long hours. This doesn’t mean they’re working any less hard either; they completely smash it while in work, then head outside the moment 5pm hits. Work hard, play hard, enjoy your evening! UK bosses; grab a pen and take note, please. This work-life balance is what we should all strive for.
There have been two notable women’s movements in Denmark, one between 1870 and 1920, and the other between 1970 and 1985.
The first movement was led by the Danish Women’s Society (the oldest women’s rights organisation in the world) and remarkable women such as Matilde Bajer, Line Luplau and Tagea Brandt. Look ‘em up. The society’s lobbying enabled women to vote, amendments to equal opportunity laws in 1920s and has strongly influenced current legislation surrounding women’s access to education, work and marital rights. The second movement in the seventies and early eighties also heavily shaped equal rights laws. See, there were more to those decades than bad perms and platform boots!
“I think Denmark is one of the safest places to live as a woman,” says Kamille. “Women in Denmark generally don’t suffer under repression and we basically have the same rights as men. If you experience violence or abuse in Denmark, we have different organizations who will take care of the situation and help you out of it.”
So, what now?
Even when it comes to the best of the best, there is always more to be done. While the UK’s tampon tax is 5% at the moment, Denmark’s is 25%! Due to their generous welfare state, as mentioned earlier, pretty much everything is taxed to the high hills.
In addition, despite the equality laws and societal views, there is still a noticeable pay gap between women and men. Some observe that this is due to a lack of women in the higher paid roles, despite 60% of all Danish graduates being female; most are in middle management and public sector roles.
Denmark are working in the right direction though, and we could use some aspects of their day-to-day lives and inject some more girl power into our days. First step hygge, next step, let’s all finish at 5pm and go for a wine, yeah?
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