Thursday February 4th a public school in Copenhagen held a parents’ meeting on bullying. Fathers were excluded from the meeting in an attempt to get more Muslim mothers to attend the meeting, who show low participation in parent meetings, according to a school leader.
The mothers-only meeting is dividing politicians across the political spectrum. The right-wing Danish People’s Party demands the leader of the school be fired while MP’s from the left-wing Socialist People’s Party and the center-situated Danish Social-Liberal Party says gender separated meetings can be a good tool sometimes. The well respected integration consultant in Copenhagen, Manu Sareen, who is a member of the Danish Social-Liberal Party, says gender separated meetings and events aren’t anything new in Denmark. In the 1970’s a lot of women participated in women-only camps and meetings and Sareen has with big success arranged male-only meetings on gender equality for men with another ethnic background than Danish.
Religion sociologist at University of Aarhus, René Dybdal, says that Denmark traditionally has been characterized by a very high tolerance towards other religions’ traditions and practices but since the Muhammad cartoon crisis the debate in Denmark has been very sensitive when it comes to Muslim practices and traditions.