Helle Thorning-Schmidt (54) was the Danish Prime Minister from 2005 until she resigned in 2015. In the book «The blonde’s considerations», she writes about several of her personal experiences with how she experienced being a woman in top politics. According to her, the book is about gender, feminism and metoo.
She tells in a longer interview with Denmark’s radio that she wants the book to help keep the metoo debate going in Denmark.
Because even as Denmark’s supreme political leader, she has experienced, among other things, hands on her thighs, during official assignments.
– One of the things I tell about in the book is that I unfortunately do not know any women – NONE – who have not experienced some form of cross-border behavior. It can be at work, in the nightlife, in Denmark or abroad, she says to Danmarks Radio.
Section with former French president
She highlights one episode in particular in the book, which took place during an official dinner at the French Embassy in Copenhagen, with the former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
During dinner, she sits next to the former president, who under the table takes her hand on her thigh.
At that time, in 2002-2003, he was President of the European Convention. He was in his 70s, while Thorning-Schmidt was in his 30s. He had been president of France between 1974-1981. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing passed away in 2020. I last year he was accused of a number of women for cross-border behavior, including by a German journalist, something his lawyers flatly rejected.
– I name the former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing because I think he can stand it. I’m pretty sure it’s something he’s done before. He has also sadly passed away, so he is no longer with us. But I also know, that there has been an advertisement in France about inappropriate behavior, so I really felt, that it was completely fair that who it was, says Thorning-Schmidt to DR.
She says that it was particularly serious that it happened while she was representing Denmark on an official assignment.
Will not appear vulnerable
She points out that the incident happened many years ago and that she left it behind the same day and has not spent any energy on the site. She has previously refrained from talking about her metoo experiences, as she felt it made her vulnerable.
– It is a bit sensitive to talk about this, but now it is the right thing to do. Because I also want to define how many women have had bad experiences (…) It is not one type of women that can be used to do this, we actually all do, she says.
On Sunday, she received the award “Søstersinn”, from the Danish women’s magazine “ALT for damerne” for paving the way for, and supporting, “other women”, according to VG. After Thorning-Schmidt resigned as Prime Minister in 2015, she was the top manager of Save the Children, until 2019.