Public support for the European Union (EU) is a research area that did not receive a great deal of attention until the Danish public voted ‘no’ to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Classic European integration theory paid only limited attention to the public’s opinion and was instead more interested in explaining what had brought about integration between the member states. But after the Danish ‘no’, it became common to look into euroscepticism, which commenced discussions dealing with which level of public support a system like the EU would need in order to be accepted as legitimate. Vast arrays of scientists have come forward to answer this question since the early 1990’s and have dealt with the question by using different approaches like the need for a European ‘demos’ or the focus on the ‘output’ of the cooperation between the now 27 member states. Discussions about what kind of system the EU is also took place since it is widely understood that a classification would influence the required level of public support. Today, the EU is still experiencing scepticism from the European public more so from women than men. This thesis is examining Danish women’s attitude towards the EU, and the point of departure is the more traditional view of the European women’s attitude towards the EU. The traditional view is found in Eurobarometer surveys where the typical eurosceptic woman is described as older, with a low educational attainment and uninterested in politics. The aim is to challenge this view from a Danish perspective by looking into how the EU is viewed by the younger Danish women in connection with the three parameters: age, level of education and political interest. My analysis shows that there is statistical evidence to challenge the traditional view since younger Danish women are showing tendencies to be less attached and show less confidence when it comes to the EU than the older Danish women. These findings are challenging the ‘generation hypothesis’, which is the view that younger people will be more enthusiastic about the EU than older people because of the changes, which take place from generation to generation. It is for instance believed that euroscepticism will decline because more 3 young people will obtain an education, which is said to lower the level of euroscepticism. My findings show, however, that the level of education does not mean the same for Danish women since there is still an immense gender gap between how the Danish women and men with a high level of education view the EU. My research furthermore shows that the younger Danish women are more interested in politics that deal with the local level and problems in their proximity. One explanation deals with the fact that younger Danish women show evidence of being interested in the EU, but that they are more interested locally and feel like they have more to offer on this level. This shows that it is not because of disinterest that the younger Danish women are more eurosceptic than the younger Danish men. Since the thesis is based on the conviction that a thriving EU needs a reasonable level of support from both women and men of every age, it seems valid to recommend the EU to look further into other explanations of why there is a gender gap when it comes to public support for the EU than the traditional picture of eurosceptic women since Danish women show tendencies not to follow this more traditional depiction.
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