Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks to the media in Allinge, on the island of Bornholm. Image Credit: AFP

Copenhagen: In her first public appearance since being assaulted on a square last week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Friday she believed society has a harder time accepting women in power than men.

She said she had sought professional help after the June 7 attack, in which a 39-year-old Polish man knocked her to the ground and left her with a minor whiplash injury.

"I have gotten help for the first time in my life," the 46-year-old told Danish television TV2 at a political festival on Denmark's Bornholm island.

read more

Asked earlier by a member of the public why she didn't speak about her gender more in the public debate, Frederiksen replied: "I haven't been very good about speaking about myself as a woman" in politics.

Like its Nordic neighbours, Denmark has long been a champion of gender equality.

Nonetheless, "I think some of the criticism against Helle (Thorning-Schmidt, the first woman head of government in Denmark) and myself has been linked to our gender," Frederiksen said.

"We have a harder time with power and women than with power and men."

Frederiksen became Denmark's youngest ever prime minister when she was elected in 2019, aged 41. She won re-election in 2022.

On Tuesday, in her first interview after the attack, she told Danish broadcaster DR she was "not doing great, and I'm not really myself yet".

She lamented the tone had changed in politics recently.

"We have all seen, across all parties, that the boundaries have moved spectacularly. Especially after the war in the Middle East," she said, noting that "people have rejoiced over violence".

Her suspected attacker was apprehended at the scene and has been remanded in custody until June 20. Police have said the assault was not thought to be politically motivated.