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Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants us to embrace the Danish lifestyle

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Anna Brech
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As congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turns 30 in Denmark, she celebrates the country’s progressive system – and members of “the squad” in Capitol Hill celebrate her.

Your 30th birthday is a milestone no matter who you are; but it becomes even more pertinent when you’re the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress. 

US Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez spent her 30th birthday in suitably politico style this weekend, at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Denmark. 

Instead of standard party snaps, Ocasio-Cortez – who has galvanized the democratic socialist movement in the States since she took office last November – used her birthday as an opportunity to celebrate the framework of Denmark’s social democracy. 

The congresswoman drew attention to the country’s robust welfare system and environmental standing as a model for others to follow: 

Denmark is famed for its extensive system of welfare support: Danes pay some of the world’s highest taxes in order to access to free healthcare and university education, along with comprehensive systems of maternity, childcare and unemployment support.

This, in turn, fuels a strong sense of community and high levels of social cohesion and trust often credited with making Denmark one of the happiest countries on earth. 

“The Danes hand over a large proportion of their personal income in taxes, trusting that those resources will be spent for the benefit of all,” reads this explainer on the Danish government’s website.

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Denmark, along with its Nordic neighbours, is also a world leader in gender equality – thanks in large part to state-subsidized nurseries that allow women to retain their place in the labor market while starting families. 

It’s also paving the way when it comes to environmental policies, with a 23% share of renewable energy and ambitious plans of phasing out the use of fossil fuels.

These structures and others like them in Denmark play directly to Ocasio-Cortez’s vision of a left-wing socialist resurgence in the States, with greater equality for all.

It wasn’t all about Denmark this weekend though. As she turned 30, members of Ocasio-Cortez’s “squad” in Capitol Hill seized the chance to salute the politician from the Bronx, who – along with them and others – is credited with changing the tenor of US politics.

Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who also made history in November by becoming the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress, told Ocasio-Cortez, “It is an honor to serve and fight for you”:

 Rep. Ayanna Pressley, the first African-American woman to be elected to the US Congress from Massachusetts, tweeted that she was “so grateful” Ocasio-Cortez was born.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, the first Somali-American legislator in the US, also spoke of her pride in working with Ocasio-Cortez towards a more progressive future:

Images: Getty, Twitter, Instagram

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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