Looking at Germany’s gender equality situation is rather frustrating. At least the country has a female head of government, you say? Sure, but not for much longer.
Berlin, December 29th, 2020 (The Berlin Spectator) — About seven percent of all Lufthansa pilots are women. The first two of them, Evi Hetzmannseder and Nicola Lisy, were trained in 1988, just before Germany’s reunification. Back then, some passengers must have been surprised. Others probably thought the airline was crazy. Well, not anymore. But seven percent is not much.
Schwesig and Dreyer
One hundred percent of all Chancellors who are in office right now are female. Soon, in the fall of 2021, that number will likely drop by 100 to zero percent. How long will it take until the second female Chancellor comes in? Ten years? Thirty years? Or will it take 56 years, like it did the first time?
There are sixteen federal states in Germany. Three of them, Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, are city states run by two First Mayors and one Governing Mayor, who are all male. And there are thirteen First Ministers. Guess how many of them are women: two. Manuela Schwesig rules Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania and Malu Dreyer is head of government in Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Cockfights in the Spotlight
During the ongoing Corona crisis, neither Manuela Schwesig nor Malu Dreyer, both of whom are Social Democrats (SPD), have been in the center of the attention, at least not on a nationwide level. Maybe it is because they are not into cockfights as much as their male colleagues. In German politics, more men tend to have the inner urge to stand in the spotlight every five minutes.
Looking at the Berlin Bundestag gives some people headaches as well. Out of 709 MPs, much less than a third, 221, are women. As it turns out, the more right-wing a party, the less female MPs they have. The extremist ‘AfD’ has not discovered the female gender yet. Ten women and 81 men are part of their Bundestag faction. In the case of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU and its Bavarian version CSU, things look only a little better, with 51 women and 195 men. The FDP is pretty bad here as well. Speaking of bad: Only six out of Angela Merkel’s fifteen federal ministers are women.
Bad News and Frustration
Looking at parties on the left side of the aisle is more satisfactory when it comes to equality. With 65 women and 87 men, the SPD is not as far away from the right balance as the CDU/CSU. In the case of the left-wing Greens and the far-left ‘Die Linke’, women are the majority (39 vs. 28 and 37 vs. 32, respectively). Congrats.
Shall we get more frustrated? O.k., no problem. All we need to do is to look at leadership positions in companies. Last year, 29.4 percent of those were held by women, according to the Federal Office of Statistics in Wiesbaden. Even more bad news? There is plenty. Germany’s non-adjusted gender pay gap is 19 percent. If it continues improving at the pace it has since 1995, it will take until the year 3000 to disappear.
Back to Square One
In order to get really depressed, let’s go back to the Chancellery. In the conspicuous building in the heart of Berlin, Angela Merkel has been the main resident for 15 years now. By the time she leaves office in September of 2021, she will have been there for 16 years, just like the late Helmut Kohl. Her successor will probably be male, unless the Greens create a left-wing coalition with the SPD and ‘Die Linke’ with Annalena Baerbock at the helm.
In Mrs. Merkel’s own party, the age of the woman is over. The CDU’s chairlady Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is still in office for one reason only: Corona screwed up all replacement plans. All candidates for her succession are male. The most popular one them, Health Minister Jens Spahn, got out of the race a year ago. Three are left. The same three, plus the CSU’s chairman Markus Söder, want Angela Merkel’s job too.
Unless the winner has a sex change operation within the next nine months, the CDU, the CSU and the country will be where they were decades ago. We will be living in a male republic.