Mobile Version
Free Internet Press
  Uncensored News For Real People

FIP Year In Review

FIP Month in Review

FIP Archive Search

Multiple Discoveries from NASA's New Horizons Pluto Mission

R.I.P. William 'Bill' Herbert Kelder - Intellpuke

Gamers Donate 37,500 Pounds Of Food To Needy

Statement From The Whitehouse Regarding The Government Shutdown

An Open Response To 'Organizing for Action'

Bayou Corne: The Biggest Ongoing Disaster In The U.S. You Have Not Heard Of

Boston Mayor Hopes Feds 'Throw the Book' at Marathon Bombing Suspect

Boston Police Closing In On Suspects

2 Explosions At Boston Marathon. 2 Dead, Many Injured.

The Press vs Citizens Rights and Privacy - Act 3

CBS News - Year In Review 2012 - 366 Days: 2012 In Review

The Guardian - 2012 In Review: An Interactive Guide To The Year That Was

TruTV - The Biggest Conspiracy Theories of 2012

Colbert Nation: 2012: A Look Back

FIP Year In Review(s?)

Happy Holidays

Welcome To A New Era!

An Open Letter To United Health Care, Medcom, And The Medical Insurance Industry In General

Whitehouse Petition To Remove "Under God" and "In God" From Currency And The Pledge.

December 21, 2012

If Hillary Clinton Ran For President, She Would Probably Be The Best-prepared Candidate In American History

CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns After FBI Investigation Uncovers Affair With High-Profile Journalist

FIP Format Update

Thank you for voting.

Live Election Results

FIP In Hiatus

U.S.-Afghan Military Operations Suspended After Attacks

Iran Nuclear Chief Says IAEA Might Be Infiltrated By 'Terrorists And Saboteurs'

Romney Stands By Gaffe

Taking On Big Business - Women Politicians Unite To Push For Gender Quota
2012-03-13 13:38:19 (237 weeks ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke

A voluntary program to get German companies to introduce gender quotas for women in management has failed to bear fruit, but divisions within the German government are also hindering progress. Now, female politicians from across the political spectrum are pushing for change, and Angela Merkel may even make it a campaign issue.

Defeat? Ursula von der Leyen isn't interested in talk of defeat. That's something that simply doesn't happen in the life of Germany's labor minister, and certainly not on March 8, International Women's Day. The country's newspapers may well be reporting that the center-right government coalition has set aside the goal of establishing a legal quota for women in businesses, but von der Leyen won't let the gloomy headlines ruin her mood.

At work in her office, she quickly finishes signing a document promoting one of her women employees to the status of a civil servant with lifetime tenure. She doesn't fail to point out that the employee in question has children, providing another example of how both are possible, family and career.

Is the gender quota dead? No, von der Leyen says. The day's headlines are undoubtedly a setback, but "the issue isn't going away anymore," she adds.

Indeed, her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is not prepared to accept the quota veto by their junior coalition partner, the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), and frustrations are running high. FDP leader Philipp Rosler was not even willing to accept the "flexi-quota" proposed by Family Minister Kristina Schroder of the CDU, which was little more than a conciliatory gesture to set a voluntary commitment by companies into law. Chancellor Angela Merkel is annoyed, and if she can't implement the quota during this legislative period, she plans to make it a campaign topic -- even against the FDP, if necessary.

(story continues below)

Cross-Party Motion Considered

For the time being, though, the women of the CDU's parliamentary group are still looking for solutions that could be implemented before the federal elections in 2013. The most radical course of action would a cross-party group motion in the Bundestag, Germany's parliament. It sounds technical, but basically means that quota supporters from each party would join together to create a law. This tactic would likely give rise to a majority, since the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), environmentalist Green Party and far-left Left Party have all long supported a quota, and support is growing within the CDU's ranks as well -- even among the men.

At the Bundestag's working group on legal affairs last week, Michael Grosse-Bromer, the CDU's expert on legal matters, tried to bury the quota issue. The vast majority of the CDU opposes such a measure, he declared, but fellow parliamentarian Marco Wanderwitz interjected to say that plenty of men believe in a quota. Wanderwitz has since signed the "Berlin Declaration," a document calling for a 30 percent quota of women on supervisory boards for DAX-listed companies. The first signatures on the declaration include leading members from nearly all parties represented in the Bundestag, including SPD General Secretary Andrea Nahles, Labor Minister von der Leyen from the CDU, Left Party leader Gesine Lötzsch and Renate Kunast, chair of the Green Party's parliamentary group.

Initiators of the Berlin Declaration are planning to pay the chancellor a visit soon, and internally von der Leyen and other female members of the CDU's parliamentary group are considering using the document's momentum to organize a parliamentary majority in favor of the gender quota. "I could imagine a group motion as a last resort," says Rita Pawelski, chair of the CDU's women's group in the Bundestag. Dorothee Bar, deputy secretary general for the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU's Bavarian sister party, takes a similar line of argument: "Voluntary commitments haven't done any good, and I can't see a solution anymore without a legal component."

A Campaign Issue

But there's a catch to the idea of a group motion: It could easily bring about the collapse of the CDU-FDP coalition. As a rule, parliamentarians only cast their votes freely if their party leadership allows it, which happens only rarely. The Paragraph 218 amendment concerning abortion and a law concerning pre-implantation diagnostics are two past examples, but at the moment there is no indication that FDP parliamentary group leader Rainer Bruderle or his counterpart in the CDU, Volker Kauder, will define the quota issue as a matter of conscience.

Thus, Merkel's camp is considering another scenario, in which women in the CDU, CSU and FDP parliamentary groups would join forces to increase pressure on their respective party leadership in hopes that FDP Chair Rosler would eventually give in. This is little more than a pipe dream, though, because the number of gender quota supporters within the FDP's parliamentary group could be counted on one hand. The party still doesn't understand the quota issue, laments Doris Buchholz, national chair of the FDP's women's organization.

For this reason, Merkel is looking ahead to the federal elections in 2013. The chancellor has already indicated that the quota should be part of the CDU's election platform. "The quota needs to be anchored in the electoral platform at the latest," says Maria Bohmer, chair of the CDU's women's organization.

Still, the chancellor did oppose her labor minister this January, when von der Leyen called for strict regulations concerning the number of women in executive positions. But at the time Merkel did so in the interest of coalition harmony with the FDP. Since then, Merkel too has become convinced that nothing will change without applying pressure, Chancellery sources say.

That's a message von der Leyen is glad to hear. She herself is "indispensable" in the fight over the gender quota, the labor minister states in her office without a trace of false modesty. But it won't be possible without allies, she says.

Intellpuke: You can read this article by Spiegel journalists Ulrike Demmer, Peter Muller and Merlind Theile in context here:,1518,820871,00.html
This article was translated from the German for Spiegel by Ella Ornstein.

Email To A Friend
Email this story to a friend:
Your Name:
Their Email:
Readers Comments
Add your own comment.
(Anonymous commenting now enabled.)

Creative Commons License
Free Internet Press is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. You may reuse or distribute original works on this site, with attribution per the above license.

Any mirrored or quoted materials may be copyright their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story. Such works are used under the fair use doctrine of United States copyright law. Should any materials be found overused or objectionable to the copyright holder, notification should be sent to, and the work will be removed and replaced with such notification.

Please email with any questions.

Our Privacy Policy can be viewed at

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication XML News Sitemap