Reformation Of Equal Rights Politics In Germany An

1047 words - 5 pages

Germany has been a late bloomer in the development of equal rights politics for women. The simple fact that women were banned from political organizations and university study until the twentieth century indicates the initial lack of legal rights given to women in this country. In 1918, however, women in Germany were granted equal rights. This was a year prior to the initiation of women's equal rights laws in United States, where the women's movement was later growing by leaps and bounds by the 1960's. In Germany during the 1960's, women were being shuffled back into traditional roles after a stint of "freedom" during the war. This shift to pre-WWII women's roles created a backlog of ...view middle of the document...

In terms of the voting system, the mixed system of proportional representation and majority vote for candidacy makes for a battle for a position on the election ballot (and therefore a chance to be selected to be in a position of influence). Because women are lacking in important (though unceremonious) power groups (e.g. unions, church organizations), there remains a weaker basis for a female nomination than male. This dominating paternal force consequently creates difficulty for the election of women. Once passing that barrier, however, women are faced with decreasing power and influence in positions, in addition to quotas that seem to fall off the map for minister and power-position appointments (i.e. given to men). Job opportunities and acceptance for working women increased after the reunification of Germany, with the removal of the male-centered household stereotype. Nevertheless, most of the welfare recipients today are female. The welfare state of Germany is inherently partial towards married women, much as the political system seems to benefit men more than women politicians. According to Lemke (2001), nearly one-half the welfare recipients are single women and half are single mothers. The economic hurdle for unattached women creates difficulty and hardship for the women in Germany to become independent and self-reliant. For older widowed women, because eighty percent of them cannot subsist on their late husband's social security benefits, poverty abounds. To make matters worse, in 1996, the sixty-year-old retirement age for women was abolished. Women on their own in Germany today face favoritism towards men in the welfare state, adding accessory impediments to the already-challenging journey to an independent lifestyle and mindset. In the German equality laws (or even welfare laws), noticeable grounds for discrimination exist. Obviously, the welfare state of Germany lacks the concept of equal rights, a point which Lemke stresses: "welfare policy reflects indeed structurally a lower status of women in society". Jutta Limbach, the first women to serve as Chief Justice of the German Constitutional Court,...

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