Gender-political situation in Germany
- Equal opportunities law
- General Equal Treatment Act
- Laws on quotas, in particular in the political and economic sectors
- Further laws/legislative provisions and government programmes
- Initiatives, action programmes, voluntary agreements
- Current political discourse
The current development of equal opportunities policy in Germany shows that among the European Union (EU) member states, Germany’s role as a driving force behind far-reaching equal opportunities policy has weakened. Implementation at national level also remains weak. In comparison to the rest of Europe, Germany has not progressed particularly far in anchoring equal opportunities in law; moreover, the legislation is strongly focused on areas of public administration, whereas in the private sector the emphasis on voluntary agreements remains.
Harmonisation of EU equal opportunities and anti-discrimination directives has been relatively slow, as illustrated by two warnings from the EU Commission with respect to harmonisation of the anti-discrimination/general equal treatment laws, and the fact that between 1970 and 2000, one quarter of all European Court of Justice cases in the field of equal opportunities law came from Germany.
Until about the year 2000, German gender and/or equal opportunities policies clearly focused on women’s politics or affirmative action for women, and were supplemented from about 2000 onward by gender mainstreaming in order to pursue a dual strategy. Currently, after almost ten years of experience with gender mainstreaming, it is still not possible to speak of a self-evident consideration of the gender perspective in all areas of politics.
Gender mainstreaming remains stalled at the pilot or project stage. While it is true that gender competence has been established in organisations, the political will to implement gender mainstreaming appears to have weakened considerably. At national level, for example, gender mainstreaming is no longer mentioned in the context of equal opportunities. This development began with the change in government to the grand coalition and has intensified with the current government’s emphasis on family policies and on equal opportunities policy focusing on family policies (i.e. the compatibility issue).
This change in emphasis is accompanied by strong criticism of gender mainstreaming and/or equal opportunities policies as a whole by the new self-appointed gender protagonists, in particular those in the men’s politics scene and their supporters in the media.
With regard to the gender and/or equal opportunities policy protagonists in the Federal Republic of Germany, it is certainly possible to identify state institutionalisation of equal opportunities policy at all levels of the federal system. The problem in this regard, however, is that equal opportunities policies generally fall under the responsibility of the same body that is responsible for family, youth and/or senior policies.
As a result, the former is often dominated by a family-policy perspective. Thus, the anti-discrimination and equal opportunities agencies set up to implement the anti-discrimination directive have not brought any significant change. Moreover, in comparison with other European countries, Germany has been quite late in establishing such agencies.
The gender protagonist scene in civic society is characterised by strong women’s organisations and umbrella associations, by a currently weak but increasingly institutionalised men’s politics and by numerous initiatives focusing on girls’ and boys’ career-choice behaviour and the family-friendliness of companies/compatibility issues. In addition, centres and programmes for gender research, women’s studies and expert advice on gender issues for policymakers are well established in Germany.
Equal opportunities law
The basis of equal opportunities law is Section 3 of German Basic Law (the constitution), supplemented in 1994 by the state’s obligation to actively create equal opportunities and/or to combat discrimination. Moreover, the following legislation provides further basis for equal opportunities policies:
- the Equal Opportunities of Women and Men in the Federal Administration and in the Federal Courts (Federal Equal Opportunities Act)/the Enforcement of Equal Opportunities of Women and Men Act (Equality Enforcement Act) (2001);
- the Allocation of Seats on Federal Committees Act (1994);
- the regional equal opportunities acts (generally more effective than the federal act because they include provisions for quotas and the legal anchoring of the obligation to establish women’s and/or equal opportunities officers at district and local levels).
Also called the anti-discrimination law. In existence since August 2006 and covering labour and civil law provisions, the General Equal Treatment Act focuses on discrimination in the employment of individuals and in careers. Civil law provisions cover bulk transactions and private law insurance policies for race, ethnicity and gender as grounds for discrimination. Implementation of the EU directive was slow and took place only after multiple warnings and the threat of punitive proceedings by the EU Commission. The federal anti-discrimination agency assists aggrieved parties and organisations with the enforcement of the General Equal Treatment Act.
Although the Federal Equal Opportunities Act does not set quota provisions, some regional equal opportunities acts do.
Quota provisions of the political parties are as follows:
- since 1980 – Green Party: 50% quota, system of alternation;
- since 1988 – Social Democratic Party (SPD): initially flexible quota; 33% quota within the party; since 1994, 40% quota for party positions; since 1998, also for electoral lists, parliamentary mandates and public offices;
- following re-unification – Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS): 50% quota, system of alternation;
- since 1996 – Christian Democratic Union (CDU): introduction of a 30% quorum for party functions and electoral lists (not achieved to date);
- Since October 2010 CSU: introduction of a 40% quorum above local governement levels and as nonbinding recommendation on local and district levels
- still no quorums in the FDP
Discussions on the introduction of a quota for women on supervisory boards:
Because voluntary agreements with private-sector enterprise have not resulted in a significant increase in the share of women in leadership positions since 2001, there is an ongoing discussion on the introduction of a mandatory 40% quota for the allocation of seats on the supervisory boards of companies traded on the stock market, corresponding to the Norwegian model.
For this reason, the Minister of Family Affairs developed the “More Women in Leadership Positions” phased plan in which the flexible quota has been defined since 2013 (BMFSFJ (2013): Flexible quota and phased plan. “More Women in Leadership Positions”. Available at: http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/Service/themen-lotse,did=172756.html, last accessed: 29.11.13).
However, this plan was still based on voluntary commitments by industry and on binding reporting obligations.
Deutsche Telekom, a German telecommunications company and the largest in Europe, was the first - and so far the only one - listed corporation in Germany to voluntarily introduce a binding 30% quota in 2010.
Therefore, the coalition agreement between the CDU/CSU and SPD parties provides for a women’s quota in the coming legislative period that must take the following form: where posts on the supervisory boards of listed companies and those with a full right of co-determination become open for re-election in 2016, these are to include a gender quota of at least 30%. As of 2015, binding target values are to be established for raising the number of women on supervisory boards, management boards and in senior management. The first target values must be achieved during the 18th legislative period of the German Bundestag and may not be subsequently revised downwards. Women are to hold a minimum of 30% of posts on executive committees in the scientific field. The share of women in the academic system is to rise lastingly in keeping with the cascade principle. (CDU, CSU, SPD (2013): Shaping Germany’s future. Coalition agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD. 18th legislative period. Available at: www.bundesregierung.de, last accessed: 23.1.15)
- Equal Opportunities Statistics Ordinance (2003/2006)
- Employee Protection Act (1994; sexual harassment in the workplace)
- Protection from Violence Act (2002; within the scope of the Act on the Improvement of Civil Law Protection in Cases of Violence and Stalking and on the Facilitation in Relinquishing the Marital Place of Residence in Cases of Separation)
Pregnancy Conflict of Choice Act (1992/1995; consultation for pregnant women faced with a conflict of choice)
- Act on the Assistance of Women in Cases of Pregnancy Termination in Special Cases (1995/2003; meeting of costs)
- Act on the Regulation of Legal Relationships of Prostitutes (Prostitution Act; 2001)
- Action Plan I (1999) and Action Plan II (2007) of the federal government to combat violence against women
- Career choices for girls and boys: Girls’Day since 2000 and New Paths for Boys since 2005
- (Voluntary) Agreement between the federal government and leading businesses in German industry to support equal opportunities for women and men in private-sector enterprise (July 2001); the phased plan Women and Men in Leadership Positions (drafted in 2010)
- ‘Local Alliances for the Family’ initiative: since December 2003, initiated by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) in cooperation with the Hertie and Bertelsmann foundations; in August 2010, there were 629 local alliances; there have been two model projects for family cooperatives in local alliances (Jena and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, until 2008) and model projects for effect-oriented direction of local alliances (Ansbach rural district, Cottbus, Heidelberg, until 2008), as well as national advisory service agencies (service bureau, specialist advice, media office)
- ‘Cross-Generational Housing’ action programme of the BMFSFJ: since late 2006 (invitations to tender) and 2008, subsidising of 500 cross-generational houses
- The corporate programme ‘Success Factor Family’ with the aid programme ‘Company-Sponsored Childcare’ (since 2008)
- The action programme and network ‘Perspective Re-entry’ (since January 2009), with the pilot portal
- Internet site ‘Väter in Balance’ (Fathers in Balance, since July 2010) for father-friendly measures in enterprises and social organisations
- The model programme ‘More Men in Childcare’ (2011-2013) by the coordination agency ‘Men in Childcare’
The compatibility of career and family as well as family-friendliness in companies are still the most important issues of gender policy – not only for German government but also for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and initiatives. In this context, the work-life balance is increasingly becoming the subject of discussion, also with regard to fathers (e.g. fathers’ care in maternity/paternity pay and its use).
Overall, the employment and economic participation of women are at the heart of gender policy discussions and activities. In recent years, the issues of women’s independence and women in business have also received more attention, particularly in the equal opportunities policies of individual federal states. The topic of women in leadership positions is currently enjoying a renaissance after efforts to date have led to hardly any increase in the number of female executives in private-sector enterprise. Discussion centres on the extent to which voluntary agreements with private-sector business need to be supplemented by legal provisions (e.g. a quota for women on the boards of directors and supervisory boards of listed companies).
In this context, it is worth citing the phased plan “More Women in Leadership Positions” of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. This plan includes a flexible quota[IT1] . This is a statutory regulation that binds listed companies and those with full rights of co-determination to establish and publicise a self-determined, company-specific quota for women as well as a deadline by which this is to be realised. This applies equally to the management board and the supervisory board. If the company’s self-determined targets are not met, corporate law sanctions (e.g. contestability) will come into force. The aim of the flexible quota law is to accelerate the requisite change processes in the business sector. The statutory regulation for companies to make the self-commitment is waived in individual companies if, as soon as and for as long as the quota of women on their supervisory and management boards reaches 30 percent. The effect of the flexible quota is based on transparency and competition among companies. By way of facilitating a means of comparing companies and their measures to promote the careers of women, an independent, objective Women in Careers Index (Frauen-Karriere-Index – Fki) has been developed to enable the ambition, dynamism and achievements of companies. The inaugural gathering of statistics began in March 2013 (BMFSFJ (2013): Flexible quota and phased plan “More Women in Leadership Positions”. Available at: http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/Service/themen-lotse,did=172756.html, last accessed: 02.12.13).
Education is thus another area in which gender issues are increasingly becoming the subject of discussion: on the one hand, as part of the differentiated success of boys’ and girls’ schools, and, on the other, in terms of the career choices made by girls and boys (e.g. Girls Day, the „New Paths for Boys“ project). In recent years, the controversy of boys as so-called ‘academic losers’ has received growing attention in this context. The lack of male personnel in schools and nurseries has also been a focus.
Violence against women and domestic violence, but also the situation of prostitutes, trafficking in women as well as the impact of the Prostitution Act (Act for the Regulation of the Legal Situation of Prostitutes, 2001) continue to be important issues in equal opportunities and women’s politics.
In the course of the integration summit process and in keeping with content of the National Action Plan for Integration, focus has increasingly shifted to the circumstances of girls and women with a migration background. Here, it is worth mentioning areas such as the fostering of education, the promotion of migrant women’s self-organisations and the elimination of forced marriage (BMFSFJ (2012): Equality and integration. Available at: http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/Gleichstellung/gleichstellung-und-integration.html, last accessed: 02.12.13).
The change in political discourse with regard to gender mainstreaming is noticeable. In the early 2000s, gender mainstreaming was a common topic of gender policy, particularly in the context of public administration and political groups and organisations with close links to policy making, whereas it played only a marginal role in business and economic policy. While general explanations of strategy and instruments (checklists, key questions, etc.) initially dominated discussions and publications, in the mid-2000s the discourse became more technical and also evaluated the first practical experiences of implementation.
With the change of government to the CDU/CSU/SPD grand coalition, both gender mainstreaming and the area of gender budgeting received less attention and support at the national – and to some extent also the regional – policy level. This trend has continued under the CDU/FDP government: in the context of government policy at national level, gender mainstreaming has been pushed almost completely out of the limelight. At the level of civil society, initiatives campaigning against a – from their point of view – coercive state policy of gender mainstreaming are increasing in strength and have achieved strong media resonance.
Parallel to this development, these initiatives are also forcing the topic of men’s politics and/or are taking possession of this issue by focusing on discrimination against men, boys and fathers. There is currently strong involvement in issues relating to men’s politics, also on the part of the state, as shown by the national government’s initiatives to increase the number of male teachers and male childcare professionals, to implement legal changes to fathers’ rights and to focus on the issue of the family/work balance for men (paternity leave). It remains to be seen to what extent emancipatory protagonists – in women’s and in men’s politics – will be able to shape this discourse (as attempted in the Green Men’s Manifesto), or whether the focus on men’s political issues will result in the supplanting of women’s political issues and/or a conservative backlash.
Parties, organisations within civil society
Deutscher Frauenrat (German Womens’ Council):
The umbrella organisation of German women’s organisations; financed by national government; member of the European Women’s Lobby. Topics: business and the labour market, social policy, tax law, health. Current campaigns: Equal Pay Day 2015, 20 Years of the Beijing Platform for Action.
“The Deutscher Frauenrat is the national council of 57* nationwide women’s associations and organisations. Our members are professional and religious associations, women’s sections of political parties, trade unions and the German Sports Federation, as well as non-partisan organisations with a diverse array of social and political objectives.
In total, the Deutscher Frauenrat has over ten million members.(…) As a non-profit organisation we operate primarily on the basis of public funding, with money from the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth. We are recognised as an NGO, have special advisor status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and are a member of the European Women’s Lobby." (Deutscher Frauenrat (2011): Statement of the General Assembly 2011. Available at: http://www.frauenrat.de/deutsch/infopool/beschluesse/beschlussdetails/browse/4/back/53/article/in-der-vielfalt-sind-wir-stark-selbstverstaendnis-des-deutschen-frauenrates-anlaesslich-seines-60-jaeh.html, last accessed: 02.12.13)
Deutscher Frauenring E.V. - DFR (German Women’s Ring):
The DFR comprises 58 local rings in twelve regional associations, primarily in the western German states; in eastern Germany there is representation in Thuringia and Saxony only.
Topics: equal opportunities, labour market and employment, family and work-life balance, stereotypical gender roles, sexist advertising, violence against women, female genital mutilation, health policy, elderly care and living conditions, equality of the generations and sustainability, and international work.
"The DFR ‘represents women’s interests in all fields of public life. Since its founding in 1949, it has campaigned for the realisation of women’s equality and the equal participation of women and men in our society. It is independent, non-partisan, open to all religions and the non-religious alike, and, as one of Germany’s largest women’s associations, active nationwide. The DFR’s goals include equal opportunities for and equal recognition of women and men at work and in the family, as well as in society, politics, industry and culture. We encourage and support women in their political, social and economic participation and campaign for gender policies that include men and that overcome obsolete stereotypical roles.’
Deutscher Landfrauenverband - DLV (German Rural Women’s Association):
The DLV ‘represents the interests of all women and their families in rural areas nationwide. The DLV’s members include 22 regional rural women’s associations with some 430 county clubs and over 12,000 local clubs.
The approximately 550,000 women members of local clubs work in agriculture and in other professions. As Germany’s largest national association for rural women, the DLV lobbies for the professional interests of female farmers and the improvement of women’s social, economic and legal situation as well as for the compatibility of family and work. A key goal is to improve living and working conditions in rural areas.’
Current topics and projects include food and consumer education, “Garden Kids: Where do our vegetables come from” (Gartenkinder: Woher kommt unser Gemüse?“), “RuralWomenVotes for the future – Securing fair income prospects” („LandFrauenStimmen für die Zukunft – Faire Einkommensperspektive sichern“), “RuralWomen for RuralWomen” („LandFrauen für LandFrauen“) in cooperation with Welthungerhilfe.
Käte-Ahlmann-Stiftung (Käte Ahlmann Foundation) :
In 2001, eighteen businesswomen, together with ACO Severin Ahlmann GmbH & Co. KG and Dr. August Oetker KG, founded the Käte Ahlmann Stiftung with the support of the Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen (VdU – Association of German Businesswomen).
The foundation works to provide vocational training and equal opportunities for women and men in business life. Its main activity is mentoring for businesswomen setting up businesses or operating businesses in their initial growth phase, an activity that is carried out within the scope of the scientifically supervised, nationwide programme TWIN – TwoWomenWin. The foundation is headquartered in Bochum; its offices are in Hamburg.
TOTAL E-QUALITY Deutschland e. V. (TOTAL E-QUALITY Germany e. V.):
‘TOTAL E-QUALITY Deutschland e.V. pursues the aim to establish and ensure sustainable equal opportunities for women and men in business. The main focus is on the advancement of women in leadership positions. In addition to the reconciliation of work and family life, TOTAL E-QUALITY is concerned with equal opportunities in personnel recruitment and development, the promotion of fair behaviour at the workplace and the consideration of equal opportunity in the principles of the organisation.…
The TOTAL E-QUALITY award is given for exemplary activities in terms of human resource management aimed at providing equal opportunity. The award certifies that the recipient has shown a successful and sustained commitment to equal opportunities for women and men in the professions.’
The association also considers new social developments: future activities will emphasise integrating the issue of diversity, extending the award throughout Europe and concentrating on medium-sized businesses.
Founded in 1996, the project is financed by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, and the European Union. A total of 263 awards was given in the period up to 2008.
This information platform for highly qualified women has been in operation since spring 2005; it is aimed at female experts and executives as well as women in junior management positions and women returning to work. The platform offers an overview of working conditions and development opportunities within selected large corporations, small and medium-sized companies, and research centres in Germany.
‘Any company in Germany whose human resources policies and diversity management promote female employees in professional, specialist or executive positions can apply for inclusion in genderdax. Corresponding practices include flexible working conditions, the promotion of family and work programmes, the selection and recruitment of highly qualified female staff, and personnel development opportunities for career-oriented women who wish to enter leadership positions.’
Sponsor organisations are the Helmut Schmidt University of Hamburg and the I.P.A. Institute for Human Resource and International Management; funding in 2005/06 was provided by the FMFSWY.
Beruf & Familie – Initiative der Hertie-Stiftung (Job & Family – Initiative of the Hertie Foundation):
Berufundfamilie gGmbH was founded by the charitable Hertie Foundation in 1998 to promote the implementation of an improved work/family balance in companies, public institutions and universities by means of the ‘workandfamily’ and ‘family-friendly university’ audits.
The certifications are recognised seals of approval for family-oriented human resources policies. There is a European dimension with the Europe-wide ‘work and family audit’, realised to date in Italy and Austria. Since 2010, berufundfamilie Service GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company, has handled key audit tasks, while the parent company has supported further developments as a think tank and initiator of new ideas and approaches.
Funding is provided by the charitable Hertie Foundation and the European Social Fund. The parent company funds the Family-Conscious Human Resources Policy Research Centre (Forschungszentrum Familienbewusste Personalpolitik – FFP), which was established in 2005.
Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf gestalten (Confederation of German Trade Unions Project ‘SHAPING The Work/Family Balance’):
This project aims to raise awareness of the issue of compatibility of family and work by means of union education programmes. It also initiates corresponding programmes for workers’ council and employee committee representatives in partnership with educational institutions.
Themed "No 'Or' between Work and Family" ("Zwischen Beruf und Familie passt kein oder"), the project located in the equal opportunities and women’s policies section of the Confederation of German Trade Unions national executive committee, provides small and medium-sized companies with free consultation and experienced advisors; the goal is to develop tailored measures to improve the compatibility of work and family in the company concerned in partnership with the workers’ council and company management.
Fields of action and topics of the seminar modules are working time, a parent’s return to work after maternity/paternity leave, company-funded childcare, care provision, compatibility of women and men, checklists/requirement analyses, case studies, (labour) law, occupational safety and health protection, and conflict and mobbing in the work environment.
Girls’day – Mädchen Zukunftstag (Girls’future Day):
Since 2001 there has been an annual Girls’Day event in April; its objective is to give girls information on the entire spectrum of career opportunities in order to help them make career choices that are not determined solely by traditional role models. The programme is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), and receives funding from the European Social Fund.
It is also supported by the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), Initiative D21, the Federal Employment Agency, the Confederation of German Employer Organisations (BDA), the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the German Federation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH).
The steering group for the content and organisational management of the project is made up of representatives from the action partners, the conference of cultural affairs ministers in Germany (KMK), the conference of equal opportunities and women’s ministries in Germany (GFMK) and the Federal Council of Parents (BER). National coordination is by the Verein Kompetenzzentrum Technik-Diversity-Gleichstellung (Association for the Technology–Diversity–Equal Opportunities Competence Centre).
Girls’Day or a similar event takes place in ten other European countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. In some cases there are even cross-border activities.
Neue Wege für Jungs (New Paths For Boys):
New Paths for Boys is a national networking project (over 200 network partners in 2013) and a service bureau (at the Technology–Diversity–Equal Opportunities Competence Centre in Bielefeld) which since 2005 has been assisting initiatives and supporting organisations which offer boys in-school and/or out-of-school activities that expand their career and academic study choices, develop social competence and provide more diverse male role models.
The project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth and by funds from the European Social Fund. It is aimed at teachers, social workers, career advisers, parents, and other individuals responsible for human resources, education and/or training. The project promotes local initiatives for gender-sensitive support of boys in their career and life planning, links those active in the field, and supports committed individuals and organisations working in this area by providing them with current information, advice, and free print and online materials.
Activities to date include: the photo competition: Male or Female Poser? / Best-practice database, expert conferences and nationwide network meetings, methods collection and materials (e.g. the media set), the domestic studies course ‘Coole Jungs sind fit im Haushalt’ (Cool Lads Can Keep House).
Forum Männer in Theorie und Praxis der Geschlechterverhältnisse (Forum on Men in the Theory and Practice of Gender Relationships):
Forum on Men is a nationwide network of men working in the following fields: men and gender research, boys’ and men’s work, advisory services for men and for fathers, men’s politics, gender mainstreaming and gender training. The general objective is to make a contribution to achieving gender equality and fostering dialogue between men and women.
The two Forum on Men - expert conferences held each year bring together differing viewpoints from theory, research, the field and politics by means of focused topics and serve as a place to exchange experience. The forum receives organisational, financial and conceptual support from the Gunda Werner Institute of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
Topics: men’s political approaches, migration, health, work/unemployment, men and gender mainstreaming, war, sexuality, conflict and gender, father roles, gender theory, men’s policies, gender dialogue.
Agens E.V. – Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Verwirklichung der Geschlechter-Demokratie (Working Group to Realise Gender Equality):
Originating from the publication of the book Befreiungsbewegung für Männer (Liberation Movement for Men), a group of so-called men’s rights activists in the authors’ and publishers’ circles founded the association in 2010.
Agens proclaims its own independent ‘liberal’ men’s rights politics, which focuses on discrimination against men and boys, opposes state influence on equal opportunities policies (in particular the implementation of gender mainstreaming, which is described as women’s rights politics by another name) and attempts to stop infringements of men’s and boys’ basic rights.
The group’s activities are characterised by annexation of the terms gender equality and gender dialogue; strong public/media presence and political influence, including in networks with other men’s rights protagonists; and strong polemics against emancipatory efforts in gender politics (e.g. in the context of the Green Party and the Heinrich Böll Foundation).
Bundesministerium für Familien, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend – BMFSFJ - Gleichstellung (Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth / Dept. of Gender Equality/Equal Opportunities; Head of Dept.: Renate Augstein, letzter Zugriff: 06.02.2014)
The (West) German Women’s Ministry was established in 1986. Under the SPD/Green government and in the course of the German EU Council Presidency in 2007, the focus was on a structural approach of gender mainstreaming through a preventive equal opportunities policy. Under the Christian-Democratic/Free-Democratic federal government, there is a renewed focus on general discrimination issues and family policy issues, as well as a new spotlight on men’s rights politics. Gender mainstreaming is no longer included as an aim of the ministry.
Gender equality policy is a policy for women and men alike: “Since women’s policy was first incorporated into the tasks of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs in the 1980s, gender equality policy has developed in leaps and bounds in Germany. Initially, the mandate only focused on women’s policy. It primarily centred on protecting women from discrimination and violence and – for example, through the amendment to Article 3, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law – on including the enforcement of equal rights for women. In the 1990s – with the introduction of the gender mainstreaming concept – the focus shifted towards a gender equality policy for women and men. Today, a further shift in focus is in the offing: equal career opportunities are the focus of a modern gender equality policy. One of its key objectives is to allow women and men to perform care tasks within the family and to have equal opportunities and prospects for equal pay during their careers.” (BMFSFJ (2012): Gender equality policy. Available at: http://www.bmfsfj.de/BMFSFJ/gleichstellung,did=88068.html, last accessed: 02.12.13)
The federal ministry has the following duties in the field of gender equality:
- plays a leading role in the drafting of federal laws to achieve equal opportunities and exerts influence on the legislative proposals of other federal ministries insofar as they affect women’s and/or equality issues;
- develops programmes and initiatives for equal opportunities for women and men in the work world, the family, and society and politics, as well as programmes and initiatives to reduce violence against women, focusing in particular on women and men with a migration background;
- carries out research and pilot projects pertaining to equal opportunities policy issues and instruments, publishes the results and supports their broad implementation;
- funds and supports women’s organisations and national networks working in the field of equality;
- heads the national-regional working group to combat domestic violence against women and the national working group ‘Trafficking in Women’;
- negotiates equal opportunities issues and initiatives in EU bodies, the EU Council and the United Nations, and campaigns internationally for support of equal opportunities;
- provides assistance to pregnant women in distress or in conflict situations and, in cooperation with the Federal Centre for Health Education, implements the legal mandate to prevent and resolve pregnancy-related conflicts.
Current topics: politics for women and men, women in the work world (e.g. participation, career opportunities, leadership positions, equal pay, return to work, compatibility), prevention of violence against women (e.g. domestic violence, sexual harassment, prostitution, trafficking in women), information provision for pregnant women (e.g. family planning, prenatal diagnostics, terminations), support of female migrants (e.g. integration, Muslim women, violence against female migrants, forced marriage), men’s rights politics (e.g. men in childcare, education for boys, paternity leave).
Antidiskriminierungsstelle Des Bundes – ADS (Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency):
Headquartered in Berlin, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS) was established at the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth when the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) came into effect in 2006. The ADS director exercises his/her function independently and is subject only to the law (current director: Christine Lüders). A supporting advisory board consists of representatives from various groups in society and/or their organisations.
- provision of information and advice and, if desired, support of aggrieved parties in finding an amicable solution; if applicable, provision of local support services;
- public relations work;
- measures to avert discrimination;
- scientific studies;
- regular presentation of a report to the German parliament in combination with recommendations to eliminate and prevent discrimination.
Gleichstellungs- und Frauenministerinnenkonferenz - GFMK (Equal Opportunities And Women’s Ministers Conference):
In 1991, nine female women’s ministers and three female state secretaries attended the first nationwide Equal Opportunities and Women’s Ministers Conference in Potsdam. At the conference, the common goals for a joint women’s policy of the regional states are discussed, and measures to support women are decided upon. As a general rule, the ministers meet once a year for a specialist conference.
Topics at the most recent GFMK in 2010: gender-specific aspects of medical care, prevention and health promotion; equal pay for women and men; increasing the number of women on the supervisory boards of German companies; the first equal opportunities report by the federal government.
Agentur Für Gleichstellung Im ESF (Agency For Gender Equality Within The European Social Fund):
This agency was established by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in March 2009 to support the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the European Social Fund (ESF). It provides information on proposals for the implementation of gender mainstreaming in ESF-funded programmes and projects and on the status of gender mainstreaming in the ESF federal programme, as well as a comprehensive collection of methods and instruments, documents, reports and studies relating to gender mainstreaming in the ESF.
Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft und Landesarbeitsgemeinschaften Der Kommunalen Frauenbüros Und Gleichstellungsstellen - BAG (Federal Working Group And Regional Working Groups Of The Municipal Women’s Bureaus And Equal Opportunities Agencies):
The offices in Berlin were financed by the FMFSWY from 2000 to 2003; since then they have worked on the basis of services, project funds and contributions from local authorities. Current topics: equal pay, European Charta for the equality of women and men, CEDAW, basic financial security for children, women power local authorities, violence against women, labour market and qualifications, social security (e.g. care provision, health, provision for old age), gender and justice, family forms and lifestyles/ family policy, governments report on gender equality, poverty, promotion days.
‘The Federal Working Group is an alliance of female full-time municipal women’s officers and equal opportunities officers which works to represent the interests of women at the national level, to create a nationwide forum for women’s political discussions, to promote the exchange of experience and flow of information between colleagues, and to clarify issues relating to our own profession.…
The BAG bundles women’s political expert competence and regional initiatives; it provides knowledge and contacts. It gives political impulses to national politics and, for its part, takes up impulses from national politics, introducing them into the local authorities. The BAG network is in dialogue with associations, institutions, political parties, NGOs and relevant societal groups as well as with the federal government. It comprises some 1,900 municipal women’s officers and equal opportunities officers in Germany.’
Bundesweite Gründerinnenagentur - BGA (National Agency For Women Start-Ups Activities And Services):
The BGA has been providing nationwide information, advice and networking for women setting up companies since 2004.
‘The National Agency for Women Start-Ups Activities and Services (BGA) is the first and only national competence and service centre for the entrepreneurial independence of women across all industries and phases of company formation, consolidation and the identification of a successor.
The BGA is a partner for industry, science, politics, women starting up companies and businesswomen, bundling contacts to and information on experts, studies, advisory bodies and networks all over Germany through its website. A telephone hotline offers initial personal advice to businesswomen and women setting up businesses.’
Duties: information provision (an Internet site with news, events, topics of the month, etc.), consultation/advice (expert and advisory bodies database, hotline, experts forum, small business mentoring), networking (networks, regional representatives, ambassadors, ProWomenplus) and the identification of successors to continue a business.
National and international competitions: IDEE-Förderpreis, Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, Prix Veuve Clicquot. Regional competitions: Berliner Unternehmerinnenpreis (Berlin Female Enterpreneur Award), Unternehmerin des Landes Brandenburg (Female Entrepreneuer of the State of Brandenburg), belladonna gründerinnenpreis – Bremen (Female Founder’s Award), Unternehmerinnenpreis Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony Anhalt Female Entrepreneur’s Award), Sächsischer Gründerinnenpreis (Saxony Female Founder’s Award), Thüringer Unternehmerinnenpreis “Emily-Roebling-Preis” (Thuringia Emily-Roebling Female Entrepreneur’s Award). (bga (o.J.): Competitions, available at: http://www.existenzgruenderinnen.de/DE/bga-Service/Wettbewerbe/wettbewerbe_node.html, last accessed, 29.11.13).
The BGA is jointly financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
Ministerium Für Arbeit Und Sozialordnung, Familien Und Senioren Baden-Württemberg (Ministry Of Labour And Social Order, Family And Seniors):
Baden-Württemberg’s minister for labour and social affairs is also the regional government’s officer for equal opportunities for women and men (and the officer for children’s issues). The officer has set the framework for project work for the period 2006–2011 in the ‘Equal Opportunities’ action programme.
The objective is to make progress on issues such as equal opportunities for boys and girls, the work/family balance, victims’ rights, potential and competence, and structural equal opportunities/gender mainstreaming within the scope of 19 individual projects. Baden-Württemberg emphasises the dual strategy of supporting women and implementing gender mainstreaming. To foster dialogue between politics and science on the topic of equal opportunities, the officer for equal opportunities regularly issues invitations to so-called fireside chats.
The ministry’s website provides detailed information on the following sub-topics listed for the topic of equal opportunities: the Equal Opportunities and Women’s Ministers Conference, gender mainstreaming, career choices and vocational training, the atlas of equal opportunities for women and men in Germany, the work/family balance, the Equal Opportunities Act, the General Equal Treatment Act, violence against women, the ‘Chancen = Gleichheit’ programme (Opportunities = Equality) of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation.
Furthermore, the ministry offers concise information on political issues important to women through a portal covering the entire region, ‘Frauen Aktiv in Baden-Württemberg’. The portal provides portraits and information on the work world, education, gender mainstreaming, society, life situations and politics, as well as on prizes, scholarships and foundations.
It gives relevant titles of publications, the names of individuals and groups active in these areas and diary dates, as well as ways of accessing facts and figures. In addition, the Ministry of Social Affairs has published the quarterly women’s political magazine AKTIV–Frauen in Baden-Württemberg since 1997. Each issue is devoted to a specific topic, which is discussed from a variety of different viewpoints.
Bayerisches Staatsministerium Für Arbeit Und Sozialordnung, Familie Und Frauen (Bavarian State Ministry Of Labour And Social Order, Family And Women):
In Bavaria, women’s and equal opportunities policies fall under the responsibility of the Bavarian State Ministry of Labour and Social Order, Family and Women. The state minister is also the women’s officer for the Bavarian state government.
She is assisted in her duties in this field by the Coordinating Office for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men.
The coordinating office’s duties are the following:
- ensuring that legislative proposals comply with equal opportunities dictates;
- developing proposals to eliminate both legally based and actual gender-related disadvantages and introducing initiatives to improve the situation of women or men;
- serving as a contact for women and men with regard to all equal opportunities issues;
- cooperating with the Bavarian State Women’s Committee, the Bavarian Equal Opportunities Officer, the Bavarian women’s associations, the women’s officers and equal opportunities officers of other regional states, the federal government, and international equal opportunities initiatives.
The key focuses of Bavarian equal opportunities policy are the work/family balance, gender-sensitive viewpoints and gender mainstreaming, equal opportunities at work, public relations work and events, social security, health, caregiving to family members, mobbing and sexual harassment in the workplace, and violence against women.
Senatsverwaltung Für Wirtschaft, Technologie Und Frauen Berlin - Abteilung Frauen- Und Gleichstellungspolitik (Berlin Senate Administration For Economics, Technology And Women’s Issues/ Department Of Women’s And Gender Policies):
Women’s policies and equal opportunities policies in Berlin include or address the following:
- the equal opportunities policy framework programme ‘Gleichstellung weiter denken – Strategien für ein geschlechtergerechtes Berlin’ (Further Conceptualising Equal Opportunities – Strategies for Gender Equity in Berlin), including a master plan, gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting;
- the work world (e.g. qualifications, support for women, company start-ups, advisory network of experts);
- efforts to end violence (e.g. trafficking in women, protection against violence act, domestic violence, children and domestic violence, sexual violence);
- education/the sciences (e.g. the Berlin Programme to Support Women’s Equality in Research and Teaching, equal opportunities at universities and research institutions, women in EU research, gender equity in schools);
- public space (e.g. Agenda 21, a women’s run, a women’s prize, equal opportunities in the arts and cultural sphere, advertising, language, Girls’Day, women’s political advisory council);
- women in state civil service (e.g. the State Equal Opportunities Act [LGG], LGG reports, information exchange);
- health (e.g. breast cancer, risk of heart attack, women’s health network, victims of violence);
- specific life circumstances (e.g. single parents, maternity/paternity leave, same-sex lifestyles, disabled women, female migrants);
- projects (e.g. advice on advanced training, professional qualifications, orientation courses);
- in addition to the above, the following topical issues: Gender Data Report 2009, parents at work, the regional state initiative ‘Equal Opportunities in Industry in Berlin’, the lack of women on supervisory boards, manoeuvring between the invalid’s bed and the workplace.
The topics of gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting are categorised as part of the equal opportunities framework programme and its master plan. The following bodies still exist: the Gender Mainstreaming Office (though no longer as a coordinating office but as part of the Department for Women’s and Equal Opportunities Policies), the gender budgeting working group and the gender-differentiated statistics and data working group. Furthermore, a dedicated office for the equal opportunities framework programme has been established (Gleichstellungspolitisches Rahmenprogramm).
Ministerium Für Arbeit, Soziales, Frauen und Familie in Brandenburg - Frauen und Gleichstellung (Brandenburg Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Women and Family - Women and Equality):
In Brandenburg, issues related to women, family and equality fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Women and Family. Thus, women’s policies and equal opportunities policies are viewed as closely linked to a successful family policy. For this reason, the issue of compatibility of work and family is given special attention. The political framework for the ministry’s activities in this area is an action programme for women’s and equal opportunities policies.
The ministry’s website lists the following sub-topics for the topic of women, family and equal opportunities: combating violence against women, equal opportunities for women and men, support of women, the work/family balance, family politics, same-sex lifestyles, and women in specific life circumstances.
The equal opportunities officer for the state of Brandenburg focuses in particular on the following: implementation of women’s and equal opportunities policies and the support of gender mainstreaming, employment and the compatibility of work and family, health issues, an action plan against violence, women’s participation, initiatives and events for girls and women (e.g. Brandenburg Women’s Week).
Senatorin Für Arbeit, Frauen, Gesundheit, Jugend Und Soziales Bremen & Bremische Zentralstelle Für Die Verwirklichung Der Gleichberechtigung Der Frau (Bremen Senator For Labour, Women, Health, Youth And Social Affairs & Bremen Central Office For The Realisation Of Women’s Equality):
In Bremen, duties related to women’s policies are carried out by the senator’s Administrative Office for Women’s Policies in partnership with the Bremen Central Office for the Realisation of Women’s Equality. As the ‘senate representative for the realisation of women’s equality’, the senator is the cabinet member responsible for the Bremen Central Office.
The Bremen Central Office for the Realisation of Women’s Equality is a regional state authority. It has a legal mandate to monitor compliance, with the obligation under constitutional law to ensure women’s equality and to work towards this compliance. It is headed by the Bremen State Officer for Women, who is elected by the Bremen City Parliament and appointed by the senate for twelve years. The officer attends privy council meetings in an advisory capacity.
The central office focuses on the following key topics: work and industry, health, violence against women, urban development, girls, supporting women in the civil service, women in the sciences, digital media, gender mainstreaming.
Its concrete duties are the following:
- advising women and pursuing their complaints about discrimination;
- advisory opinions on legislative proposals;
- proposing measures to improve the situation of women at the municipal, regional and national levels;
- information on current issues in the form of brochures, flyers and information booklets;
- cooperation with and/or the support of women’s and girls’ organisations;
- supporting networks from a specialist point of view and at local district level;
- public relations work.
Arbeitstelle Vielfalt Bei Der Justizbehörde Hamburg (Diversity Office Of The Hamburg Ministry Of Justice):
The Hamburg Senate established the Diversity Office as a department of the Hamburg Ministry of Justice on 1 August 2009.
The office’s objective is to bundle the various issues relating to discrimination and equal opportunities in Hamburg, thus helping to realise the equality of women and men in Hamburg independent of their origins, skin colour, age, beliefs, religion or sexual identity. The office provides individual victims of discrimination with advice and information on the General Equal Treatment Act.
In addition, it advises the senate, the Hamburg parliament and the civil service on ways to reduce structural discrimination.
The six key issues addressed by the Diversity Office are strategies against racism and right-wing extremism, gender politics and gender equality, same-sex lifestyles, demographic change, cultural diversity, and the General Equal Treatment Act.
In the field of gender politics and gender equality, the Diversity Office focuses on the following: basic issues in overcoming gender-specific violence, cooperation and exchange with the equal opportunities officer for Hamburg’s ministries and institutions, initiatives for equality in the work world and in social security schemes, and the development and adjustment of instruments for gender mainstreaming. The office also has its own director for men’s issues.
Hessisches Sozialministerium - Chancengleichheit & Frauenpolitik (Hessian Social Ministry - equal opportunities & women policies):
The ministry is responsible for equal opportunities and women’s policies; the Women’s Policies Office falls within its purview. The office bundles the spectrum of women’s policies, functions as a contact point and service bureau for women in Hessen, and works with Hessian women’s groups, Hessian women’s associations and the local authority for women’s bureaus. The office initiates, supervises and communicates the women’s activities of the Hessian state government.
Key issues addressed by the ministry and/or the Women’s Policies Office are labour and social affairs, higher wages/salaries for women, occupational safety, equal opportunities and gender mainstreaming, voluntary work, family, girls, women with disabilities, health, prevention of violence, and lesbians.
Parlamentarische Staatssekretärin Für Frauen und Gleichstellung In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Parliamentary State Secretary For Women And Equality In Mecklenburg-West Pomerania):
The Parliamentary State Secretary for Women and Equality coordinates women’s policies and equal opportunities policies within the regional state government and represents them externally. She gives counsel on state government activities from the viewpoint of women’s policies and equal opportunities policies and participates in the cabinet meetings of the state government and the heads of the ministries (state secretaries). She has advisory rights during these meetings and, as a member of parliament, has the right to speak before parliament.
The Office of the Parliamentary State Secretary is divided into three departments:
- Department 1: basic issues regarding women and equality; press and public relations work; the labour market; industry and health;
- Department 2: cabinet, state parliament, Bundesrat (federal assembly) and legal matters; women in crisis situations; the budget;
- Department 3: implementation of gender mainstreaming in the civil service and in politics; women in the sciences, education and culture.
Current topics include equal opportunities policies, education and training, universities and the sciences, labour, health, gender mainstreaming, clubs and associations, and women in crisis situations.
The Parliamentary State Secretary’s duties include supporting measures for gender-specific school education and helping girls consider a wider spectrum of career-choice possibilities; collaboration on programmes, projects, guidelines and plans to eliminate structural discrimination against women; and the reintegration of women in the labour market.
The focus in this context is on linking labour market, business and structural policies to the demands of equal opportunities policies. In addition, the state secretary campaigns for an increase in the number of women in leadership positions in science and research.
Niedersächsisches Ministerium Für Soziales, Frauen, Familie, Gesundheit Und Integration (Lower Saxony Ministry Of Social Affairs, Women, Family, Health And Integration):
The following issues are included under the keyword ‘equality/women’:
- equality act;
- gender mainstreaming;
- equal opportunities policies at the level of local authorities (municipal equal opportunities officers);
- women and industry (the programmes Coordination Agencies for Women and Industry and FIFA – Supporting the
- Integration of Women in the Labour Market);
- women and media (e.g. Lower Saxony Women’s Media Prize [Juliane Bartel Award]);
- women and health (including Lower Saxony Women’s, Girls’ and Health Network);
- women and sports (including Lower Saxony Joint Initiative to Support Sport and Movement Facilities);
- Women and right-wing extremism (Project: “Women on the extreme right wing”). Project conducted from 2012 to 2014 in cooperation with the Zentrum Demokratische Bildung Wolfsburg)
- women and politics (including Lower Saxony Mentoring Programme to support young female politicians);
- violence against women (e.g. domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, trafficking in women, prevention, and advisory and intervention services);
- migration and equality (including the regional state programme Female Migrants in Lower Saxony – Shaping Integration and the action concept ‘Outlawing Forced Marriage – Preventing Forced Marriage’).
Ministerium Für Gesundheit, Emanzipation, Pflege und Alter des Landes NRW (Ministry For Health, Emancipation, Care And Ageing Of The State Of North Rhine-Westphalia):
The SPD/Green state government has assigned responsibility for women’s policies – under the term ‘emancipation’ – to the new Ministry for Health, Emancipation, Care and Ageing, along with emancipation issues related to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgender people (LGBT). The ministry’s objective is to facilitate the self-determined, cooperative co-existence of women and men and girls and boys in all areas of life – independent of gender, age, origin or sexual identity.
The following are listed as topics under the heading ‘Women’: women and careers (starting up businesses, research and technology, careers, and civil service, as well as the project ‘New Career Paths – Mentoring for Young Women with an Immigrant Background’, a reintegration network and the Forum W); violence against women (advice and assistance, domestic violence, stalking, forced marriage, human trafficking); and society (integration, culture and sports, civil service, networking, and target groups).
Women with a migration background are given special consideration in all of the above-mentioned topics. It is also noteworthy that gender mainstreaming is not mentioned as a topic on the ministry’s homepage.
Ministerium Für Arbeit, Soziales, Gesundheit, Familie und Frauen/ Abteilung Frauen (Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry Of Labour, Social Affairs, Health, Family And Women/ Department For Women) (13.09.2011: changed to : Ministerium Für Soziales, Arbeit, Gesundheit und Demographie Ministry Of Social Affairs, Labour, Health And Demographic Development)
The key tasks of the ministry’s Department for Women involve the following areas:
- career choices for girls (e.g. by means of Girls’Day);
- women’s return to work (including support by means of online information, orientation courses and advisory agencies);
- compatibility-friendly working hours that promote equal opportunity (including support through ZeitZeichen, a regional office providing information on innovative models for structuring working hours);
- women in the civil service (e.g. Regional State Equal Opportunities Act, affirmative action plan for women);
- violence against women (e.g. financial support of aid agencies, and an intervention project with respect to violence in close social relationships [RIGG]);
- women in education and culture (e.g. mentoring programmes for young female artists or for schoolgirls interested in scientific or technical studies);
- women in politics (e.g. mentoring programmes and the campaign ‘Women Make Local Authorities Strong’);
- women in voluntary work (framework conditions, qualifications);
- support of girls’ and women’s projects and women’s networks (e.g. the women’s projects fair);
- women and health (e.g. the regional initiative ‘Women’s Health in Rhineland-Palatinate’).
Moreover, Rhineland-Palatinate implements gender mainstreaming at various levels (regional, state, local authorities, other institutions) and hosts a website providing detailed information: gender-mainstreaming.
Ministerium für Arbeit, Familie, Prävention, Soziales und Sport Saarland (Saarland Ministry for Labour, Family, Prevention, Social Affairs and Sports):
Women’s politics fall under the responsibility of the ministry’s ‘Family’ division. The focus is on support for women in the civil service and in leadership positions; gender mainstreaming; women and paid employment; work related to violence against women and children, human trafficking and forced marriage; a women’s library; and migration and integration issues related specifically to women.
The ministry hosts an Internet portal on women and equality (Frauen und Gleichstellung). In addition to current information, it bundles information on the topics of public space/society (networking and representation of interests), violence against women (domestic violence, human trafficking), and women and careers (equal opportunities, gender mainstreaming, family/work balance, civil service, Girls’Day).
Leitstelle für Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann und Familie und Gesellschaft im Sächsischen Staatsministerium für Soziales und Verbraucherschutz (Family and Society at the Saxon State Ministry of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection):
In the Free State of Saxony, Department 45, »Family and Society at the Saxon Ministry of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection« is responsible for handling the topic of »Equality of Women and Men«. The department’s role is that of a coordinator and controller.
The central office’s core goals and tasks are the following:
- equality of women and men in the work world;
- support of women in the civil service;
- ongoing cooperation with equal opportunities policy associations and societies;
- support for women in rural areas;
- the advancement of equal opportunities policies at the level of rural districts and local authorities;
- healthcare and health promotion, school and university education, and social security issues relevant to equal opportunities;
- assistance and prevention in cases of gender-related violence, in particular against women and girls.
Equal opportunities policies are also understood as a cross-institutional task for all bodies – in the sense of gender mainstreaming – to which the Saxon regional state government committed itself in a resolution in 2004. In keeping with this objective, gender mainstreaming officers were appointed for all bodies, pilot projects were initiated and a ‘gender mainstreaming’ interministerial working group was established.
In June 2011, the ministry launched an Equal Opportunity Advisory Board (with a corresponding office).
Ministerium für Justiz und Gleichstellung Sachsen-Anhalt (Ministry of Justice and Gender Equality of the State of Saxony-Anhalt):
The state parliament of Saxony-Anhalt passed a resolution in November 2011 that a “state programme for a gender-equal Saxony-Anhalt” be prepared. Responsibility for coordinating the project fell to Department 002 “Women and Gender Equality” of the Ministry of Justice and Gender Equality. The members of the project steering group comprise representatives of the state chancellery and ministries as well as representatives of the Council of Women’s Associations of Saxony-Anhalt (Landesfrauenrat Sachsen-Anhalt e.V.), of the state-wide workgroup of the municipal gender equality officers (Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft (LAG) der kommunalen Gleichstellungsbeauftragten), of the full-time gender equality officers within the departments, of the head organisations of the municipalities, of universities and colleges, of the business sector, the chambers of industry and commerce, the trade unions and of the Regional Directorate of Saxony-Anhalt/Thuringia of the Federal Employment Agency. Women’s and gender equality policy is a specialist and cross-functional task that encompasses all social, economic, political and legal fields.
The Act on the Promotion of Women (Frauenfördergesetz) prescribes that a coordination centre for women’s and gender equality policy in the state of Saxony-Anhalt be established. This centre is responsible for accompanying state parliament projects that are of particular significance to gender equality policy. The tasks with which the coordination centre is vested include running the Gender Mainstreaming Interministerial Working Group (IMAG), working hand in hand with all women policy and gender equality policy actors in the country, and especially with the municipal and full-time gender equality officers. They also include assisting women’s projects and centres as well as supporting projects, self-help groups and activities combating physical, and also sexual violence against women and girls. The IMAG is working on taking stock and following up on the gender mainstreaming work in the state administration of Saxony-Anhalt. Based on the goals set by the governing parties, the focal point of “Women in leading positions in the state administration” here lies in raising the proportion of women in high-ranking positions within the state administration and in the downstream areas to 40 percent. In the bodies supporting the EU Structural Funds EF/EFRE and ELER, the Coordination Centre for Women’s and Gender Equality Policy of the State of Saxony-Anhalt also works towards the cross-sectional goal of “equality between women and men” being respected in all stages of the programming and implementation process in keeping with the EU guidelines. The Coordination Centre is the point of contact for the state’s citizens. Its employees provide information, advice and assistance. Political concepts and objectives, activities and programmes such as the gender mainstreaming concept and the programme for a gender-equal Saxony-Anhalt are prepared by the Coordination Centre.
On the subject of gender mainstreaming, the ministry’s website provides information on resolutions and other legal bases as well as on research projects, application projects and on the IMAG. It also includes examples of how gender mainstreaming is being implemented as well as data and publications. On the subject of women’s and gender equality policy, the same website contains information on equal opportunities for women and men, means of funding, actors/networks, the combating of violence against women, EU projects as well as the legal bases.
(Ministry of Justice and Gender Equality of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (o.J.): Coordination Centre for Women’s and Gender Equality Policy of the State of Saxony-Anhalt., last accessed: 09.02.15; state programme for a gender-equal Saxony-Anhalt., last accessed: 09.02.15).
Ministerium für Soziales, Gesundheit, Familie und Gleichstellung (Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Family Affairs and Gender Equality (MSGFG) Schleswig Holstein):
Gender equality policy of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Family Affairs and Gender Equality (MSGFG) Schleswig Holstein focuses on the following areas:
- Education, career choice, business start-ups (child daycare centres as places of learning, transition from school to career, business start-ups and gender mainstreaming)
- Work-life balance
- HR development
- Culture, media, gender
Beauftragte Für Die Gleichstellung Von Frau Und Mann Im Thüringer Ministerium Für Soziales, Familie Und Gesundheit (Officer For Equal Opportunities Of Women And Men In The Thuringian Ministry Of Social Affairs, Family And Health):
The equal opportunities officer is given the task of applying the basic principle of equal opportunities stipulated in the Regional State Constitution within the regional state government and in the public sphere. The basis for this charge is the Thuringian Equal Opportunities Act of 1998.
The equal opportunities officer focuses primarily on equal opportunities policies, industry, employment and careers, social affairs and health, violence against women, women in the sciences, guidelines, and networks.
Gender Policy Bodies Of The Federal And Regional State Governments:
Federal/Regional State Government Working Group on Domestic Violence (since 2000)
Federal/Regional State Government Working Group on the Trafficking of Women (since 1997)
GenderKompetenzZentrum (Gender Competence Center):
The GenderCompetenceCenter is an application-oriented research institution at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin which supports public administrative institutions in the implementation of gender mainstreaming strategies.
It was founded in October 2003 as an externally funded project within the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies (ZtG) to assist the federal public administrative institutions in the implementation of gender mainstreaming. Until July 2010 it was financed by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.
A concept was developed to ensure the centre’s independence and to take advantage of various funding options; since August 2010, the centre has existed as the institution of a non-profit association. It continues to contribute to a differentiated analysis of often very complicated situations of inequality in order to provide impulses for political debate.
The centre plans to integrate its current research on gender into an understanding of equal opportunities politics. The objective in this context is to help in the elimination of any and all forms of discrimination. Clear focuses of content and new services are intended to address an even wider spectrum of people active in this field.
Gender-Institut Sachsen-Anhalt (or ‘G/I/S/A’, The Gender Institute Of Saxony-Anhalt):
“The first national gender institute, the GISA (Gender-Institut Sachsen-Anhalt), came into existence in 2001. As a competence centre for gender mainstreaming, the GISA has dedicated itself to fostering a reduction in knowledge gaps and difficulties understanding the deviating situations facing women and men and shaping the relationship between the genders in every aspect of societal life for the benefit of both sides. To this end, the GISA strives to help develop the bases of evidence-based gender equality policy that is geared to the needs and interests of every citizen.” (http://www.sachsen-anhalt.de/index.php?id=3618, last accessed: 12.12.13)
Konferenz der Einrichtungen für Frauen- und Geschlechterstudien im Deutschsprachigen Raum - KEG (Committee of Women’s and Gender Studies Institutions in German-Speaking Areas):
Institutions working in the field of gender studies in German-speaking regions founded an umbrella organisation in the summer of 2006. The website of the committee provides information on the institutions involved as well as on the umbrella organisation’s activities, workshops and working groups.
Interesting assemblage of links on (national and international) gender research institutions
- Centre for the Promotion of Women’s Studies and Women’s Research at the Freie Universität Berlin
- Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
- Center for Interdisciplinary Women’s and Gender Studies at the Technische Universität Berlin
- Harriet Taylor Mill-Institute for Economic and Gender Studies at the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR)
- Interdisciplinary Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies (IFF) at the Universität Bielefeld
- Forum on Women’s and Gender Research at the Universität Bonn
- Centre of Excellence Women and Science CEWS, Bonn
- Centre for Gender Studies (ZGS) at the Universität Bremen
- Essen College of Gender Studies at the Universität Duisburg-Essen
- gender portal at the Universität Duisburg-Essen
- Interdisciplinary Centre for Women's and Gender Studies (IZFG) at the Universität Greifswald
- Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at the Universität Leipzig
- Women’s Research Network NRW
- Centre for Gender Studies and Feminist Futurology at the Philipps-Universität Marburg
This study was conducted by Tanja Berger und Pamela Dorsch and comissioned by the Gunda Werner Institute of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in 2010.
All images, except marked otherwise Public Domain CC0