German family minister throws weight behind parliamentary parity law | News | DW | 14.02.2019
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German family minister throws weight behind parliamentary parity law

Women make up about 31 percent of parliamentarians in the German Bundestag. A group of cross-party politicians are working to bring that up to parity with their male colleagues, and Franziska Giffey is backing them.

German Family Minister Franziska Giffey has said she backs the cross-party initiative introduced by female members of parliament to address the low number of women in parliament.

"Nothing will change by itself," Giffey told the Redaktions Netzwerk Deutschland newspaper group on Thursday. "All women's rights were fought for, they did not fall from the sky."

"We must improve the framework conditions so that women can be equally active in politics," Giffey said. "In France, Spain or Argentina, there are already regulations that ensure or promote the equality of women and men in all parliaments," she added.

The Bundestag in plenary session

The Bundestag in plenary session

Germany ranks 13th of the EU's 28 states for the proportion of women in parliament, and 47th out of 193 states worldwide. 

Her comments came ahead of a meeting on Thursday of female parliamentarians from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Free Democratic Party (FDP), the Greens and the Left.

Giffey praised the Brandenburg Parity Law passed by the state parliament in January. It obliges political parties to include the same number of women as men on their electoral lists, in alternating order, for state elections.

Opponents of the parity initiative say it may violate the German constitution in terms of freedom of choice.

Germany's Bundestag ranks 47th of 193 states worldwide for the proportion of women members, compared to men.

Germany's Bundestag ranks 47th of 193 states worldwide for the proportion of women members, compared to men.

Company pressure too

Giffey also wants to introduce fines to put more pressure on publicly listed companies to bring women into management positions, the Düsseldorf-based Handelsblatt newspaper reported Thursday.

"We have to go where it hurts, and that's money," said Giffey.

"We are working on this together with the Federal Ministry of Justice and have already come quite far with the draft bill," Giffey said, adding that she expected to present the draft law during the first half of the year.

Watch video 04:28

Under her authority – women in business

law/jm (AFP, dpa)

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