German mayor slams all-male charity event for refusing to invite her | News | DW | 21.01.2019
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German mayor slams all-male charity event for refusing to invite her

Bremen's Eiswette charity event refused to invite Bremen's substitute mayor because she is a woman. The president of the men's club said "even the pope wouldn't have been invited if he were a woman."

An all-male club in the northern city-state of Bremen caused a stir over the weekend when it left a major name off its invite list for a charity event — because she was a woman.

Karoline Linnert, who is the finance senator and one of the city's mayors, was not invited to take part in Bremen's annual "Eiswette" ("ice bet") even though she is the designated representative for Bremen's primary mayor, Senate President Carsten Sieling.

Sieling couldn't attend the event on Saturday because he was in Poland attending the funeral of Pawel Adamowicz, the recently murdered mayor of Gdansk.

"The gentlemen of the Eiswette place great emphasis on etiquette. But protocol suddenly doesn't play a role any more when — horror of horrors — the official substitute for the [male] mayor of Bremen is actually the [female] mayor of Bremen," Linnert wrote on Facebook on Friday.

Bremen mayor Karoline Linnert (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Jaspersen)

Karoline Linnert criticized the club for discriminating against women "under the guise of tradition"

Since 1829, the men's club in charge of the Eiswette takes bets in January on whether or not the local Weser River has frozen or not.

The event culminates in a charity dinner which collects money to donate to the German Maritime Search and Rescue Association (DGzRS).

All-men club dismisses 'gender-gaga'

Federal ministers and diplomats are among the hundreds of attendees at the dinner, who are required to be dressed in smoking jackets.

"We're celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage in Germany — and the Eiswette still believes it is right to exclude women under the guise of tradition," Linnert wrote.

Bremen's interior senator, Ulrich Mäurer, declined to attend the event in solidarity with Linnert.

Prior to Saturday's charity event, the president of the club dismissed criticism over the decision.

"We are a gentlemen's club and don't participate in this gender-gaga," club head Patrick Wendisch told the German daily Bild.

"Even the pope wouldn't have been invited if he were a woman," he added.

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