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Gender Mainstreaming and gender equality policy

Gender Mainstreaming and gender equality policy

The aim of gender equality policy is the equal distribution of resources and equal treatment of women and men in participation at all levels and in all areas of society. Its repertoire of measures includes in particular support and promotion measures, such as promotion of women and anti-discrimination measures, in order to dismantle gender-specific discrimination and bring about equality of opportunities. Gender equality policy aims to establish gender equality in the institutions of political, economic and social life.

The development of gender equality in the Federal Republic of Germany is largely due to the efforts of the New Women’s Movement and, in the past few years, increasingly to political initiatives at European and international level. It has taken a long time to constitute gender equality policy as part of the policy of the State in reaction to social demands. The first active involvement of the State can be seen at the end of the 90s with the strategy Gender Mainstreaming. The institutionalization of gender equality policy began in the 70s with the first federal state women’s officers and continued through the 80s at national and local government level, but also in the corporate sector and universities. The primary goal of this policy was to increase the number of women at the various levels of society. This policy collided with a gender regime that tended to be rather conservative.

Well into the 70s, the policy of the German Government was oriented to a marriage-centered family image. It was therefore hard, within the State context, for demands to develop for a change in the direction of gender equality in the gender-specific division of labor in the employment market and the family. This fixation on the breadwinner model has changed only very slowly since the mid-70s and is dominant even now in many institutional arrangements (tax-splitting between husband and wife, tax classes, inclusion of family in health insurance, etc.). The political situation thus continues to be characterized by a strong contrast between independent policy on women and State policy on families, which makes mutual synergies difficult. The State is perceived even now in Germany as hardly likely to be a (possible) motor for gender equality policy.

On the other hand, equal treatment of women and men was established as an official State goal in the GDR and was provided with specific measures for its realization. In the field of paid employment, the aim was to treat women and men equally and to enable compatibility of motherhood and employment. Considerable political efforts were undertaken for this. This gender equality policy was, however, in the first place a policy on working women, then on training and qualification, and, finally, on families, with the focus on the compatibility of work and family for women. This was known as “Muttipolitik” or “mummy policy”. Men were as a rule not included, or at least not until a much later stage, in this policy field. We can speak of a women-centered gender equality policy here, which, on the one hand, promoted a high level of integration of women in the labor market, and therefore their independence, but, on the other hand, hardly touched the gender-specific division of labor in the sphere of reproduction.

State gender equality policy is not governed by any clear regulations. Under the law as it is at present, the State is not supposed to prescribe any particular way of life, but is instead required to ensure that there are neither advantages nor disadvantages for particular living circumstances. At the European level, the Amsterdam Treaty obliges the Community to promote the equal treatment of women and men in all fields. The State actors in Germany are obliged under Article 3 (2) of the Basic Law (GG) to implement equal treatment of women and men in fact and are thus obliged to bring about gender equality. To this end, measures oriented to gender equality are used as well as targeted promotion measures, whereby de facto disadvantages may be balanced out by favorable arrangements in order to create equality of opportunities.

This group of legal bases is intended to oblige political, economic and administrative actors to implement gender equality. While these legal arrangements have achieved a high level of commitment in the public sector, not least through the introduction of equal opportunities commissioners and the entry into force of the Federal Equal Treatment Act, voluntary agreements predominate in the private sector. The Anti-Discrimination Directives of the European Union, which also apply to the private sector have not yet been passed into national law in Germany. A few political actors such as the trade union Ver.di and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which have their own principle of gender democracy, have developed their own gender concepts.

The strategy GM is a new approach to gender equality policy. With its help, it is intended to establish a way of acting that is oriented to gender equality at all levels and in all fields of policy and administration. Gender equality policy can thus be seen as the cross-sectional political framework for Gender Mainstreaming.

International gender equality policy has been given sharper teeth since the 4th World Women’s Conference in Peking in 1995. There, 189 countries adopted in consensus a joint programme for the equal treatment of women and men. Under the heading “Peking plus 10” [German], the German government inter alia reports on national measures that have been taken to promote gender equality. At the end of 2005, the 1st Data Report on the Equal Treatment of Women and Men in the Federal Republic of Germany [German] was published.

Literature and links

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ): Women in Germany (2004), (including data on different subject areas and a measures and acts on equal opportunities since 1949).

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ): Policy for the future - The goals of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (2006).

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ): Twentieth Anniversary of the Ministry for Women - Broaden gender roles, win perspectives, realize equality (2007).

Doris Urbanek: LARG - state of the art and mapping of competences report: Germany (2007).

Alex Seeland: Report from Germany for European Database „Women in Decision-making” (2000).

Mara Kuhl: Gender Mainstreaming and the women's movement (2003).

BMFSFJ: 1. Datenreport zur Gleichstellung von Frauen und Männern in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 2005.

Fuhrmann, Nora: Geschlechterpolitik im Prozess der europäischen Integration, Wiesbaden 2005.

Glossar Recht und Geschlecht an der HU-Berlin: Gleichheit.

Helwig, Giesela/Nickel, Hildegard: Frauen in Deutschland 1945-1992, Bonn 1993.

Wetterer, Angelika: Gleichstellungspolitik und Geschlechterwissen – Facetten schwieriger Vermittlungen; Vortrag im Rahmen der Gender Lecture

erstellt von Administrator zuletzt verändert: 02.01.2010 20:07