Female representation problem in the CDU? “The CDU has a women’s problem: After Merkel and von der Leyen, Germany’s Next Female Christian Democrat is missing. Coincidence or relapse? It’s best to ask Rita Süssmuth,” says Kirsten Küppers at ZEIT ONLINE (Z+).

“With Rita Süssmuth, former Minister for Women and later President of the Bundestag, the path for women in the CDU actually began. In 2018, for the first time, the most important positions the party had to offer were filled by women: Angela Merkel as Chancellor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as CDU party leader, Ursula von der Leyen as Defense Minister. And the whole country was briefly impressed ‘by so much progressiveness. Especially from the CDU.’

2024: Ursula von der Leyen is President of the European Commission and wants to remain in office for another term. ‘But von der Leyen is also one of the last women the CDU can showcase when it comes to filling top positions. In fact, men have once again taken over the power in the CDU: Merz, Spahn, Linnemann, Wüst, Haseloff, Kretschmer, Rhein, Laumann, Voigt, Günther, Lechner, Schulze, Wegner (…).’

The proportion of women in the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag is still only 26% – only the AfD has a lower proportion.

Rita Süssmuth, now 87, observes all of this very closely, Küppers says. ‘She experienced it herself, the highs and lows, the dirty side of politics, the injuries, the pushing aside, experienced that it’s one thing when men talk about equality, and quite another when it comes to actually giving up power.’

Süssmuth pushed forward the emancipation inch by inch, often being further ahead than her party with her new political approaches and concepts. ‘I sometimes felt like on a lonely island,’ she says.

In her old age, she may be even more impatient in her desire for change. ‘More women belong at the forefront of the CDU. Because with women, politics changes. Because issues that are only secondary to many become the main focus. Questions about war and peace, conflict resolution without violence, child poverty, or women’s old-age security, for example.’

According to Küppers, the CDU cannot actually afford to do without women – also because women are more likely to vote for women. But the party is not keeping up with reality. However, ‘it could take a cue from its former minister Süssmuth, be closer to the people, dare to try a few things. Some things would work out, some wouldn’t. The party could stumble, get up, and continue. Just like it would.'”


Posted by herCAREER, 
published on LinkedIn on 11.06.2024