Thursday, January 28

Land of Equality?

After posting my last post (the one about the disappearance of the Fraulein), I went over this blog again, having a look at some of the older posts. While doing so, I realized something strange: Compared to other countries, Germany seems to be a Feminist paradise.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that everything is just perfect in Germany. We do have a pay gap as well and there’s still some things which will stand in your way to success simply because you’re a woman – such as most men expecting their wife to stay home once they have kids. But compared to the things I read at “The F-Word” or other feminist sites, it really seems as if the women in Germany have it easy.

Harassment is not very common on German streets, neither in small towns nor in big cities (unless some rather dangerous areas). The distinction between married and unmarried women I’ve written about in the last post before this does only exist theoretically (because the word ‘Fraulein’ is rarely used anymore). We have a female head of state at the moment (although the percentage of women in high management still is quite low) and about fifty percent of the people who finish university (and work in high-paid jobs afterwards) are women.

We still have a problem with day care for children with working mothers (to the leading parties of our parliament, the reality of about every second woman with children working isn’t ‘really’ real), but that’s nothing that can’t be changed. The first steps have been taken already.

Society still seems to differ between ‘acceptable behaviour’ for men and women in some ways. (But, unlike in this article, men and women working in certain areas both are supposed to look very professional – and the women not necessarily all that sexy, just very much like their male counterparts with business suits [with skirts, if they prefer it] and an overall well-groomed exterior [which, for women, usually includes some touches of make-up].) Nevertheless, the times in which it was argued women didn’t need a lot of schooling or learning a profession (“because they get married, anyway”) are long over. And getting married does no longer equal ‘no more work for money’. There are even some (though not all that many) cases in which the husband stays home with the kids while the wife earns the money (if she really has a much higher income than he has).

So, while the United States are still the “Land of Opportunities” (although not for as many people as in the past), Germany seems to be a “Land of Equality” at the moment. Let’s hope it stays that way and the problems still around will get resolved.

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