Feminist Icon But Not A Feminist
Much like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Chancellor Angela Merkel heads a feminist movement without calling herself a feminist. In Germany, there is a negative connotation about feminism, and during the time of Thatcher, it was frowned upon. Both of these women have worked closely with the conservative groups of their respected countries, but neither allowed themselves to be called feminists.
In Chancellor Merkel’s case, she has been leader of Germany for the last 12 years, and she is in position become elected for another term. Many females of Germany grew up with Angela Merkel as chancellor, knowing that they can reach high public office. For some of the young lives of these German women, there has never been a time without Angela Merkel in the public eye.
Part of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, she is a conservative and leading member of the world. Many argue that she has the ability to become leader of the free world. Her name is household in many countries besides her own with how she has handled herself and the refugee crisis.
Hillary Clinton, when she ran for President of United States of America, hoped to have the reach that Chancellor Merkel has. Unlike Chancellor Merkel, Secretary Clinton called herself a feminist, which for some people threw them off her base. While feminism is just the belief that women should be equal with men socially, economically and politically, for some people it scares them. It also goes onto the topic of “women’s issues” and does that mean we no longer care about “men’s issues”?
Germany seems very progressive in the world from healthcare to infrastructure, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2017 that gay marriage illegal. There is paid leave in Germany, and day care is cheaper. But there is also the lack of movement in the feminism.
Chancellor Merkel symbolizes what feminism can do, but she rarely puts a name to it. Her country suffers because of it.
Many women have to choose between having children or a job. There are not before or after school programs, and as the children get older, their school days are a regular American’s schedule of middle or high school, but the schedule resembles more of an university schedule, where classes are random. As well as schools are not placed in every city since it is based on a level of the child, such as a tradesman school versus a school that leads the child to university for four to eight years. The usual work orders of the day are spent much time on the children and getting them where they are needed.
If a couple has a child, a man is not expected to stay home, but the women is. In my times in Germany, I have had three host families. Two out of the three host families had more than one child and then the mothers stayed home. I am not here to state that stay-at-home mothers are any less, but I am here to state that women are expected to stay home. While my third host mother had three children around the same age of early teens, my first host mother had two daughters that were late teens. My third host mother has a degree in science, but due to the fact of choosing to be a mother, she gave up her degree. If she does choose to reenter the workforce, by the time her children are all grown up, science may have moved on, and her education will be outdated.
For the women who are choosing work over children, like Chancellor Merkel, there are not many problems. They are not seen as less in the eyes’ of the many. More and more women are choosing work over children. Germany, like other countries, do not have the workforce that is needed. When the refugee crisis began, Chancellor Merkel saw the chance and took it to replenish the jobs that no one wanted or weren’t filled.
Even though women are choosing work, they may have less choice in the job. Chancellor Merkel shows women can be in the position, but not many women are CEO’s or high in companies. The question is asked, “You have Chancellor Merkel, what more could you want?” In truth, just because there is a female chancellor, prime minister or president, does not mean feminism has finally won.
Many German women find it difficult to get high-ranked jobs. Educators and hairdressers are abundant, but there are only three CEO’s in Germany’s 160 publically traded companies, reports AllBright Foundation. Feminism has not gone far for most German women, where they are yet expected at home with children. Many German women carry degrees in business and the sciences, but they are unable to work their way up.
If Chancellor Merkel accepted that feminism is a dirty word and that she reflects what most feminists believe, it is possible to have turnaround in Germany to show their progressiveness again. Chancellor Merkel is a feminist icon, whether she likes it or not.