Merkel calls for more women to join politics

Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged women to play a greater role in politics, saying that Germany needs to catch up with other European nations in boosting its number of female politicians.

Merkel calls for more women to join politics
Photo: DPA

In her weekly podcast streamed on the internet, Merkel said Germany had come a long way since the country first introduced female suffrage, but added that more should be done to raise female participation in local-level politics.

“Women make use of their voting rights almost as often as men. But they are still underrepresented when it comes to political mandates,” the chancellor said.

On Monday, Merkel, who is Germany’s first female chancellor, is to host a ceremony in the chancellery to mark 90 years of female suffrage in Germany. Merkel pointed out that the number of women parliamentarians in the Bundestag had almost tripled in recent years, saying today every third MP is female.

But with its 32 percent of female parliamentarians, Germany still lags behind northern European countries where the percentage of female MPs is much higher. Sweden has the highest number, 47 percent, followed by Finland and the Netherlands with 41 percent each.

Among the 15 members of the German cabinet, seven are women, including Merkel. “We still have a lot of catching-up to do particularly in the local councils and states legislative assemblies,” Merkel said.

With Germany facing eight local elections this year alone, the chancellor said she wanted to encourage women to get more involved in the political decision-making process and help shape society. “I also want more men to encourage women to take more responsibility,” she added.