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Women slam 'their' minister for new book

Women slam 'their' minister for new book
Photo: DPA

German Women's and Family Minister Kristina Schröder faced a storm of outrage as she presented her new book, "Danke, emanzipiert sind wir selber!" ("Thanks, we're emancipated ourselves!") in Berlin this week.

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The book has been read as an attack on feminist role models, and heavily criticised by the media and opposition politicians alike.

In this light, it was seen as an odd choice to launch Schröder's work in an alternative culture venue in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district, an area considered to have a high proportion of well-educated women with children.

Schröder wrote that women are equally oppressed by gender roles propagated by feminists as they are by those forced on them by traditional conservatives. She argues that these roles instil "a bad conscience, self-doubt and insecurity" in modern women.

While praising the level of emancipation achieved by women in the past, Schröder, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union, attacked modern feminism as a harmful "quasi-religious world-view."

But critics argue that the inequalities faced by women in the job market have much more to do with more practical concerns, such as Germany's chronic lack of kindergarten places.

The government is also in the process of introducing a highly controversial "childcare benefit" (Betreuungsgeld) – a monthly state allowance for parents who keep their children at home.

Accordingly, the venue for the book's launch was filled almost exclusively with young women – a similar generation to the 34-year-old Schröder – who took a hostile view of the minister's ideas. "We want kindergarten places – not Betreuungsgeld" some women shouted at the entrance to the hall.

One group of women brought a banner reading "Your theses are from yesterday," while another group chanted "Thanks for our place in the kitchen."

The Local/DPA/bk

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