Paus, 53, has been a member of the Bundestag lower house of parliament since 2009 and is vice-chair of the Green party’s parliamentary group.
She helped develop plans for universal financial protection for children from poor families, a key policy in Germany’s coalition agreement between the Social Democrats, Greens and liberal FDP.
Born in North Rhine-Westphalia state, Paus and has a degree in economics and made a name for herself in the Bundestag as a financial expert.
She has raised her son alone since her partner died of cancer in 2013.
Ricarda Lang, co-chair of the party, described Paus as a “committed fighter for social justice” and said she was “exactly the right person” for the ministry.
Paus, who is expected to take up the post within the next two weeks, described herself as a “strong feminist” and said she wanted to improve the lives of single parents.
Paus will replace Anne Spiegel, 41, who resigned on Monday after coming under pressure for taking a summer vacation last year not long after Germany suffered deadly flooding.
Spiegel left for the holiday 10 days after the floods killed over 180 people in western regions including Rhineland-Palatinate, where she was the state environment minister at the time.
She said she had decided to step down “because of political pressure”. “I am doing this to avert damage to the office, which is facing great political challenges,” she said in a statement.
Spiegel was the first minister to resign from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet, in power since December.