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Germany's Ministry For Women Discriminates Against Women

The current and past Minister have both been women (not to mention Chancellor Angela Merkel). But that's apparently not enough...

Schroeder was Minister at the time of the lawsuit
Schroeder was Minister at the time of the lawsuit
Freia Peters

BERLIN – Establishing a government ministry to fight discrimination was a good first step. Naming a woman as cabinet minister to run it also surely helped.

But now, it turns out, the Berlin Administrative Court has ruled that the German Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) was discriminating against women when it came to filling (other) leading jobs at the ministry.

The ministry’s own equal opportunities officer, Kristin Rose-Möhring, sued the ministry and won. In 2011 and 2012, three leading positions in the ministry were given to men. "The fact that the equal opportunities officer was not involved in the decision-making process in the case of three jobs filled in 2011 and 2012 at the BMFSFJ was against the law," says the court decision.

It’s a devastating verdict for Family Minister Manuela Schwesig, even though the three cases date back to her predecessor Kristina Schröder. However, to Rose-Möhring’s mind the new minister has not changed the way candidates are chosen.

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Schwesig has been Minister since 2008 — Photo: Jean11

Rose-Möhring says that she had no say in the selection of the three men and that the final decisions had been taken to hire them by the time she found out.

"The plaintiff was either not told or only told shortly before the new candidate began work," the court decision continues. "Her attempts to raise objection and find out-of-court solutions were unsuccessful."

In all three cases, the court ruled, the equal opportunities officer’s right to be involved in the selection process had been disregarded. The officer had to be a part of decisions involving personnel and could to a significant degree determine the course of action.

At the ministry, Secretary of State Ralf Kleindiek told Die Welt: "We welcome the verdict. It strengthens the rights of the equal opportunities officer and helps clarify the situation."

The practice has already borne fruit: of three secretaries of state two are women. In May decisions will be taken about section heads out of five, three will be women. Over 50% of division heads are women.

The total number of women in leading jobs at the BMFSFJ is 51.6% higher than in any other federal ministry.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Piercing The "Surovikin Line" — Inside The Biggest Win Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

The area around Robotyne, in southeastern Ukraine, has been the centre of a fierce two-month battle. Ukrainian publication Livy Bereg breaks down how Ukrainian forces were able to exploit gaps in Russian defenses and push the counteroffensive forward.

photo of two soldiers advancing at daybreak

A new dawn across the front line?

Kyrylo Danylchenko

ROBOTYNE — Since the fall of 2022, Russian forces have been building a series of formidable defensive lines in Ukrainian territory, from Vasylivka in the Zaporizhzhia region to the front in Vremivka in the Donetsk region.

These defenses combined high-density minefields, redoubts (fortified structures like wooden bunkers, concrete fortifications and buried granite blocks), as well as anti-tank ditches and pillboxes. Such an extensive and intricate defensive network had not been seen in Europe since World War II.

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