“Kinder, Kirche, Kuche.” Designating the social role of women, the old slogan continues to haunt Germany, today. Suffering the lowest wages in the EU (23.2% less than men) and amongst the poorest representation in corporate leadership (only 3.7 percent sit on the boards of listed firms, according to Germany’s Labor Minister) to foreign women with executive experience, such statistics can be shocking.
Well, perhaps not so much. Though I have not had the same experience working in this country, it’d be impossible to make oneself oblivious to the feelings of marginalization expressed by German women. For example, in August, Berlin witnessed one of Europe’s more charged Slutwalks, with women protesting every manner of discrimination imaginable. Though the city is not exactly unknown for being outspoken, such demonstrations come from very real places.
This sticker, taped to a lamp post near my home, sums up the anger one can pick up here quite nicely. Yes, it’s a bit over the top, and its subject is violence, not labor. However, sometimes it is only because of such posturing that men, and other women, will sit up and take notice. Would somebody please prevail upon the Chancellor? I recognize that she’s a conservative. However, one would think that being female, it might occur to Frau Merkel that something is really wrong here.
Photograph courtesy of the author