The freezing Tupper Party

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Generations of women will continue to talk about how three CDU politicians have promoted equal rights. One column.

If men do it, then that’s the way they are. If it is done by women, then it is indecent, not appropriate and not fair. I am talking about pulling strings. Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer have just demonstrated how women do this to each other for the history books. No, you don’t have to agree with them politically, you can even consider one or the other to be a miscast. But nevertheless, generations of women will talk in future about how three CDU politicians have taken a big step forward in promoting equality between men and women. Power is no longer male. Power, as Merkel von der Leyen and Kramp Karrenbauer have proved, is finally also feminine.

The world is not fair, women in particular know that. So far it has been the case that it has been reserved for men to play out their advantages on the big stage. Often with unfair means, even more often to the disadvantage of women. These, on the other hand, should also be social at work and show empathy. Female competitors were not fought against, but included with understanding. Women’s networks were thought of Prosecco rides and Tupper parties. And women received recognition only if they had outdone the man’s lover – but not if they had prevailed against a competitor in the office.

Men are no better than women, women no better than men. The difference is that men always fight for themselves and only involve other men. Women organise themselves, they function as a team, they are in constant communication and reinforce each other. Not voluntarily, but because they have to and because they must not give their opponents a chance to attack. Men want to win at any price. Do not lose women.

Of course Merkel, von der Leyen and Kramp-Karrenbauer are not the type of woman that has been associated with feminism so far. Probably they are not even interested in equal rights in their political coup: Nevertheless, they played perfectly on the keyboard of power. And all women will benefit from this in the future. For even though equality between women and men has been enshrined in the Basic Law, it has not yet become a reality and normality in politics, business or society. But now it is one step closer.

Angela Merkel, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Ursula von der Leyen have demonstrated to my daughter that you can do anything as a woman in this country. The point is not how, but that they have done it. That is the central message to young women and girls. In the future, they will have to develop the “how” for themselves – with their own personality and against the background of their socialisation. And in this context I’m learning a lot of new things these days: success doesn’t have to come across as broad-legged and rumbling, but also works on quiet feet.

And Merkel’s personnel merry-go-round has made something else clear: not everything automatically gets better when women come to power. Whether Ursula von der Leyen or Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer are technically suitable, they now have to prove it like any man. Because only when incompetent women can also make a career is equality realised.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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