Merkel Commits to a Women's Quota

Merkel Does U-Turn On Women's QuotaAfter a significant internal dispute over the issue, the CDU is going to adopt a commitment to setting up quotas for women in the workplace.

The commitment, which is already backed by the CDU's opposition, would force all listed companies to hire women at a fixed rate of as at least 30% of their staff starting from 2020.

The proposal had been opposed by Chancelor Merkel originally, and is indeed very much out of step with the usual more liberal economic policies of the CDU. However, after an internal dispute over the issue threatened to split the ruling coalition in half, the Chancelor did a complete U-turn on her stance.

The insistence for a women's quota came from employment minister Ursula von der Leyen. She threatened to vote with the opposition on the issue if the CDU did not change its official stance.

The about turn on the part of Merkel has been heavily criticised. CDU party member Kurt Lauk said that "It can't be the political culture of the CDU tht a group can blackmail the party leadership with the threat to vote for an opposition measure."

The move is also very telling of the relationship between the CDU and their current coalition partners the FPD. The FPDs completely oppose the women's quotas. However, they have lost 66% of their support in recent months and do not expect to fare well in September's elections. 

Women currently occupy only 4% of the top jobs in Germany, compared to an average of 10% in OECD countries. 

Kurt Lauk added that "Suitability and achievement should be the benchmarks for management positions, not gender." 

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