Women’s quota: a talk about the pros and cons of politics

What can, what should, a possible traffic light coalition of the SPD, FDP and the Greens implement in the future? And: what role will young people, but especially young women, play in the future? This was discussed on Tuesday by the three young politicians Jessica Rosenthal (SPD), Franziska Brandmann (FDP) and Deborah Düring (Greens) in the so-called “Polittalk” – a panel discussion organized by RBB-Inforadio and the Süddeutsche Zeitung was streamed live.

About the people: Both Deborah Düring, 27 years old, spokeswoman for the young Greens in Hesse since 2019, and Jessica Rosenthal, 29, chairwoman of the Jusos, i.e. the young SPD, have been members of the German Bundestag since the new legislative period. The 27-year-old Franziska Brandmann from the FDP, however, does not sit in the Bundestag. She was elected federal chairman of the Young Liberals last Sunday.

What the three have in common: They are women under 30, politically active since they were teenagers and self-confident in their demeanor. And all three of them demonstrated something else in the political talk: a binding tone with which, despite the harshness of the matter, they show themselves willing to listen to the arguments of their counterparts and to take them seriously. Of course, there were also big differences in content between the three politicians, who come from different parties.

The politicians disagreed above all on the speed limit (Brandmann on the other hand, Rosenthal and Düring for it), but also on the implementation of an efficient climate policy. Düring argued for an end to the autobahn, which the liberal Brandmann did not like. This drew attention to the fact that people in rural areas in particular are dependent on a car. The young green politician disagreed: You just have to expand rail traffic at the same time and ensure that it is affordable for everyone. Brandmann could not convince her that a quick expansion of the local public transport as planned by the Greens is “absolutely unrealistic” for the July boss.

The biggest point of contention in the discussion, however, was the question of a mandatory quota for women in politics. Brandmann spoke out against it right at the beginning of the discussion: “I’m an absolute opponent of the quota, I don’t think that will help very much.” Instead, competition within the parties should be made fairer and women should be encouraged to “demand a greater hearing”. The other discussants strongly disagreed. “I wouldn’t be here if there weren’t any quota,” said Social Democrat Rosenthal. The Green Düring also positioned itself against Brandmann. Patriarchal structures cannot be broken up by “courageous women” alone.

The possible traffic light coalition is on the right track

The topics of the political talk were based on a current, representative survey carried out by the Allensbach Institute at the beginning of November. In this survey, around two thirds of the men questioned stated that a balanced gender ratio in the Bundestag was “not important” to them. The women surveyed saw it differently. 45 percent of them consider it important that about as many women as men are represented in the Bundestag.

The same survey showed something else: Although a majority (38 percent) of all respondents indicated the traffic light coalition as their preferred coalition after the federal election, at the same time only 23 percent were confident that the traffic lights could also implement the innovations that the respondents want for Germany wish.

When asked about this, the young politicians answered confidently. “It is natural that we first have to prove that we mean it,” said Düring. The head of the young liberals is also optimistic about the future of the traffic light. In their opinion, the three parties don’t all want 100 percent the same thing, but they are able to compromise. In any case, this willingness to compromise will be important, because the German population wants change. In the above survey, around 80 percent of those questioned were in favor of a comprehensive renewal or at least minor reforms in Germany. It remains to be seen whether this will succeed.


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