Feature

Germany: Pro-family policy for the rich

It sounds like a joke: Germany’s family minister is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

Ina Freudenschuss
Der Standard (Austria)

It sounds like a joke: Germany’s family minister is stepping down to spend more time with her family, said Ina Freudenschuss. Unfortunately, it’s not really a laughing matter. Family Minister Kristina Schröder, a member of newly re-elected Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said her ministerial duties left her little time to be with her young daughter. She’s “decided to leave the job, and personally nobody can blame her.” Still, it’s a bit suspicious that her decision coincides so perfectly with her party’s “political agenda.” After all, as minister, Schröder tried to weaken the quota system for women in workplaces, and she wanted to give money to women who cared for their kids at home rather than sending them to kindergarten. Predictably, Germans greeted the announcement of her resignation with scorn. One commenter tweeted, “My wife wants to leave her job too, only we need the money.” Another said, “It sucks when you can’t have a job and a family. We should have a ministry for that!” The lesson is obvious: Freedom of choice is “an empowering idea for those who can afford it.” But for those who lack that flexibility and need politicians to defend their rights as workers, such freedom exists only in “the land of fairy tales.”

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