Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective

Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective

Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective

Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective

Synopsis

Varieties of Feminism investigates the development of German feminism by contrasting it with women's movements that arise in countries, like the United States, committed to liberalism. With both conservative Christian and social democratic principles framing the feminist discourses and movement goals, which in turn shape public policy gains, Germany provides a tantalizing case study of gender politics done differently.

The German feminist trajectory reflects new political opportunities created first by national reunification and later, by European Union integration, as well as by historically established assumptions about social justice, family values, and state responsibility for the common good. Tracing the opportunities, constraints, and conflicts generated by using class struggle as the framework for gender mobilization- juxtaposing this with the liberal tradition where gender and race are more typically framed as similar- Ferree reveals how German feminists developed strategies and movement priorities quite different from those in the United States.

Excerpt

On January 21, 2005, the German parliament (the Bundestag) began discussing a bill to outlaw discrimination in employment, housing, and forms of private contracts. the law would cover discrimination based on gender, skin color, ethnic origin, disability, age, and religion, and it set up a national office to receive complaints and manage statistical information.

But what does it mean to target discrimination in 2005? One might compare the bill to the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the United States and wonder why it took more than forty years for Germany to get to this point. Another might see it as a response to the European Union (EU), for without Europe-level guidelines prohibiting discrimination and demanding member-state action, would Germany even then be considering such a bill? Yet another might observe that, although lacking antidiscrimination laws, German policy long included a strong constitutional mandate for gender equality. the constitution not only asserts that women and men have equal rights (something the us constitution still lacks) but also mandates the state take steps to realize this equality in practice.

German women are certainly visible as political actors. the government in 2005 was headed by Angela Merkel, the first female chancellor. the proportion . . .

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