By 2025, the quota for women in the CDU/CSU is to be 50 percent. This is not about feminism, but simply about the survival of the party.
The fact that the CDU/CSU is not down with younger female voters is due in particular to the top women Photo: Hans Christian Plambeck/laif
Men are more perceptive, competent and ambitious than women. That’s why around 70 percent of all members of the Bundestag are male, as are more than 90 percent of all mayors in the country.
In the Union, the situation is just as satisfactory: More than 70 percent of its members are men, as well as 80 percent of the members of the Bundestag. And yet, the CDU’s structural commission decided this week that a women’s quota should apply in the party in the future. Initially, it is to be 30 percent, rising to 50 percent by 2025. Why only?
Because the explanation of the selection of the best may not be entirely correct. It is not that men are to be denied intelligence, ability and a strong will across the board – it is just that these are perhaps not the central variables when it comes to representation and power.
For centuries, men have excluded women from education, public life and political office. Even today, women do more than twice as much unpaid care work and have less time (not least due to a lack of childcare options) for careers, including in politics.
Changing political culture
Add to this the fact that equals promote equals – in part to secure power. For one thing, the loss of political power means that other needs are taken into account. More women place more value on expanding all-day care, part-time work, alternative mobility concepts. It was only through the inter-factional alliance of women that it became possible to include marital rape as a separate criminal offense in the law in 1997. Incidentally, prominent opponents included the CDU/CSU politicians Volker Kauder, Horst Seehofer and Friedrich Merz.
This is accompanied by a change in political culture. Where men were still hooting and hollering at the desks in the Bundestag during this very debate, as if at a good joke, smarmy comments about dirndls now usher in the political fall. Even loud, authoritarian masculinity no longer goes down well everywhere. And finally, the loss of power means that the post in the district association no longer goes to Jurgen, but to Katharina. A quota deprives men of the self-evident right to settle matters among themselves.
The quota in the CDU/CSU would not be particularly radical – the lists, for example, would be subject to a target provision; in case of doubt, they would not be touched. And yet the innovation would be an earthquake. 34 years after the Greens, the party of men’s unions would profess not to want to lose touch with the present and to continue to claim relevance in the political business. Because a quota is no longer a question of conservative or progressive, but of existential importance.
Women voters are running away from the CDU/CSU, and young people in general. Only eleven percent of first-time voters:inside opted for it in the 2019 European elections. CDU/CSU members are on average not only male, but also over 60, and about a quarter are older than 70. The fact that the party is not completely out of favor with younger female voters is due in particular to top women like Merkel and von der Leyen. But even they can’t change the fact that the party’s base is not attractive to female members. Whether the party wants to or not, it needs women.
The federal party conference in December still has to confirm the quota. To reassure the angry base, this would not make the CDU/CSU feminist. It would be more a matter of establishing a critical mass of women who create social structures and make policies that also take into account the other half of humanity. Ultimately, this also requires a change in the behavior of men. Because if they don’t get the job in politics because of the quota, they can contribute their strengths elsewhere. For example – and without any cynicism – at home.
Note: In this text, it was subsequently clarified that it became possible in 1997 to include marital rape as a separate criminal offense in the law.