With a gain of 7.7 percent or roughly four million electoral votes[1] in the recent federal elections, the German Christian Conservatives brought in the best results since 1990. That success has a name: Angela Merkel. One of the most popular chancellors Germany has ever had, she earned her party an outstanding victory with a result …Read More

Viewed narrowly, the passage of Betreuungsgeld demonstrated the power of a small but determined party in a coalition government; it is a bit harder to determine its meaning for German family policy more generally. Considering Germany’s belated commitment to making adequate numbers of child care places available, does Betreuungsgeld simply represent the dying gasp of a deeply conservative strand of German family policy, one that has sought to maintain a housewife role for women since the early days of the Federal Republic?

On June 6, 2012, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a proposal that would issue financial support (a so-called Betreuungsgeld, or child care subsidy) to families who care for their toddlers at home in lieu of enrolling them in state daycare facilities. If passed, it will appropriate 300 million Euros (500 million dollars)  of next year’s …Read More


Lisa Heineman is Associate Professor of History and Associate Professor of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, University of Iowa and Associate Director of the UI Center for Human Rights. She has been at the University of Iowa since 1999 and teaches courses in Germany, Europe, women, and gender. Her past research has examined gender, war, …Read More


Dr. Maria D. Mitchell is Associate Professor of History at Franklin and Marshall College. After graduating in 1987 from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, she received a PhD from Boston University in Modern European History with a minor field in European Imperialism in 1995. Her dissertation …Read More

As Europe’s economic powerhouse, Germany has rebounded from the global crisis in an amazing fashion. Yet, this success has not applied to women in the workplace, writes former Zeit Stiftung/AICGS Fellow Katrin Bennhold. Even with one of the world’s most powerful political figures in Angela Merkel, Germany has yet to break through many of the cultural taboos that have limited the ascension of women in leadership. This article originally appeared in the June 29, 2011, edition of The International Herald Tribune.

At 3.1 percent of GDP, Germany spends far above the OECD average on family benefits, whereas the United States spends only 1.3 percent of its GDP on family benefits. However, differences in spending are not the only contrasts regarding family policy in Germany and the U.S., writes former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Isabelle Kürschner. They also differ significantly with respect to parental leave systems, maternal employment rates, and the number of children born in each country. Dr. Kürschner examines the distinctiveness of German family policy in this Transatlantic Perspectives essay.

In this Transatlantic Perspectives essay, DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Isabelle Kürschner examines the increase in women legislators in Germany and the U.S. since the mid-1970s and dissects the factors that contributed to this increase. Dr. Kürschner also looks at the role that women’s organizations and networks play in assisting women legislators, showing a large difference in organizational effectiveness in the two countries.

The process surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall brought new freedoms for German women from the East, but at the same time new problems as well, writes Dr. Eva Maleck-Lewy, professor at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and a regular participant in AICGS events. This Transatlantic Perspectives essay examines the post-Berlin Wall transformation of women in Germany and discusses the remaining problems facing German women at current.

…The guarantee that all persons shall be equal before the law, and that men and women shall have equal rights was incorporated into the Basic Law in May 1949, despite vehement debates within the Parliamentary Council, and against the organized opposition of Christian parties and the Catholic Church. As the next sixty years would prove, however, the fact that the sexes are “created equal” in no way ensures that they have been “endowed” by state or society with the same inalienable rights…

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