Fewer women in the state parliament

Fewer women in the state parliament

Our reader Ulrike Block-von Schwartz from Braunschweig notes:

I find it regrettable that there are fewer women in the new state parliament.

On the subject researched Svenja Paetzold-Belz

After the election on 15. October, the number of women in the state parliament dropped from 31.39 percent to 27.73 percent. As a result, Lower Saxony slips from 9th to 12th place out of 16 in a comparison of the German states.

The result: only 39 of the 137 members of parliament in Lower Saxony are female. This means that the proportion of women is as low as it was last 20 years ago. By way of comparison, the highest number of female members of parliament sits in the Thuringian state parliament (40.6 percent), while Baden-Wurttemberg (24.5 percent) takes last place.

That's why organizations like the German Women's Council are calling for a parity law. This law would require parties to alternate women and men on their electoral lists. Critics, however, consider this undemocratic. "It works in France," Cornelia Klaus, chairwoman of the Lower Saxony State Women's Council, commented to our newspaper, calling for more commitment from parties. "Nothing happens on a voluntary basis. There are still party alliances whose nomination practices are pure cronyism. It is difficult for women to get into these positions. This discourages many," says Klaus.

Since the 1990s, the proportion of women in the Bundestag and in state and local parliaments has stagnated. Until then, they had been rising over the years, according to the Lower Saxony State Council for Women. For the first time, they fell again with the 2008 state elections – from the provisional high of 34.4 percent to 30.9 percent. Klaus also sees reasons for this in the often still classic distribution of roles. The genders are not evenly represented in the parties, either, according to statistics from the Federal Agency for Civic Education. In terms of party membership, women were most represented (in December 2015) by the Greens (38.3 percent), followed by the Left (37.2 percent) and the SPD (32 percent).

There are several reasons for the current drop in the proportion of female parliamentarians. For example, the Green Party, which voluntarily follows the parity principle, achieved a poor election result. In addition, the AfD moved in for the first time – and only one of its nine deputies is a woman. The SPD won many districts directly, the candidates were mostly men. For example, only 18 of 55 SPD seats (32.7 percent) are held by women; for the CDU, 9 of 50 seats are held by women.