Married women should go to work

March 8: International Women's Day

On March 8, women all over the world celebrate International Women's Day. For more than 100 years, women have been calling for equality on this day and denouncing the continuing violence against women.

Women on the way up? Women are still underrepresented, especially in management positions. (& copy picture-alliance / dpa)

"No special rights, but human rights" - that was what the German socialist Clara Zetkin demanded in 1910 at the Second Congress of the Socialist International in Copenhagen. A year later, women in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland took to the streets for the first time on Women's Day. Your central demand: introduction of women's suffrage and participation in political power. At that time, women were not allowed to vote in any European country except Finland. In Germany women were only granted this right in 1918. In Switzerland it would be more than 40 years before women were allowed to vote for the first time in 1971.

History of International Women's Day

Today International Women's Day looks back on over 100 years of history. In Germany, International Women's Day was banned as a socialist holiday under the Nazi regime. Instead, the National Socialists propagated Mother's Day and the "biological obligation" of women. In the course of the new women's movement in the Federal Republic of Germany at the end of the 1960s, he came back into consciousness. Since the 1980s it has regained importance all over Western Europe. The demands essentially depended on the historical, political and social framework: At the beginning of the last century women fought for their fundamental political and civil rights, such as the right to education. In the 1960s and 70s, the women's movement in the fight against abortion paragraph 218 reached a climax. Important demands of the women's movement today are the question of the role of women in political decision-making processes and the global fight against oppression and violence against women and girls.

Discrimination by law

In Germany, with the adoption of the Basic Law 60 years ago, equal treatment of women and men in the form of the article on equality (Art. 3 GG) was given constitutional status for the first time. On July 1, 1958, with the entry into force of the Equal Opportunities Act (GleichberG), the requirements of the Basic Law also became a legal reality in Germany. Previously, for example, women were not allowed to open their own bank account without their husbands consent. The man also had power of disposal over the money. With the Equal Rights Act of 1958, however, discrimination was not yet abolished by law. It was only in 1977 that wives no longer need their husbands' consent to be allowed to work. In addition, marital rape did not become a criminal offense until 1997.

Current status

Violence against women

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread and systematic human rights violations. "UN Women", the section of the United Nations responsible for equality, defines violence against women as any gender-based violence through which women suffer physically, sexually or psychologically. Men and boys also experience violence. Violence against women is specifically defined as "gender-based", as women are particularly exposed to special forms of violence due to their structurally disadvantaged role in society.

The most common forms of violence against women are domestic and sexual violence, sexual harassment, and emotional and psychological violence. Sexual violence is also a widespread war tactic: the resistance of the population is to be broken through systematic rape. The UN also counts female genital mutilation, forced marriage, the murder of newborn babies, trafficking in women and so-called "honor killings" among the fields of violence against women.

Women and girls living in war zones who, among other things, belong to ethnic or sexual minorities, do not have legal residence status or are imprisoned in prisons, are particularly affected. Poor women are twice as likely to be exposed to violence as men - especially in developing countries.

In a global UN survey (2011), between 15 and 76 percent of women in each country stated that they had experienced physical and / or sexual violence at some point. Most of this violence takes place in the home.

Violence against women affects all social classes. In Germany, around 25 percent of women between the ages of 16 and 85 have experienced violence from a husband or partner, according to a study by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

Women's reproductive rights

In many countries around the world, women's reproductive rights, such as those formulated by the United Nations in 1994, are not adequately protected. Reproductive rights include the right to a safe and self-determined sex life, the right to family planning, access to effective contraception and the right to health care for safe pregnancy and childbirth.

The failure to enforce these rights has a direct impact on poorer women in developing countries in particular: The consequences include unwanted pregnancies, high maternal mortality and sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.

Women in the world of work - the glass ceiling

Women make up the overwhelming majority of those living in poverty around the world. Estimates assume a proportion of women of 70 percent. Women are very often paid less than men - in 2008 the average wage gap between men and women worldwide was 17 percent. At the same time, the majority of women around the world are employed in insecure and low-paid jobs. As a result, women are particularly hard hit by global economic events such as the financial crisis.

According to a study from 2009, 44 percent of the working population in Germany are female. However, many of them have a part-time job: over 80 percent of part-time employees are women. Women make up only 35 percent of full-time employees.

Working women continue to receive less money than men for the same service. The wage difference between women and men in Germany has been constant at 23 percent for several years. Within the EU, Germany ranks fourth from last - only in three EU countries is the difference even greater. Adjusted for equality of work and qualifications, the wage difference in Germany is still eight percent.

Women are still hardly to be found in management positions in Germany: only four percent of all employed women occupy a management position. For men it is ten percent. Even though women are just as qualified as men. When it comes to university degrees, they are now even in the majority: in 2008, over 52 percent of university graduates were women.

At the same time, unpaid work in the household, care and upbringing is still mainly done by women - even if women are employed. This traditional division of labor is still prevalent.

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