Zweites Gleichberechtigungsgesetz für die Privatwirtschaft

Translated title of the contribution: Second Equal Treatment Act for the commercial sector

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book analyses one of the first pieces of legislation promoted by Angela Merkel, who started her political career as a minister for women's equality under Helmut Kohl. The name of the Act, Second Equal Treatment Act, allured to the Equal Treatment Act of the 1950s which implemented the barest minimum requirements to make the German constitution's demand to guarantee equal rights for women more than a hollow formula. However, this Act, while abolishing blatant discrimination of women through statute in fields such as family law, did nothing to further substantive equality. In 1990, when Germany was reunited, women from Eastern Germany had a first hand experience what the absence of such furtherance meant under capitalism. Used to being at nor risk to fall into poverty just because they divorced, or decided to become a mother without male protection, to being in full employment and not at the mercy of payments by their husbands, women from Eastern Germany were dismissed in large numbers, and found themselves sent back to the kitchen. The first minister for women affairs from their ranks made the "2nd Equality Act", but this act did little more than the minimum required by the EEC legislation. Again, substantive equality was not addressed through German Federal legislation. This was left to some of the German states - whose competences were limited to the public services. Most of those states which did create positive action measures for women employed in the public services were governed not by Christian Democrats - but this was the theme of another book.
Translated title of the contributionSecond Equal Treatment Act for the commercial sector
Original languageGerman
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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