Germany’s quota politicians

If you’re a woman in Germany, you should consider a career as a politician. As in most First World countries, gynocentrism is ubiquitous in German politics.

Unsurprisingly, the feminists tell a different story. According to them, men are in charge and women are being kept out of political leadership by some insidious cadre of evil old men. And it is indeed the case that women are under-represented in political office compared to the general population. Even though women make up 50.9% of the population[1], only 32.9% of the members of the Bundestag (the most important legislative body in Germany) are women[2].

But such comparisons are silly. You don’t suddenly get voted into the Bundestag willy-nilly, but have to go through a career as a politician where you climb the ranks of the party hierarchy. While it is theoretically possible for independents to be voted in, this almost never happens in practice. So with some very rare exceptions, being a member of one of the big parties is a necessary condition for getting into the Bundestag.

Thus, it makes a lot more sense to look at the representation of women in the Bundestag compared to the ratio of women within the major parties. This gives us a very different picture. There are six major parties in Germany. The two conservative parties CDU and CSU have a permanent alliance and act as one faction within the Bundestag. Along with the classical liberal FDP, they form the current government. The opposition is made up of the social democratic SPD, The Left, and The Greens.

The proportion of women within the parties as a whole ranges from 19.5% for the CSU to 37.8% for the Greens[3]. Here we see the reason why “only” 32.9% of the Bundestag is female: women quite simply aren’t as interested in politics. And not only are they less interested in pursuing political careers, women all over the world also tend to be less knowledgeable about politics[4].
CDU and CSU have a ratio of female members of 25.6% and 19.5% respectively, while 20% of their members of the Bundestag are female. This makes them the only Bundestag faction in which women are under-represented compared to the party members. In the FDP, women are slightly over-represented with 23% party members versus 24.7% Bundestag members. On the left side of the political spectrum, the gap is much wider with 31.5% versus 38.3% for the SPD, 37.7% versus 52.6% for The Left, and 37.8% versus 54.4% for The Greens.

The over-representation of women is even more pronounced within the top ranks of government. Angela Merkel’s cabinet consists of herself and fifteen federal ministers. There are a total of ten men and six women, a female ratio of 37.5%[5], much higher than among both members of the Bundestag and among the parties as a whole.

And while this should give the women’s crusaders pause, this of course does not prove discrimination against men. There are many possible explanations that do not involve any discrimination. Maybe women are better able to judge their own abilities and talents and there is a self-filtering aspect where only those women who are especially talented politicians enter into politics, which would also explain the lower numbers among the rank and file membership. Possibly women are just better politicians in general. Maybe they have better people skills and are therefore preferred by party leaders.

All these and many more scenarios are possible and cannot be ruled out, however little evidence we may find for them. After all, we don’t know as much about the inner workings of the parties as do the people directly involved, so we can only speculate. However, what we do know for certain is that most parties openly favour women. Except for the FDP, all major parties have some sort of quota system.

The most extreme case is The Greens, where at least 50% of all election lists and committees must be filled by women. At party meetings, female and male speakers alternate. If there’s more female than male speakers, then that’s no problem. If the reverse is true, a vote is taken whether those remaining men also get to speak. During party meetings, women may call a women’s vote at any time. In this case, all men have to leave the room. The remaining women then vote on whether to exercise their veto right. If they veto a proposed resolution, it is rejected (but may be brought up again at the next assembly)[6].

Remember that all of this takes place in a party with just 37.8% female members. If we assume for the sake of argument that men and women within The Greens are equally competent, this would mean that a randomly selected woman within the party has a 44% higher chance of getting into the Bundestag than the average, while a randomly selected man has a 27% lower chance. Taken together, that means the woman has a 96% higher chance of making it into the Bundestag than the man.

And while The Greens are most extreme in their discrimination, the other parties on the left are not far off. The Left also has a 50% quota while having just 37.7% female members. Here the female advantage to get into the Bundestag is 110%, even higher than for The Greens. The SPD has a 40% quota and reaches a comparatively moderate value of 35% female advantage.

On the right side of the political spectrum, things look more even, with the FDP not having a quota and a female Bundestag advantage of just 9.8%. CDU and CSU have a 40% quota, but one that isn’t as rigid as in the other parties. The main reason why the female ratio for the conservative parties is so much lower than 40% are the peculiarities of the German electoral system. For the biggest parties (CDU/CSU and SPD), most or all of their Bundestag seats are won by regional direct candidates, rather than election lists, so these parties have less control over exactly who makes it into the Bundestag. In the conservative parties, men actually have a slight statistical advantage when it comes to the Bundestag. (And a huge disadvantage when it comes to federal ministries, with five out of nine conservative cabinet members being female.)

But these numbers do not tell the whole story. In fact, the situation is probably stacked even further against men. In basically any field and any discipline where there is relatively free competition, men dominate the top ranks. This is most evident with physical sports like football or tennis, but even in chess and poker, practically all the top players are men. The business world presents a similar picture, with almost all highly successful businesses started and run by men. Even in traditionally female pursuits such as cooking, all the world’s best chefs are male.

Where ever men and women are left to compete with each other, men do much better at the highest levels. We should expect the same pattern to hold in politics, and until only a few decades ago, this was the case. The reversal of that situation today may be due to increased ambition, education, and self-confidence in women, but this is unlikely. If that were the driving force behind the rise of women in politics, we would see the same pattern in all competitive fields.

What this suggests is that women are much more advantaged than the above numbers indicate. If both sexes were treated equally, most likely we would see an ever smaller ratio of women the higher we go up in the political hierarchy. The fact that we see the reverse points to massive discrimination against men.

The pertinent question then is: Why do parties promote and nominate women who are less competent than their male competitors? This question can be answered in one word: feminism. Feminism has spread the notion that there is widespread discrimination against women and that equal representation of men and women is desirable and just.

Feminists have never made any coherent arguments for these positions. They’ve merely appealed to widespread egalitarian sentiment which absurdly regards equality as a good in itself, and made some baseless assertions about the superiority of female leadership. The latter is occasionally backed up by some terribly flawed study, but more often relies purely on a general pro-female sentiment that is innate to the human species and driven to extreme by our gynocentric culture.

A secondary reason is that promoting quota-women is beneficial for the leader of a party, because it will stabilize his power base. Women who were escorted to the top by the leader are less likely to challenge his rule, because they tend to be less competent and less ambitious than politicians who made their way to the top through hard work and backstabbing.

In this way, quota-feminism starkly illustrates many of the weaknesses of parliamentary democracy. The belief that the people are sovereign is an illusion. The real power lies in the hands of the parties. Which politicians get into the Bundestag and into the cabinet is decided by the parties, not the people. The people can only vote for one of the handful of programmes the parties offer them (which they may or may not follow once they’re elected). And in a country where you can only vote for different shades of misandry, that’s not much of a choice.

References:

[1] http://www.bpb.de/nachschlagen/zahlen-und-fakten/soziale-situation-in-deutschland/61538/altersgruppen
[2] http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdb_zahlen/frauen_maenner.html
[3] http://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/192247/umfrage/frauenanteil-in-den-politischen-parteien/
[4] http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-and-events/press-releases/26789/women-worldwide-know-less-about-politics-than-men.aspx
[5] http://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/DE/Bundesregierung/Bundeskabinett/bundeskabinett.html
[6] http://www.gruene.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Dokumente/Frauenstatut.pdf

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