Event Reports

„We need new laws for today´s realities“

by Magdalena Jetschgo-Morcillo

Breakfast briefing

On March 14th, Member of the German Bundestag Ursula Groden-Kranich, visited the new KAS office in New York for a breakfast briefing. She was in New York to attend the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women which took place at the United Nations Headquarters from 13 to 24 March 2017. The breakfast briefing, which was co-organized together with the American Council on Germany (ACG) focused on gender equity in a changing work environment. Ms. Groden-Kranich shared her insights on the topic and made clear why it is still necessary to fight the gender gap.
In Germany, the income gap between men and women is 21%; if part-time work, working in low-income sectors and the fact, that fewer women have managerial positions are brought into consideration the income difference is still 7%.

A lack of income transparency is thought to be one of the reasons for this gap. In Germany, a new law will come into force this summer enabling employees in companies with more than 200 employees to ask for the average wage for their position, which should help to overcome the income gap.

Ms. Groden-Kranich talked about the tough negotiations during the development process of this law and mentioned that similar discussions can also be seen in other European countries as well as within the United Nations. At the same time, according to Ms. Groden-Kranich, the differences between the UN member states on policies with regard to women, family and the economy are huge. That is why, as she underlined, it is so challenging to reach common resolutions.

„We need new laws for today´s realities“, stated the Member of Parliament, referring to rigid legal frameworks when it comes to flexible working hours, child care and pension entitlements. “It is still of utmost importance to work towards changing the common mindset in our societies. Laws can only give incentives and accompany those processes”, she concluded.

Due to severe weather conditions in Manhattan on March 14th many people interested in the briefing were not able to make it to the event. Those who successfully resisted the circumstances could enjoy a very rich exchange with Ms. Groden-Kranich.

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