Germany’s new government will have more women in its cabinet than ever before, with incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz appointing 8 women and 8 men as ministers.
With Angela Merkel leaving her role as Chancellor, it is the first time in 16 years Germany will be led by a man, but Scholz has kept his election promise to appoint a gender-equal cabinet.
Scholz has also appointed women in positions that deal with security and diplomacy – traditionally male dominated areas – with Germany set to get its first female foreign minister, first female interior minister and third female defence minister.
“Security will lie in the hands of strong women in this government,” Scholz said.
“Women and men account for half the population each, so women should also get half the power,” he added. “I’m very proud that we have succeeded in realising this.”
Despite her 16 years in power and recognition as one of the most powerful women in the world, Angela Merkel never managed to achieve gender parity in her cabinets as Chancellor.
Merkel was the first female Chancellor of Germany and leader of the centre-right party, the Christian Democratic Union. Throughout her time in office, she was hesitant to embrace the word “feminist” and the number of women in government remained at about a third.
Nevertheless, Merkel has been a significant role model for women and girls around the world, and internationally, is widely admired for her steady leadership. She has often been referred to as the de facto leader of the European Union.
Germany’s new government, a three-way coalition with the centre-left Social Democrats, Greens and libertarian Free Democrats, is set to be sworn in on Wednesday.
Annalena Baerbock will be the new foreign minister, Nancy Faeser will be interior minister and Christine Lambrecht will become defence minister.