Are women less successful than men in European politics?

Published 06.06.2019 23:57
Updated 07.06.2019 00:12

Politics is both very cruel and ungrateful. Within the last few months, female politicians have been experiencing how cruel and ungrateful politics can be. We will probably never be able to forget the moment British Prime Minister Theresa May, who shouldered the bill of Brexit, was sitting in her official car with tears in her eyes. May, who was once praised for her success following the fiasco of Brexit, soon became an unwanted prime minister, facing backlash not only from the opposition but also within her own party. In the end, she gave up and resigned.

Once Europe's most successful and powerful politician, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not successful in the latest general elections and is lacking public support as her "grand coalition" formed with social democrats at the federal level is facing a crisis due to the Social Democrat Party's (SPD) troubles. Nowadays, she is a chancellor "on the brink of ending her political life." Merkel, who started this process by resigning from the presidency of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is also no longer the "old Merkel" of the EU leader's summit. Current CDU President Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was elected to replace Merkel, is already being described as "unsuccessful" before even completing one year of service.

Rumored to have been elected after making a more convincing speech at a CDU party conference while her opponent made a terrible one, Kramp-Karrenbauer is fighting opposition in the CDU. The number of those beginning to doubt that she will become the CDU's and Christian Social Union's (CSU) candidate for chancellor in the 2021 German Federal Elections (Bundestag) is increasing.

Also, SPD President Andrea Nahles, who managed a first in Germany, had to resign last Sunday. The time in office for Nahles, who was the first female president of the Social Democrats in Germany, was very short lived. In truth, Nahles should not have been elected in the first place. Not because she is a woman but because she was nothing but the leader of leftist dissidents that does nothing other than speaking. It was not possible for her to be successful. However, to be honest, today's SPD is a party of failures. It wasn't Nahles who was responsible for the constant diminishing of the SPD. In Europe, it is assumed that women are encouraged to engage in politics.

Some parties are using a co-presidental system and are emphasizing that one of the presidents must be a woman. In the parliamentary elections in Green and Left parties, women always have the right to receive the first place. For example, if such a party elects 11 members of parliament, six of them will be female and five will be male. In these parties, women form the majority of the members of Parliament. Social democrats reserve at least a 30% for female members of Parliament. In short, women have advantages over men. In many cases, while four or five women have to compete for a spot reserved for women, at least 10 or even more candidates have to compete for a spot reserved for men. And while male candidates cannot become candidates for spots reserved for a woman, female candidates can become candidates for spots reserved for man. In short, in many parties, women have a higher chance of becoming members of parliament.

However, when it comes to higher positions in politics, women have a harder time. In many European states, male politicians believe that women cannot handle difficult duties. Austria is an example. Austria's first female prime minister was able to get into the office through an appointment.

Women who win elections are swiftly ousted following failure. Is British Prime Minister May the only person responsible for the fiasco? Was it because of May that the negotiations with the EU ended badly for the United Kingdom? For some reason, male politicians who did make May's job harder with hard-to-meet demands did not resign.

Merkel was worn out because of her "strong stand" regarding refugees. As a man, I appreciate Merkel's strong stance against male politicians who are spouting nonsense regarding the refugee issue. Maybe as a woman, she was more capable of understanding the plight of people that had to leave their countries. If the CDU and CSU are unsuccessful today, it is not only Merkel's and Kramp-Karrenbauer's fault. However, for male politicians women are often easy targets. Were former Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who was making false claims about then-SPD President Andrea Nahles who resigned this Sunday, Martin Schulz or federal ministers Olaf Scholz, Heiko Maas and others successful? On the contrary, Scholz is perceived to be as much a failure as Nahles. Among all the foreign affairs ministers from the SPD, Maas is Germany's most dull and faded. However, Nahles alone is forced to pay the "bill of defeat." This is the situation in Europe. Before answering the question, "Are female leaders unsuccessful?" we should examine male politicians around them.

Nowadays the most successful female politician in Europe is the French European parliamentarian, far-right populist leader Marine Le Pen. As a Europe opposition female party leader, she has seen repeated success for years. If the "deep French state" allowed it, she could even become France's president. It seems to be the sad fate of Europe that while democratic female leaders are being ousted, a female leader who has problems with democracy is able to gain ground every day.

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