In Germany A Tradition Falls And Women Rise

The New York Times reports (January 18, 2010) that German women are now more able to rise as the traditional half day school day is replaced with full time care. Here is an excerpt from the article by Katrina Bennhold.
“The half-day school system survived feudalism, the rise and demise of Hitler’s mother cult, the women’s movement of the 1970s and reunification with East Germany. Now, in the face of economic necessity, it is crumbling: one of the lowest birthrates in the world, the specter of labor shortages and slipping education standards have prompted a rethink. Since 2003, nearly a fifth of Germany’s 40,000 schools have phased in afternoon programs, and more plan to follow suit.
“This is a taboo we just can’t afford anymore; the country needs women to be able to both work and have children,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the German labor minister. A mother of seven and doctor-turned-politician, she baffles housewives and childless career women alike, not to mention many men in her Christian Democratic Union. The spread of all-day schooling in Germany, a trend she considers “irreversible,” is a sign of the times, Ms. von der Leyen said in an interview. “The 21st century belongs to women.” …
Working women seek not just a paycheck, but also fulfillment of ambitions, both personal and professional. “I love my son, and I love my work,” said Manuela Schwesig, 35, the new deputy leader of the opposition Social Democrats, who is the mother of a 3-year-old. “I am a more fulfilled mother for working and a more motivated politician for having a child””

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