Statement by Ms Dahs, Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, on education for women and girls in the Commission on the Status of Women

Feb 24, 2011

(check against delivery)

Mr Chairman,

Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by Hungary on behalf of the European Union.

The guiding principle of German gender equality policy is the life cycle perspective already referred to by the representative of the European Union.

This perspective considers the cumulative effects of decisions on the entire course of people’s lives. It is an important starting point for education policy and strategies.

Education is a key to the realization of chances in almost all aspects of life, for example for employment and social participation. Applying the principle of gender equality in the life cycle perspective means that girls as well as boys, women as well as men, can choose and benefit from all sources of education to the same degree.

All levels of education should therefore be interconnected, so that there is not just one path that can be followed. There must be opportunities to enter higher levels of education at different times in a person’s biography.

This complies with “lifelong learning”. This concept aims at meeting the consequences of the demographic change (such as lack of specialists) and changes in society (for example adjusted requirements for qualifications). It also includes processes of formal and informal learning.

The most important transitions in the education sector are transfers from different school systems as well as transfer from school to job training or to universities.

But there are also important transitions later in life such as re-entering the labour market after a family phase.

It is in these phases of transition where different challenges and risks can be observed for women and girls, men and boys. 

Girls in Germany today in general obtain higher and better schooling qualifications than boys but have less chances to use these for their individual careers on the job market.

One reason for this is that girls are still concentrating on careers perceived as “typical for women”. Therefore we are trying to encourage young women - as well as young men - to broaden their spectrum in career and study choices. I will give you some examples:


          A national pact has been established in broad cooperation of many partners, universities and institutes, all stakeholders in the economic field and media partners, with the aim to use the potential of women in careers in applied natural science and technology.

          The “female professors programme” gives universities  which are willing to develop a positive, externally evaluated gender equality plan the opportunity to get additional founding for three female professors.

          Mentoring-Programmes help to support women in career choices in male-dominated sectors of employment.

          The “Girl’s Day” is an annual orientation day for female students which offers opportunities to learn more about the engineering-, IT-, crafts-  and natural science sector.

          The project “New Ways for Boys” and the new nationwide “Boy’s Day” try to attract boys and young men to the educational, social and healthcare sector.

A key indicator for the persistent gender inequality in working life is the ”pay gap”. The Federal Government offers support to employers in introducing Logib-D. Logib-D is a software instrument which helps employers to investigate gender-related gaps in their wages and to develop ideas on how to overcome these differences. If you are interested in this tool please be invited to a side event on 25 February at lunchtime in the German mission which is jointly organized by Austria, Switzerland and Germany .

Concerning Development Policy the Federal Government uses a rights based approach – the right to education is key for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Moreover, I would like to stress that we are excited about the founding of UN WOMEN. The CSW will be the normative governing body of UNWomen and thus can contribute substantially to the success, the efficiency and the creativity of UNWomen activities. We look forward to seeing the CSW working closely with the staff of UNWomen and with the UNWomen Executive Board and helping the CSW achieve  this role.

Finally, Germany is committed to support the implementation of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, especially by using the indicators recently adopted by the Security Council.


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