A Breakthrough for Female Political Leaders?

Monday, June 7, 2010 - 20:00
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
North America
United States of America

Event Title* A Breakthrough for Female Political Leaders?
Speakers Dr. Isabelle Kürschner, Dr. Sarah Wiliart

The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies is pleased to invite you to a discussion on
Angela Merkel's Chancellorship: Fortunate Circumstances or a Breakthrough for Female Political Leaders?

Dr. Isabelle Kürschner

Dr. Sarah E. Wiliarty
Wesleyan University

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
12:00pm to 1:30pm
AICGS - RGL Conference Room
1755 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Please join AICGS for a discussion with Dr. Isabelle Kürschner, DAAD/AICGS Fellow and Research Associate at the Academy for Politics and Current Affairs at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation, and Dr. Sarah E. Wiliarty, Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University, on "Angela Merkel's Chancellorship: Fortunate Circumstances or a Breakthrough for Female Political Leaders?" The discussion will take place on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at 12:00pm; a light luncheon will be served.

In this seminar, Isabelle Kürschner and Sarah Wiliarty will discuss women's ascent to political leadership in the U.S. and Germany. With Angela Merkel as the Federal Chancellor, Germany has achieved what America has not - a woman as the most powerful political leader in the country. At the same time, the narrow outcome of the 2008 Democratic primaries and the initial boost for John McCain's presidential campaign after he chose a female running mate are evidence that Americans are ready for more female involvement in politics. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union's World Classification, the United States ranks only seventy-fourth in terms of the percentage of women serving in national legislatures worldwide, at 17 percent. At first glance - and compared to the U.S. - one might think German women are much better off in terms of political participation. Not only is there a female head of government, but 32 percent of representatives in the German Bundestag are women, which makes Germany number seventeen in the World Classification. Nevertheless, one has to be aware that there are still many obstacles for women on their way to high ranking public offices. A closer examination of the current situation shows that women in Germany do not necessarily have equal opportunities to participate in the political process and that Angela Merkel's rise might be better attributed to particular circumstances than being the ultimate breakthrough for female political leaders in Germany and beyond.

Dr. Isabelle Kürschner is a DAAD/AICGS Fellow and a senior research associate at the Academy for Politics and Current Affairs at the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation in Munich, Germany, where she conducts research and offers practice-oriented political advisory services on women and gender issues such as women in politics, women in the workplace, and work-family balance. Dr. Kürschner completed her undergraduate studies at Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen, and McGill University, Montréal. She received her master's degree and her doctorate from the Catholic University of Eichstätt. Her research centers on women and gender issues, with a particularly interest in women's political participation in Europe and the United States. During the course of her studies Dr. Kürschner spent considerable time in Canada and the U.S. as a research fellow with the Fulbright Commission, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, and Hanns-Seidel-Foundation.

Dr. Sarah E. Wiliarty is an Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University, where she specializes in western European politics. Dr. Wiliarty's research investigates how Christian Democratic parties have had to reformulate their policies in response to changing demands from women. Dr. Wiliarty completed her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

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AICGS is grateful to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for its generous support of this event.

Event Date 6/8/2010
Location 1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 700
Sponsor DAAD
Staff Email jriester@aicgs.org
Program Area Society, Culture & Pol

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