Continuing or Reversing Reform? German Family Policy Under the Merkel Government

24 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 1 Apr 2010

See all articles by Angelika von Wahl

Angelika von Wahl

Lafayette College; affiliation not provided to SSRN


This paper compares and contrasts two explicitly gender-related policy areas in a most-similar case design and analyzes the different positions and interests of the relevant political players and their institutional context in Germany. I argue that a study of female leadership can produce new insights into the direction and extent of gender equality reforms.

The paper focuses specifically on the recent reforms by the conservative party in parental leave and reconciliation policy. The aim of these changes was to allow for the combination of women’s employment and family responsibilities. Here the German government under the leadership of Chancellor Merkel successfully tackled a variety of economic, demographic, and structural problems under the grand coalition. In contrast, Merkel and her Minister(s) have invested considerably less money and effort in another area relevant to gender equality: anti-discrimination measures in employment. The lack of policy-making here is mostly due to the continued opposition of the church and the business community, both crucial constituents for the conservative party.

Keywords: reconciliation, family policy, Angela Merkel, Germany, anti-discrimination

Suggested Citation

von Wahl, Angelika, Continuing or Reversing Reform? German Family Policy Under the Merkel Government. Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN:

Angelika Von Wahl (Contact Author)

Lafayette College ( email )

Easton, PA
United States

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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