Konserwatywna reformatorka - Rita Süssmuth a polityka CDU wobec kobiet
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Rita Süssmuth - the conservative reformer and the CDU policy towards women
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The social and political changes that have taken place in Germany since the late 1960s contributed to the creation of a new women's movement and the alteration in the status of women. These transformations were also evident in the voting preferences, mostly of the young women, who began to vote, not for the CDU as was previously the case, but for the left-wing parties. Therefore, the assumption of the Chancellor's office by Helmut Kohl in 1982 could not mean a continuation of the traditional policy of the Christian Democrats towards women; on the contrary, it had to lead to its alteration. A highly symbolic expression of that change was the national party congress on women’s issues held in Essen in 1985 and the appointment of Rita Süssmuth as the first Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The new minister, who was guided by Christian values, attempted to adjust the Union’s policy towards women to the changed social realities, thus becoming a conservative reformer. Her views and actions relating for instance to the women's quota, extension of the institutional care over children or the pension for women, encountered opposition from the party. Her activity as the President of the Bundestag was also criticized on the grounds that she was involved in issues regarding the permittedness of abortion and marital rape – topics which were considered to be controversial by the Christian Democrats. However, because of the ability to engage in cross-party alliances and her conviction of the validity of her solutions, Süssmuth has become a symbol of the modern CDU policy towards women.
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