The federal government has approved a new strategy for fighting gender inequality, the first of its kind in Germany. The 9-part plan aims to reduce the gender pay gap and require more women in leadership positions.

Germany’s federal cabinet on Wednesday adopted a national strategy for equality between women and men, the first strategy plan on gender equality to be implemented on a federal level in Germany.

At a press conference in Berlin, Family Minister Franziska Giffey laid out the 9-part plan, coined “Strong for the Future.”

“[The strategy] is a joint commitment by the German government to equality. And all departments have been actively involved. Only in this way can we ensure that the issue of equality is no longer seen as an issue only for the Women’s Ministry, but that it is an issue for all ministries,” Giffey said in the conference.

The minister said it had taken “decades” for the entire cabinet to commit itself to this and the topic was no longer left to the Family Ministry alone.

Restoring balance

Responding to a question from DW, Giffey welcomed the news that Germany’s conservative CDU party plans to introduce a quota for female candidates and internal party positions.

“Here you always immediately get the discussion of whether lots of unqualified women will have to be hired …I can never accept that,” Giffey said. “When companies tell me, ‘Look, we’re a technical company. We don’t have any qualified women,’ I always say, ‘They were there in high school, at university. Where’d they all go?'”

“And we can’t accept that,” Giffey continued. “We’re not talking about putting unqualified people in leadership positions. We’re talking about personal performance and ability, which of course goes for all people. But we’re also talking about the fact that you can’t say we only have less than 10% of women that are suitable, effective, and competent. I can’t accept that. There we have to have a second look.”