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International Women's Day: 1000 people demonstrate for equal rights in Bonn

International Women's Day : 1000 people demonstrate for equal rights in Bonn

Around 1000 people marched through the city centre of Bonn on International Women's Day. Many men were also among them on Monday. The organisers of the demonstration stressed that the Corona crisis had hit women particularly hard.

"Today is International Women's Day," said Anja Wittmann to her 6-year-old daughter on Münsterplatz on Monday evening. "I'm just explaining to her what democracy is and why women are demonstrating here," she added. Wittmann had happened to pass by the rally with her children and joined spontaneously. She herself would like to see better pay for care work. A total of about 1000 people demonstrated in the city centre under the slogan "Without us, the world stands still". The initiative Frauenstreik Bonn had expected 400 people.

People of all ages gathered at the demonstration, including families. Some wore masks or flags in rainbow colours. "It's not only about equality for women, but also for queer people," said 32-year-old Lea, referring to same-sex relationships. The demonstrators marched via Friedensplatz through the old town to Frankenbadplatz. Some men were also among them, but they had to wait in line, as the organisers explained via megaphone.

The number of demonstrators is encouraging

"It is nice that many men are taking part," said Lucia Wienand from the Bonn International Women's Centre, which offers free language courses for women with a migration background. The association has a shortage of young people. The fact that so many people came to the demonstration was encouraging. "A lot has been achieved in Germany, but we have not yet reached our goal," said the 65-year-old.

Women were hit particularly hard by the Corona crisis, explained Carlotta Grohmann from the Initiative Frauenstreik Bonn. In her view, domestic violence has increased. In addition, many women work in so-called care professions, in hospitals or in day-care centres, which are poorly paid. "We were told we are systemic, but nothing has changed," says Grohmann, who works as a school support worker. And at home, it is women who have taken over home schooling, she adds.

A survey of about 1,000 people in May commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation showed that the distribution of home duties during the pandemic predominantly followed classic role models between men and women. However, the survey also revealed that every second woman felt that the distribution of household tasks was already unequal beforehand.

The women councillors in Bonn used International Women's Day to join Mayor Katja Dörner in encouraging other women to get involved in local politics. "Equality is a democratic value," said Dörner. International Women's Day is important to draw attention to what has already been achieved in women's and equality policy and what has not yet been achieved. For example, there is still no pay equity. In 2019, women in Germany will earn on average 19 per cent less than men, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced in December. Reasons for this include the fact that women work in lower-paid sectors and professions and are less likely to reach management positions.

According to the police, the demonstration on Monday evening was peaceful and without incident.

(Original text: Christine Ludewig;Translation: Mareike Graepel)