"The quota doesn't do us any good," says CDU politician Lilli Fischer - Politics

Lilli Fischer, 22, Erfurt City Councilor, is the youngest delegate to the CDU party congress in Hanover. In an interview, she explains why she voted against the introduction of a women's quota in her party.

SZ: Ms. Fischer, what's so bad about the quota?

Fischer: Unlike others, I don't demonize the quota for ideological reasons. For me, the argument comes first: the quota is of no use to us. There aren't suddenly 20 women at my stand in the market and saying, oh now I'm going to step into them CDU one, because you have the women's quota.

Isn't it also about creating representation to the outside world, i.e. getting more women into the front rows?

If there is a party in Germany that creates representation for women in leadership positions, then it is the CDU: Angela Merkel, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Ursula von der Leyen. We can obviously put women in the front row. The party has always rested on that. But nothing concrete has changed in the structure of the party. Now we're basically taking the second step before the first. First we have to think: How do I have to change the structures so that women can enter.

Even if it were the case that the quota of the CDU is useless, is it causing damage?

Now we have the quota. In five years we have to evaluate them. I'm happy when you can say that it worked. But I don't think that will be the case. For example, there is the problem of empty chairs. If a woman does not compete, the seat remains empty. For me, that's crazy about the quota. If there is a qualified man, then I think he should run for it.

Your party leader Friedrich Merz denies that the rule that has now been passed will lead to empty chairs.

Well, I think it's based on the hope that you'll find a woman somewhere who will do it. This quota now also applies, for example, in our special organisations, which also includes the RCDS (Ring Christian-Democratic Students, editor's note). There are RCDS university groups where there are no women, for example at technical universities. And then a deputy post has to remain vacant, because that has to be equal.

Merz's goal is to use the quota to attract more women to the party.

Some of the quota opponents have now posted, making the CDU unelectable among women. I would not go so far. I think that's missing the real problem. Nine out of ten women would rather decide to join the parents' council than join a political party. So it must have something to do with the structures. We usually meet at 6:30 p.m. on the board of directors. This is the time when children are getting ready for bed, when they have supper, when they might look over their homework again. And most of the childcare is still the responsibility of the mothers. That's why the Structure and Statutes Commission actually made very productive proposals, with mentoring programs, with political parental leave, with hybrid meetings, with fixed start and end times. I don't understand why you have to open the barrel of the quota.

Why are the young women against the quota and the older ones tend to be in favor of it?

It's a generational issue. I find that really exciting. My guess is that there are other opportunities for us today. It doesn't matter where you go, as a young woman who gets involved, you are greeted with a kiss on the hand. The men in our party are now also realizing that it looks stupid when you run for an election without women. You can also see from the parity lists in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein that there is something like an imaginary quota.

Isn't it an irony of history that Friedrich Merz has now enforced the real existing women's quota in the CDU?

Denise Bittner from Berlin put it in a nutshell yesterday: This is the CDU here, we should always aim to have the best solution. And not the second best, as Merz calls the rate. I think a lot of people were shocked that Friedrich Merz was going along with it. This ratings issue is something you wouldn't have credited him with in this way.

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