Unpacking Gender Images across Angela Merkel’s Four Campaigns for the Chancellorship, 2005–2017

in German Politics and Society
Joyce Marie Mushaben Political Science, University of Missouri-St. Louis mushaben@umsl.edu

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Angela Merkel’s four national election campaigns offer a unique opportunity to explore the salience of gender in defining “competent leadership” in unified Germany. Women-friendly themes were deliberately avoided by the candidate and her party during her first two campaigns, but Merkel’s personal popularity rendered gender a positive asset during her third run for the Chancellorship in 2013. The 2017 campaign accorded new salience to gender as an electoral variable, albeit with a twist. The new dilemma for Germany’s first female leader was rooted in the need to win back alienated, if apolitical conservative men, attracted to an increasingly xenophobic Alternative for Germany. Although the gdr gender regime actively supported working women, eastern men appear to feel particularly threatened by the concrete advances towards gender equality witnessed across Germany since unification.

Contributor Notes

Joyce Marie Mushaben is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Comparative Politics and former Director of the Institute for Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her research covers social movements, German unification and identities, women’s leadership, gender, ethnicity and welfare issues, eu migration and asylum policies. Recent books include The Changing Faces of Citizenship: Integration and Mobilization among Ethnic Minorities in Germany (New York, 2008); Gendering the European Union: New Responses to Old Democratic Deficits, co-edited with Gabriele Abels (Basingstoke, 2012); and Becoming Madam Chancellor: Angela Merkel and the Berlin Republic (Cambridge, 2017). Honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Creativity (2007) and the Missouri Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2012), Mushaben is a three-time Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, a former Ford Foundation Fellow, German Marshall Fund grantee and daad recipient. E-mail: mushaben@umsl.edu

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