“Please do not see my comment on the lack of a primary responsibility as a sign of a lack of political sensitivity, but merely the implementation of a sensible and necessary concept to optimize the work of the authorities.” This is how my request for a discussion on the topics of politically motivated violence against women and protection and integration of women from predominantly Islamic countries rejected by the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) in February. Instead, I should contact the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ).
However, it is not the BMFSFJ but the Ministry of the Interior that is responsible for integration and security. Crimes ranging from extremism to terrorism, i.e. politically motivated crime, are the “primary responsibility” of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, regardless of the gender they are aimed at. The integration and protection of refugees also remains an important task of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, regardless of whether it is for men or women.
When the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs was given the additional task of “women” in 1987, this was to become a cross-sectional task. Irrespective of the policy area, all questions that specifically concern the rights and interests of women should be referred to other ministries by the women’s ministry, but the other ministries should not be relieved of their basic tasks with regard to women.
Paradoxically, although the designation of a competence for women was an achievement of the women’s movement, the women’s ministry leads to the marginalization of women. One effect of this intellectual separation of women from all important matters is that basic elements of the rule of law, such as the elementary protection of physical integrity, are not related to women. Since my inquiry, a woman who fled Afghanistan has been murdered in Berlin.
If the Federal Ministry of the Interior saw the protection of women as a core task, the murder could possibly have been prevented, because the woman had previously contacted the police – just like the Afghan woman Maryam H, who had been murdered the year before. But the police did not have the reported threats taken seriously enough.
Although the police are the responsibility of the federal states, the overall safety of all people in Germany remains a matter for the Federal Ministry of the Interior. However, the BMI prefers to optimize women’s safety by outsourcing to the BMFSFJ.
A general social issue turns into a special post, the filling of which seems as irrelevant as the issue itself. Or as Gerhard Schröder called it: a ministry for “family and nonsense”. Incidentally, other social groups are also feeling the consequences of the fuss policy.
Although a number of anti-Semitism officers were appointed in Germany and the Federal Ministry of the Interior declared that it wanted to fight anti-Semitism, the Federal Cultural Foundation nevertheless financed drastic anti-Semitic depictions at the Documenta.
As long as fighting misogyny does not become a political task for all areas, the only option left to the officials is to alleviate symptoms. Measures such as help lines and women’s shelters are essential to help those who are acutely threatened. However, the causes of the problems remain. The same phenomenon can be observed in the field of anti-Semitism.
In the most recent election campaign, the Greens had called for a climate ministry with veto rights. Anyone who is against climate protection should support them in this project, because climate protection can hardly be eliminated faster and more effectively than through “sensible and necessary concepts for optimizing the work of the authorities”.
Rebecca Schönenbach is an economist, specialist in Islamism and board member of Women for Freedom. She advises international companies and authorities on measures to counter extremism. The column appears every 14 days.