First Lady: Get up to 50 percent girls in advanced math courses


Digitalization decides “how we women will be positioned in the future,” said Elke Büdenbender, wife of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Wednesday in an online debate by the state-private partnership initiative D21 about gender differences in the digital world. She understands the slogan: “The future is female” as a declaration of war, since “we can only survive successfully as an open, inclusive and diverse society”.

Büdenbender sees the trend towards the use of online instruments such as video conferences during the corona pandemic as an opportunity to break up behavioral patterns and level hierarchies. This would make it easier for women to help shape the process of digital transformation politically and socially. It must be ensured that “everyone really participates equally in digitization”.

Büdenbender sees the education sector as the key. She therefore feels that the “cliché-free initiative” is helpful in preventing boys and girls from tending towards preferences and professions from the outset. There is “of course no law: girls can’t do math”. There are also no specific assignments “by law”.

Büdenbender therefore advocated getting between 30 and 50 percent of the female pupils “in advanced mathematics courses” and thus, if necessary, encouraging them to study in the MINT sector (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology). Every child can initially do “everything”, a lot then depends on role models and early childhood education outside the home, for example in daycare centers. In addition, it is necessary to create a separate subject digitization for dealing with digital media in schools.

For families with low incomes in particular, the former judge sees the state as obliged to equip the children with devices and to look after them outside of school. Of course, nationwide 5G is also necessary “so that we can receive the Internet everywhere”. When women dealt with digital technology, they usually wanted to achieve a goal with it. It is therefore crucial to show them more clearly “what is useful for what it brings me in my life”.

The D21 managing director of D21, Lena-Sophie Müller, referred to a “digital gender gap” according to which men, for example, used the Internet more often. However, such differences are much smaller among people with higher education and among the younger generation. This shows that the gap is not genetic, but systemic, for example due to multiple burdens and prejudices. Therefore, the needs of the female sex should be taken more seriously and “men as comrades-in-arms” should be won.


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