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08. November 2007A Different Policy

A column by Edit Schlaffer in the Austrian weekly newspaper "Die Furche", Nov 8th 2007

The times are over when feminist women in their first phase of rebellion refused, along with other courtesies, to have a door opened for them or their hand kissed. Feminism has gone mainstream. Women with top careers introduce themselves wit the confident assurance that, while they are emancipated, they are certainly not feminist. It must be comforting for corporate management that that the “new power” of women now aligns to mainstream norms and a (patriarchal) understanding of how things are.
And suddenly, the general secretary of the ÖVP announces that he will “kneel before Alice Schwarzer.” At first glance, this relapse to courtly habit seems a chivalrous gesture to the icon of German feminism. But aside from the chivalry, there is a double standard. Missethon is using his coming-out as a woman’s libber as a strike against “the tired and fed-up feminists.” He can no longer feel “the fever,” he says.

And this surge of awareness has been stirred by the image veiled immigrants on the streets of Austria. They are the new political instructors. The actual challenge is how we Westerners and our fellow Muslim citizens can find a new way of living together. This is clearly one of the most important duties of politics and the civil society today, and this must be carried out on the foundation of human rights. In the current school year for the first time, a majority of 6-10 year-olds in Vienna had a mother tongue that was a language other than German.
Throughout Europe – outside of Austria and Germany – children are attending all-day school programs. Children with immigrant backgrounds – and not only they – need engaging care. This is the major challenge facing policy makers, and there can be no ifs ands or buts.

Dr. Edit Schlaffer is writing a monthly column in the Austrian weekly newspaper Die Furche.


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