The year 2015 was a bit different for Angela Merkel in terms of Geopolitical events. Not since the Second World War had the world witnessed a mass exodus of a people as seen that year.
In 2015 alone- Merkel-country accepted around 8,90,000 applications from the refugees alone.
Germany was open and moist eyes devastated by war finally had somewhere to go.
Cities like Berlin, Munich, Augsburg, Stuttgart, Koln now had new guests that were going to be a part of the democratic German set-up. Today, if you gently walked by the Neukoelln district, you’d not be with the white-skinned Christians, Jews, alone.
And now, if you were to rewind back to the events then, then it’s been around 4 years since Germany’s borders have been opened and warmly so for the influx of refugees.
Over the course of the past half a decade, there’ve been quite a few changes in the main economic powerhouse, the bustling heartline of Europe. With a slowdown being felt more profoundly than before, the problems exacerbated by the dip in the automotive and technology sector, the political system is undergoing some changes as well.
No longer is Angela Merkel considered the political heavyweight she once was. In the not so distant past, her fledgling health has been exacerbated by public sightings of the chancellor shaking in public gatherings. It’s happened now thrice in a month.
And now, with barely a few days remaining before the humble servant of Germany leaves the spotlight for her successor- Anngret Kramp-Karrenbauer- to arrive, the liberal and more ‘accepting’ (or should one say ‘tolerant’) Germany is being plagued with far-right thinkers who’d much rather have their own version of Deutschland prevail.
No more can one possibly suppress or turn a blind eye to the growing clamor of a ‘Germany for Germans.’
Amid these times, marked by winds of seemingly irreversible change, comes in a piece of news that’s got some thinking. No more can women wearing headscarves apply for jobs in Germany. Yes, you read that right and impeccably so.
So what’s exactly happening at ground zero?
To quote Foreign Policy here, it’s worthwhile to know that there’ve been growing tensions about integrating into the German society:
Working at cross purposes with that task, however, have been deep aspects of German identity. Syrian asylum-seekers are finding it difficult to integrate into the economy in part because their potential employers and colleagues feel they haven’t integrated into German culture. Women’s headscarves have become the clearest symbol of these tensions—one that’s increasingly legible in the country’s economic data.
A couple of years ago, Angela Merkel’s Chrisitan Democratic Union, in its opposition to the full-face veils stated out loud and clear: “We are not Burqa!”
So has that trickled down to the employment sector? Well, you bet. As it is, it’s worthy of some discussion that even the most educated Syrian women haven’t really been able to seek employment, perhaps the cultural differences causing some form of a hindrance. Also, what’s important to note is that the female refugees living in Germany participate in its labor market at quite lower rates than the males.
Some menfolk have gone to the extent of suggesting- as suggested by a nation-wide German survey conducted by Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria- their women are quite simply, petrified of even applying for jobs for the simple reason that their wearing headscarves may simply see them earning the silent wrath of prospective employers. So today, if someone is studying to be a tax-consultant, then there are troubles in finding an internship and the worrying factor stems from a reality that it’s happening to the most literate of Syrian women.
So is all of this some sort of manifestation that an attitudinal change has taken hold of the hitherto more ‘accepting or welcoming’ nation?