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It's Raining (Wo)men: New State Government Marks Political Gender Shift in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

There are many women in politics in Germany, from the leader of the country herself to heads of ministries and states. The latest are Hannelore Kraft, the brand new governor of Germany's most populous state, and her deputy Sylvia Löhrmann. Still, the country has a long way to go before the glass ceiling is entirely shattered.

On Wednesday, two women took the political helm in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The country's most populous state will now be led by a minority coalition governmentpairing the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) with the Green Party. Hannelore Kraft, 49, of the SPD, is the new governor, and Sylvia Löhrmann, a 53-year-old member of the Greens, will serve as her deputy.

It marks a fundamental shift for a state that has long been known as much for its graft and grime as it was for it coal and steel. Even as the rest of the country progressed politically, NRW remained a man's world, led by powerful former governors like Jürgen Rüttgers, Wolfang Clement and Peer Steinbrück. But this week, a message of female empowerment emerged from the former boy's club.

by Fran on Thu Jul 15th, 2010 at 12:27:45 PM EST

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