Vote(s) for Women – will changing the balance of power make politics a better fit for the 21st century?

17. March 2021 17:00

Katarina Barley MEP, Baroness (Kishwer) Falkner, Ricarda Lang, Kristina Lunz

More than 100 years after women gained the right to vote in Germany and the UK, they are still underrepresented in most parliaments across the world. In the UK, the number of female MPs has steadily risen and is currently at 34%. In Germany, it is at its lowest since 1998: only 31% of the members of the Bundestag are women.

In some parties, there are more female parliamentarians than in others. There are different ways of dealing with this, of which a (much discussed) women’s quota is only one. How can the situation be improved? Are there differences between the two countries? And what are the benefits of better representation in politics for everyone?

Six months ahead of the General Election in Germany, we are discussing with Katarina Barley MEP (SPD), Baroness Kishwer Falkner of Margravine and Ricarda Lang (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) what barriers prohibit women from entering politics and if a shift in the balance of power can make politics more successful for everyone.

The event will be chaired by Kristina Lunz, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy.

This is a joint event with the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany and the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy.

Please register here:


Dr Katarina Barley is Vice-President of the European Parliament and member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and substitute member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In the European elections in May 2019 she was the lead candidate of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Prior to that, she was a member of the German Bundestag from 2013 to 2019, during which time she was, among others, SPD Secretary General, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Acting Federal Minister for Labour and Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Protection. Before her time in politics, she worked as a lawyer, research assistant at the Federal Constitutional Court and as a judge at the Regional Court of Trier and the Wittlich District Court.

Kishwer Falkner is Chair of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. She also serves as a Member of the House of Lords where she is a Cross Bench member and is a regulator at the Bank of England on its Enforcement Decision Making Committee. In the Lords, she has served on several parliamentary committees including Chairing the EU Sub-Committee on Financial Affairs, and as a Member of the EU Select Committee, Constitution Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights; and the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.
Kishwer was formerly Policy Director at the Liberal Democrats; a political researcher at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and has held Fellowships at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2010), and at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2006). Kishwer’s academic background is in International Relations, obtaining degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Kent.

Ricarda Lang is Vice Chair of the German Green Party and spokesperson for women’s politics. Currently, her work focuses on feminism, healthcare, diversity and strategies against right-wing extremism. Previously, she was spokesperson of the Young Greens, the youth organisation of the German Greens.

Kristina Lunz is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP). From January 2019 to January 2020 Kristina worked as an advisor to the German Federal Foreign Office where she conceptualised and built the feminist network Unidas initiated by the German Foreig Minister, Heiko Maas. Prior to that, she was the Gender and Coordinations Officer for the United Nations Development Programme in Myanmar and NYC, and also worked on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ (WPS) during her time at the NGO Sisma Mujer in Bogotá, Colombia. Kristina is an award-winning human rights advocate, and currently writing her first book on Feminist Foreign Policy. She was named Forbes 30 under 30 (Europe as well as DACH) and is an Atlantik Brücke Young Leader, Ashoka Fellow, Gates Foundation SDGs Goalkeeper and a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. Kristina studied diplomacy, human rights and psychology in Oxford, London and Stanford.