More protection from sexual harassment in the workplace, elimination of disadvantages for trans and intersex people and an effective law for the enforcement of equal pay between the sexes - these are the main demands laid out in a report made by the independent commission set up by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency this year.
The Commission is chaired by Prof. Jutta Allmendinger, President of the Social Science Research Center Berlin, and the Governing Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit.
The Commission laid out their demands and recommendations in a report entitled Equal Rights - Against Gender Discrimination, which was released at the beginning of December.
"Sexual harassment is a serious example of discrimination on grounds of sex and not a trivial offense. That must be reflected in court and in the amount of compensation", Wowereit said at the launch of the report. "In addition, public and private employers have to make the issue a top priority. Employees need to know to whom they can turn to if they are a victim of harassment. Only then can we create a climate that has no place for disadvantage".
The Commission laid particular emphasis on discrimination experienced by trans* - and intersex* people. Forced operations on intersex children are clear violations of human rights and must stop. Furthermore bureaucratic hurdles in sexual reassignment and name changes for transgender people are an impertinence", Allmendinger said.
There are significant pay differences between the sexes, and the majority of experts call for a change in legislation. "In Germany, women earn on average 22 percent less than men, we are thus among the worst in Europe", Wowereit said. "This is partly due to a framework of insufficient childcare or tax disincentives. Secondly, it is due to lack of transparency and a problematic review of activities. We must develop an effective equal pay law."
"Many people feel helpless and left alone with their problems. The Commission’s recommendations show how great the need for action is by the State, but also for the unions" said the head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, Christine Lueders. "Now it is about implementation - for this we count on the support of policies and collective bargaining. The Equal Treatment Act has proven itself over the past ten years, yet the Commission’s recommendations show that there is need for some revision."
The Commission members were professionals from the business community, trade unions, academia and civil society. The independent commission was convened by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Office as part of the thematic year "Equal rights. Each Gender."