Cablegate: Mission Berlin Incorporates Women's Issues Into

Published: Thu 7 Jan 2010 03:25 PM
DE RUEHRL #0021/01 0071525
P 071525Z JAN 10
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: STATE 00124579
1. (U) SUMMARY. Embassy Berlin's programming on women's
issues has focused on a range of themes, including violence
against women, discrimination, and raising awareness. The
Mission's approach has been to address issues that affect
women within our broader agenda and to strengthen our ties to
local women's organizations. We have taken advantage of
Germany's rich civil society, reaching out to women's
organizations covering broad themes including domestic
violence and female genital mutilation. We plan to continue
integration of women's issues and women's roles into our
greater Mission agenda and develop programs in conjunction
with women's NGOS. The Embassy's very active chapter of the
Federal Women's Program (FWP) has strengthened the Embassy's
outreach to women's organizations, specifically with Terre
des Femmes (TDF),raising awareness about problems within
Germany as well as abroad. END SUMMARY.
Mission's Broad Focus
2. (U) Women's concerns in Germany generally reflect those of
women in many western countries, including the United States:
domestic violence, discrimination, salary inequities, glass
ceilings, and sexual harassment. Germany's immigrant
population has brought with it additional issues, such as
honor killings and forced marriage. The Mission addressed
these issues both in our outreach to various societal and
governmental groups, as well as within our congressionally
mandated reporting. ConGen Dusseldorf has focused ) and
will continue to focus ) on expanding contacts with women's
development NGOs and events that will benefit networking of
these organizations with key women in politics, business,
academia and the media. This will be cross-cutting with
contacts in minority organizations.
3. (U) As an example of our activities, in September 2006,
the wife of then Ambassador William Timken and the Frankfurt
CG engaged a group of Muslim women and German immigration
specialists in a roundtable discussion at the Consulate
General in Frankfurt. Mrs. Timken discussed the Mission's
Muslim outreach activities and encouraged the women to
continue a dialogue with each other. During a subsequent
visit, Mrs. Timken visited their organizations and learned
about their projects. During the past year, Frankfurt DPO
Doria Rosen hosted an Iftar reception for the group and the
Consulate hosted a holiday party in December, expanding the
number of participants. ConGen Frankfurt regularly consults
the group on a range of matters, for example on engaging
minority youth.
4. (U) The Embassy's Political Section hosted a roundtable
discussion on domestic violence in March 2009. Twelve women,
including three members of the national parliament, a
Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women, and Youth representative
and representatives of various women's organizations,
discussed the problem and expressed interest in hearing from
American experts about our approaches to addressing it. As a
follow up program, we plan to arrange video conference
discussions with U.S. experts and these women participants on
domestic violence.
5. (U) German journalist Andrea Roepke was recognized as an
International Women of Courage Award finalist during an
Embassy ceremony in March 2009, which highlighted her
courageous journalistic work in covering right-wing extremism
in Germany. Roepke has combined her investigations into
right-wing extremist associations with a look at how women
are treated within such organizations and their roles. This
year, she is slated to participate in an International
Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) that Mission Germany
created to broaden perspectives on methods for addressing
6. (U) Last July, Public Affairs (PA) organized seminars
with a visiting speaker on human resource management at the
Universities of Frankfurt, Tuebingen and Freiburg. She spoke
on dual career couples, helping the universities progress in
their thinking about women in academic research and teaching.
The University of Freiburg followed up with a letter
thanking the Embassy and announcing the university's plans to
establish a dual-career network based on the ideas at the
seminar. The event received extremely positive press
7. (U) PA section is currently preparing the fall 2010 issue
of the "American Studies Journal" on women's voices, which
will feature well-known American writers from diverse ages
(30-77) and backgrounds (probably German-Jewish, Turkish,
Kuwaiti, Palestinian, and Iranian).
8. (U) In October, CG Duesseldorf programmed Barbara Balaj,
a World Bank independent consultant, for a discussion on
"Women in Post-Conflict Societies," hosted by the head of
Medica Mondiale, a Cologne-based NGO supporting women and
girls in war and crisis zones, and including representatives
of the Bonn International Center for Conversion (including a
research fellow on "Rape and War"), the spokeswoman for
InWent, a non-profit organization with worldwide operations
dedicated to human resource development, training and
dialogue, and the spokeswoman for the German Development
Service, a leading European development agency. CG
Duesseldorf also hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for women from
politics, business, NGOs, academia, and the media, who found
it a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences
and start to build new networks. The consulate will follow
up with a series of network-building events to bring women
together involved in the full range of activities described
in para 2, to include speaker events and roundtables.
Federal Women's Program
9. (U) FWP Berlin officially formed in September 2009 to work
with grassroots women's organizations in Berlin. They have
since cultivated a relationship with Terre des Femmes (TDF),
a German organization that tries to inform the public about
the exploitation, abuse and persecution of women. FWP
members have volunteered in TDF's office, raised money to
purchase a flag for TDF's observation of the International
Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November
25), and displayed the flag in the Embassy where it was
visible to visitors and passersby through December 10,
International Human Rights Day.
10. (U) The FWP coordinator has begun attending meetings of
Staedtegruppe Berlin, a grassroots women's collective working
with TDF. Possible future projects include activities to
recognize International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female
Genital Mutilation on February 6 and a project with the
Amazonian Initiative Movement ( in
Sierra Leone.
11. (U) FWP will screen the film "Desert Flower"
(, which tells the true story of
Waris Dirie, a survivor of female genital mutilation (FGM),
at the Embassy on January 27, 2010, with remarks by its
director and co-producer. After the screening, the
filmmakers will be joined by FGM and violence against women
experts from TDF for a short Q
12. (U) FWP has been in touch with the Office of Civil
Rights, HRO and the Equal Employment Opportunity counselor at
post to organize sexual harassment prevention training at the
Embassy. FWP is also working with the Embassy Green Team,
Management and Public Affairs on a proposal to be mindful of
ways to be more environmentally responsible and socially
conscious during our routine business. We are also exploring
if/how we may be able to support German nonprofits and NGOs,
including grassroots women's organizations.
13. (U) Ideas for future endeavors include an International
Women's Day event in cooperation with Staedtegruppe Berlin.
FWP is also brainstorming ideas for an activity in
conjunction with the documentary "Football Under Cover"
(, about an exhibition soccer
game between a women's team from Berlin and the Iranian
female national soccer team. Similarly, FWP is exploring
ideas for projects emanating from Greg Mortenson's book
"Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs,
in Afghanistan and Pakistan" (,
which advocates promoting peace through girls' education and
14. (U) Finally, on November 24, 2009, in the article
"Advancing Women A Top Clinton Goal," "The New York Times"
reported the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women is on Secretary Clinton's
"treaty priority list." FWP Berlin requests guidance on what
we can do to support any efforts at ratification of this
15. (U) This cable has been coordinated with the consulates.
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media