There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Women act both as candle and mirror. This section of the society, that constitutes half of the population of the world, comes immediately to mind
whenever one hears or reads the word ‘empowerment.’ Empowerment cannot be talked of separately from ‘women empowerment.’ We also know that without empowered women we can’t fully achieve the goals of economic growth, political stability, and social transformation. In today’s world there are many examples of empowered women who are changing the shape of society and history. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, is one of them. According to Forbes she is the most powerful and influential woman of the world. Despite not having a political background, she always had the desire to carve out a path of her own. To attain this position, she went through a long, arduous journey. Merkel’s family moved to East Germany just weeks after her birth. They moved again to Templin in 1957, where Merkel finished high school in 1973. Later that year, she went to Leipzig to study physics at the University of Leipzig. In 1978, she worked as a member of the academic faculty at the Central Institute of Physical Chemistry in Academy of Sciences, East Berlin. In 1986, she was awarded a doctorate for her thesis on Quantum Chemistry. Like other youth in the German Democratic Republic, Merkel joined the state’s youth organizations. She was a member of the Young Pioneers and the Free German Youth.
Later Merkel joined the newly founded Democratic Awakening in 1989, and in 1990, she became the party’s press spokesperson. In August of the same year, she joined the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and won a seat in the Bundestag (lower house of parliament).The very next year she was appointed minister for women and youth by Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1991. Merkel was elected to replace Maizière, who was the CDU’s Deputy Chairman, in December of the same year.
In late 1999, a finance outrage knocked out the CDU, and Kohl was implicated in the acceptance and use of illegal campaign contributions. In an open letter which was published on December 22, Merkel, called on the party to take a new start without its honorary chairman. Merkel’s attitude greatly improved her prominence and fame with the German public. Merkel was elected head of the CDU on April 10, 2000. She was the first woman and the first non-Catholic to lead the party. Though Merkel was expected as a candidate for chancellor in the 2002 election, a majority of her party expressed a liking for Edmund Stoiber of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU’s sister party in Bavaria. However, both parties lost the election and Merkel became leader of opposition.
In 2005, CDU-CSU won election and decided a “grand coalition” government with Merkel as its head. On November 22, 2005, Merkel took office as Chancellor, becoming the first woman, the first East German, and, at age 51, the youngest person to date to hold the office.
In 2009, because of SDP’s worst performance since 1949, Merkel was able to form a government with her preferred partner, the classical liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). In September 2013 federal election, the CDU-CSU coalition won a remarkable victory. On December 17, she became Germany’s third three-time chancellor in the post-war era (after Konrad Adenauer and Kohl). In the 2017 election, Merkel led her party to victory for the fourth time.
Referring to her phenomenal successes in life and as head of state, Angela Merkel says, “People of often accuse me of not acting fast enough, that I let things go on too long. For me its important I deliberate all options... running through scenarios, and not simply theoretical experiments in my head.”HH
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