TV tip: "The Unyielding" - documentary about women in politics

Men, men everywhere.

TV tip: "The Unyielding" - documentary about women in politics

Men, men everywhere. They shake hands, stand at the lectern, pose on the stairs for press photographers. They are archive footage of German politics after 1945 - in which not a single woman can be seen.

The documentary "The Unbending" about women in the Bonn Republic, which 3sat is showing for the first time on German television on March 8th at 8:15 p.m. on International Women's Day, begins with this blank space. Director Torsten Körner has brought well-known politicians such as Rita Süssmuth (CDU) and Christa Nickels (Greens) in front of the camera and has them describe their experiences in the Bundestag, some of which are incomprehensible from today's perspective.

Like the bra test thing. CSU man Richard Stücklen ran his thumb over the back of Helga Schuchardt from the FDP after one of her speeches - he had bet with party colleagues whether she was wearing a bra. And yes, she doesn't wear one. When the incident got into the press, Stücklen was even happy: it had "reinforced his liberal image," he said to Schuchardt at the time, as she remembers.

Sexism was cross-party in the 1970s and 1980s: when the Greens politician Klaus Hecker grabbed the breasts of three women in 1983, Waltraud Schoppe (also from the Greens) was asked in a TV interview whether it wasn't better "to treat such conflicts humanely solve than to swing the political club right away?" In other words: do you have to open a barrel? But such attacks were and are not trivial, but make social problems visible, which Schoppe saw similarly in 1983.

"The Unbending", in cinemas in 2021, thankfully not only deals with the question of what can happen to committed women - but also with what they can give to politics. For decades, journalists have not hesitated to pour this aspect into the same question: "Do women do different politics?" Yes, found not only Green icon Petra Kelly: There is something connecting women there, not harmony that breaks party lines, but yes - "because they are much closer to everyday life".

Because what has hardly changed since then: it is still women who do most of the "care work", who simply take care of children, those in need of care, housework. Some of the achievements of female politicians in Germany can probably best be described as “facing”. Rita Süssmuth, for example, campaigned for a broad HIV awareness campaign when she was Minister of Health in the late 1980s. At that time, some of her party colleagues were still pleading for a kind of barracks for the sick.

The documentary has the potential to leave viewers agitated. Not just because of the chapter on Petra Kelly and Hannelore Kohl, the wife of CDU Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Both died in a shocking way: Kelly was shot dead in her sleep by her partner Gert Bastian in 1992, Kohl committed suicide in 2001. But also because some of the situation of female politicians does not seem to change at all. Nobody likes to do bra tests anymore, but the sometimes obscene heckling that women had to endure in parliament 40 years ago has remained.

Today they come from the Internet, from anonymous commentators. The magazine "Spiegel" had evaluated hate comments against the top candidates in the 2021 election campaign. According to the analysis, Annalena Baerbock (Greens) was by far the most frequently attacked - as the only woman who had applied for the post of Chancellor.