Elke Büdenbender encouraged girls and women to go their own way self-confidently and consistently - if necessary against resistance. "I know about my privileged situation," said the wife of Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the German Press Agency in Berlin on International Women's Day.
And she also knows about the terrible situation in which many girls and women live in war and crisis zones around the world. "But I would still like to call out to women here: Dare to follow your wishes and pursue your dreams."
Büdenbender: "It's not about perfection, it's about doing"
Sometimes it seems like an impossibility to bring together everything that makes up life - job, children, friendships, relationships. "But it often turns out that there is a way. And: It's not about perfection, it's about doing," said Büdenbender. "Not only because today is International Women's Day - actually that should be our mantra every day: Women, go your own way and don't let that dissuade you!"
The 61-year-old lawyer returned to her job as a judge in May last year. She now works half at the administrative court in Berlin and half as Germany's first lady.
"The fact that I can now do and be both - judge and first lady - that's a great gift," emphasized Büdenbender. "Of course it wasn't easy at the beginning and it remains challenging," she said of her dual role. "But after I "got my way" again in court and the coordination with my office in the castle has worked out, things are going really well."
Büdenbender: Glad to be working as a judge again
She is glad that she decided to go back to her old job. "I've done a lot to become a judge. And my job means a lot to me. It comes with a lot of responsibility and I make a direct difference with it."
At the same time, she is grateful for the opportunities that her role as First Lady gives her, such as being able to meet the many wonderful people who volunteer, stand up for others and really make a difference. "I can get involved in areas that are important to me - a good education for every child, equal participation for everyone - especially women - in political and other decisions," said Büdenbender.
As a judge, Büdenbender is active in commercial administrative law in the broader sense, and driving license law and visa procedures are also part of her area of responsibility. As Germany's First Lady, she accompanies her husband to appointments at home and abroad, organizes events herself, takes part in discussions, gives speeches and much more. She is also the patron of Unicef Germany.