Project description

Our Data driven investigation shows: The German federal government systematically keeps women out of power. To this day, men dominate most ministries, although a law has been passed 17 years ago to change it.
In the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, 692 civil servant state secretaries have been appointed so far. We can prove that in 69 years of the Federal Republic there were more men named Hans in this important function than women.
The fewest open management functions in the Federal Ministries of Finance or the Foreign Ministry were awarded to a woman between 1999 and 2018. Usually a man was selected.

What makes this project innovative?

The fact that in Germany women are also disadvantaged in government is a well-known fact. In our investigative research, we have tried for months to talk to the women affected. No one wanted to talk publicly about their personal fate. Through data, we were able to reveal the decades of systematic research and having a strong story telling. We could not fall back on existing data, but had to manually evaluate the organigrams of the federal ministries in order to recognize patterns in them.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The story went viral and the hashtag #hansbremse became the most discussed example of female discrimination in the German Twitter- and Facebooksphere (9000 Facebook engagements and Twitter shares). Afterwards, the German Foreign Ministry invited to a panel discussion for International Women's Day. Title: "How can we overcome the Hans brake?

Source and methodology

Manual and systematic evaluation of organisational charts of the German Federal Ministries (PDF format) for decades

Technologies Used

Excel, R and Javascript

Project members

Kai Biermann, Astrid Geisler, Karsten Polke-Majewski, Sascha Venohr, Steffen Hänsch, Jonas Parnow, Julian Stahnke, Julius Tröger



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