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Merkel says Germany has a way to go on gender equality

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at an event marking 100 years of voting rights for women in Germany in Berlin, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Even though she has been at her nation’s helm for 13 years, Chancellor Angela Merkel said much more needs to be done to achieve gender equality in Germany.

As Germany marked the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, Merkel said in a speech in Berlin on Monday that there’s a lot still to do to achieve gender equality notably in the worlds of politics, business, science and culture.

“The goal needs to be equality, equality everywhere,” she said.

“I hope it becomes natural for women and men to split up work, raising the children and doing the household equally … and I hope that’s not going to take another hundred years to get there.”

Merkel, the country’s first female chancellor, highlighted the fact that only 30.9 percent of lawmakers in the current Bundestag are female, down from 36.5 percent in the previous one.

“We’ve achieved a lot, but there’s still much to do and we cannot accept setbacks,” Merkel said at an anniversary ceremony in front of mostly female ministers, lawmakers, mayors and others.

She listed some of the progress that had been made in recent years such as providing better child care and maternity leave.

Merkel, who’s a physicist by training, said girls should be encouraged to choose future-oriented jobs in technology.

As for her own role, she acknowledged to roaring applause she had made a contribution: “Nobody laughs anymore if a girl says she wants to become a chancellor.”

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