The Helene Weber-Kolleg

More women in local politics! - for more diversity and a living democracy

The Helene Weber-Kolleg (HWK) is the first nationwide and cross-party platform for politically committed women. The Helene Weber-Kolleg is named after one of the four mothers of the Basic Law, who in 1949 fought for the inclusion of the article "Men and women have equal rights" (Article 3 para. 2 GG) in the German constitution. The aim is to support women in their political entry and advancement through various exchange and networking formats and a range of information.

Women into local politics - what the Helene Weber-Kolleg does

Even 100 years after the introduction of active and passive women's suffrage, women are still underrepresented in politics. Currently, the average share of women in local politics is 30 per cent; less than 10 per cent of cities are led by a female mayor. The HWK was founded in 2011 to change just that.

It offers empowerment programmes, mentoring, and networking and training formats. In various formats and modules of the college, in (digital) events, focus groups or networking meetings, relevant topics are discussed and advanced with practitioners and experts and recommendations for action are derived from them for parties, municipalities and municipal umbrella organisations.

The Helene Weber-Kolleg is a knowledge platform and information service and offers facts and figures on women and parity in politics. Role models and best practice examples show how local politics can be made more attractive, more contemporary and more inclusive. Various publications are available for download.

Making local politics intersectional - funding period 2022-2024

Municipal representatives are not very diverse in their composition, not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of family constellations, age, social origin, migration experiences or visible disabilities. More than ever, therefore, initiatives and projects with an intersectional perspective are needed that promote women in their diversity and accompany and support their political entry and advancement. In the current funding period 2022-2024, the HWK is therefore increasingly focusing on women who experience multiple discrimination. For example, a network for women with migrant biographies is being established and specific services for women with disabilities are being created, thus at the same time disseminating the knowledge base on needs, opportunities and good practices.  The change of party political cultures and structures, for example in the fields of reconciling office, family and work, combating sexism, selection and nomination processes in the parties, are further focal points. Another goal is to strengthen honorary women mayors.