Only about every third Federal Cross of Merit is awarded to a woman – not because there are too few who deserve it, but because too few are proposed. Frank-Walter Steinmeier now wants to change that. An exclusive appeal from the Federal President in BRIGITTE.

At the end of September it was that time again: 20 Federal Crosses of Merit were awarded in Bellevue Palace. To street workers and fair trade pioneers, educational activists and musicians. Kerstin Finger, who runs a mobile practice, was also one of the honorees. Or Camilla Rothe, who made a discovery during the Corona crisis that protects many better against the virus. So all of them people who solve problems or take action against grievances, but who usually don’t talk about it in a big way. They should all be made visible at such an event. But what is striking is that there are significantly fewer women than men. On average, only every third of the more than 1,000 award winners each year is female.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier calls on BRIGITTE readers to nominate women for the Order of Merit

It can’t be due to a lack of commitment. According to the current Volunteer Survey by the Ministry for Family Affairs, for example, women do voluntary work just as often as men. But, according to the observation of the Federal President’s Office, which coordinates the awarding of the medal: They are proposed for the award far less often than men.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier now wants to change that. “Women achieve great things in our society,” he says to BRIGITTE. “For that they deserve our thanks, but also more visible recognition.” He therefore increased the women’s quota in the religious orders from 30 to 40 percent in September. Now he asks the BRIGITTE readers to explicitly suggest women for the order:

Take a look around, in your neighborhood, at your colleagues. The award is a way to give more women the recognition they deserve.

We explain the proposal procedure below. Join us, suggest a woman who will impress you! Maybe she’ll be at one of the next awards.

These three women have already been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit

Kerstin Finger: doctor on wheels

Kerstin fingers

© Patrick Pleul/ZB / Picture Alliance

Every Tuesday, Kerstin Finger, 62, gets into her van and drives off. To the elderly who can hardly walk, the sick who are confined to bed, people with disabilities for whom every car or bus trip is a huge hassle. In 2010, the dentist from Templin in Brandenburg founded the first mobile practice in Germany. Since then she has been on the road once a week to take care of patients who can no longer make it to the practice on their own. Kerstin Finger had noticed for a long time that older people suddenly no longer came to her consultation hours. The distances are often long in the country, the bus connections bad – many only dragged themselves to her when their teeth were already so bad that they had to be pulled. Then I’ll come to you, Finger decided.

In a specialist journal she read about a portable treatment case that was used by an aid project in Nicaragua. A inventor from Bavaria had developed it. For 50,000 euros he built Finger similar equipment. Since then, Tuesday has been her tour day. In living rooms and kitchens, she and her two assistants repair dentures, pull out teeth and fill small holes. For Finger, this is part of her duties as a doctor – even if she could earn significantly more money in her practice in the same amount of time. She also thinks about her own age, she once said: “I would like to stay in the country and hope that someone will take care of me.”

Gloria Boateng: Education as home

Frank-Walter Steinmeier: Gloria Boateng

Gloria Boateng

© Miguel Ferraz Photography / PR

It was far from probable that Gloria Boateng would one day become a teacher. She was born 43 years ago in a small village in Ghana, the mother was a teenager herself. Until she was ten, Gloria was pushed back and forth between different relatives, and she hardly ever went to school.

Eventually her grandfather, who lived in Hamburg at the time, brought her to Germany. But a year later he died – and Gloria Boateng ended up with a foster family in Schleswig-Holstein. It was hard for her, because of the color of her skin she was racistly attacked by her classmates, once three young men beat her on the way to school until she was hospitalized. That’s one of the reasons why she fled back to Hamburg at the age of 18, where she lived in her first apartment of her own. Despite all the difficulties and although she became pregnant shortly before the exams, she passed her Abitur. Also thanks to some people who strongly believed in her and encouraged her not to give up. Gloria Boateng is still grateful to them today. Her books, school, and later her studies, which she financed with a scholarship, among other things – all of this was offered to her by the home she had never had as a child.

At the age of 29 – meanwhile she was studying German and technology in Hamburg to become a teacher and was raising her daughter alone – she founded the SchlauFox association with other students to support children and young people whose lives are just as difficult as hers was. At first there was only a holiday program for children whose parents could not travel with them, many of them single parents. Today, SchlauFox includes six programs – from coaching for high-risk students to cooking courses in elementary schools and educational mentoring for young people who have fled. More than 4,000 children and young people have already been supported with the help of hundreds of volunteers, and the association has been showered with honors – among other things, Gloria Boateng received the Federal Cross of Merit in 2019.

It’s important to her to “use my little bit of life sensibly,” said Boateng, who works as a teacher at a Hamburg district school in addition to her commitment to SchlauFox, once in an interview with the “taz”. It is very enriching to convey the desire to learn to young people. Above all, it is incredibly important: “If you lose it early, you may lose it forever.”

Camilla Rothe: The Warnerin

Frank-Walter Steinmeier: Camilla Rothe

Camilla Rothe

© LMU / PR

When the first books about the wild weeks in January 2020 are published in a few years, when the corona virus spread worldwide and also reached Germany, one name will certainly not be missing – that of Camilla Rothe, head of the outpatient clinic for tropical and travel medicine Munich University Hospital.

The 48-year-old was not only the first to test a person in Germany positive for the new virus. She was also the first to warn shortly afterwards in a specialist magazine that symptom-free infected people can also be contagious – a spectacular break with the prevailing doctrine at the time. Because they assumed that the new pathogen is only transmitted by seriously ill patients, similar to the first SARS virus. It was thought that you could look at people when they were contagious.

Camilla Rothe’s patient, on the other hand, had told her that the woman who had infected him had neither a cold nor a cough and had shown no other symptoms. It was clear to Rothe: If the man was right, much more complex protective measures would be necessary. Because then everyone would have to protect themselves, not just those who had to do with the obviously sick.

The response to her article was overwhelming – but not as expected: Rothe was not taken seriously by the professional world for months. Many researchers doubted that the infected woman was really symptom-free. Meanwhile, thousands of people celebrated carnival and hugged each other during après-ski.

Only when more and more articles with similar results appeared did the authorities around the world adapt their regulations. At the end of April 2020, a mask requirement was introduced in Germany. Five months later, Time Magazine named Camilla Rothe one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Year.” “If you had listened to her earlier,” it said, “more infections could have been prevented.”

Despite this, Camilla Rothe has not harbored resentment against the hesitant authorities to this day. The “enormous leap in hygiene” that Germany made because of the Corona crisis, the fact that people are now more likely to stay at home if they feel sick, that they wash their hands more often or that masks are worn on buses and trains In any case, all of this is a win.

After all, the doctor is convinced that Corona will not be the last dangerous infectious disease that Germans will have to deal with in the next few years

Propose women – that’s how it works!

How can I suggest someone?

The corresponding form is available at bundespraesident.de/ordensuggentionen. Download, fill out and send to: Office of the Federal President, Ordenskanzlei, 11010 Berlin or to the State or Senate Chancellery of the federal state in which the proposed person lives. In the case of foreign nationals and people living abroad, the proposal goes to the Federal Foreign Office.

Who can I suggest?

Individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the community, particularly through volunteer work. No groups.

What happens then?

The order suggestion is examined – usually in the federal state in which the proposed person lives. The heads of government of the federal states then present the proposals that meet the test criteria to the Federal President.

Who hands out the medals?

Usually the heads of government of the federal states or mayors of the municipalities in which the honorees live. The Federal President presents the medals on special occasions.

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Source: Brigitte

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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