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Katrin Bennhold @kbennhold
, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Hello everyone, I wanted to share with you the most surprising findings from my recent reporting trips to East Germany. Is there a gender element to the rise of the far right? Thread:
The far right AfD got 13% in last year's election. But among eastern men it got 28%. In Saxony, where I visited, 1 in 3 men voted for the party
2. Only 9% of German women voted for the AfD. And only 16% of AfD members are women. The far right is disproportionally male. And so, it turns out, is eastern Germany:
3. After the Berlin Wall fell, East Germany lost more than 10% of its population. 2/3 of those who left and did not come back were women: Europe's worst case of "female flight," according to Reiner Klingholz @berlin_institut
4. Men still outnumber women in large swathes of rural eastern Germany. The ratios are comparable to those at the Arctic Circle. Some here speak of "Chinese proportions" of the gender imbalance
5. The degree of female flight across Germany maps onto the level of support for the AfD quite neatly. Strikingly this is also true in some western AfD strongholds, like rural lower Bavaria
6. No one more embodies the frustrations of eastern men than Angela Merkel, an eastern woman who rose to the pinnacle of power. The frustrations of eastern men also have something to do with the success of eastern women
7. Long before #MeToo, Communism succeeded in creating a broad class of women who were independent, often better educated and working in more adaptable service sector jobs than eastern men
8. The majority of east-west marriages three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall are still between eastern women and western men. "Women tend to marry up."
9. The women who have stayed in eastern Germany are often prominent in public life. In the town I visited the mayor is a woman. The pastor is a woman. One of the few bars still open at night is run by a woman, too.
10. Petra Köpping, a minister in the eastern state of Saxony, calls eastern men the "original left-behinds." The East, she said, "has a crisis of masculinity and it is feeding the far-right."
11. To be sure: The AfD has gained for a number of reasons and across Germany (it is now represented in all 16 state legislatures). But it has on average more than twice as much support in the East than in the West.
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