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The Covid Crisis, Economic Insecurity, and the Impact on Women in Germany and the United States

January 27, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

The corona virus crisis disrupted the lives of millions of people in Europe and the U.S. Beginning in March, non-essential businesses were closed, workers were furloughed or laid off – or in Germany subject to Kurzarbeit. In the U.S. schools and daycare centers were shuttered. In Germany and the U.S., families struggle to come to terms with home schooling. In short, COVID-19 has disrupted the labor market and education – and this has had disastrous consequences for working women and their families.

Join the American Council on Germany and the Heidelberg University Association for an online discussion regarding the economic impact of the COVID crisis on women in the United States and Germany. Prof. Dr. Christiane Schwieren, Professor of Economics at the Alfred Weber Institute at Heidelberg University, and Julie Kashen, Senior Fellow and Director for Women’s Economic Justice at The Century Foundation, will join German television journalist Birte Meier (2009 ACG Kellen Fellow) to discuss the challenges facing women in the pandemic.

Julie Kashen is a Senior Fellow and Director for Women’s Economic Justice at The Century Foundation, with expertise in work and family, caregiving, economic mobility, and labor. She has more than two decades of experience forwarding these issues in federal and state government and through the nonprofit sector, including helping to draft three major pieces of national legislation. As a labor policy advisor to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), she helped draft and build momentum for the first paid sick days bill in Congress, the Healthy Families Act. As policy director of the three-year Make It Work campaign, she drafted a visionary childcare proposal, whose principles were incorporated into the Child Care for Working Families Act. And as a senior advisor to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, she led the work to create and introduce the first ever national Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. In addition, as deputy director of policy for Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ), she helped New Jersey become the second state in the nation to adopt paid family and medical leave. She is an active member of many childcare, paid leave, and equal pay coalitions and tables.


Ms. Kashen holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s with highest honors in political science from the University of Michigan. She was an adjunct lecturer on work and family issues and poverty in the United States at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey.

Birte Meier (moderator) is an award-winning investigative journalist and a seniorproducer/director with German national public tv broadcaster ZDF. Currently, she produces feature-length documentaries on current affairs. Her work covers topics around digitalization and globalization. She has been awarded the Environmental Media Award (2019), the Friedrich Vogel Award for economic reporting (2018) and the German Economic Film Award (2015). Before 2007, she worked for Spiegel-TV and various ARD and ARTE programs.

In 2020, she was a Thomas Mann Fellow in Los Angeles to do research on what Germany can learn from California with regard to equal pay. She has also received journalist’s grants from the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin for research on education, from the Robert Bosch Stiftung for a stay of several months in China, and from the American Council on Germany to conduct research on the crisis of journalism in the US.

She studied at the FU Berlin, the University of Chicago and the University of the Arts Berlin. She received her master’s degree in North American Studies, Modern History and Journalism in 1998.

Prof. Dr. Christiane Schwieren is Professor of Economics at the Alfred Weber Institute at Heidelberg University, and also serves as the University’s Gleichstellungsbeauftragte (or gender equity or equal opportunity officer). She does research in neuroeconomics, experimental economics and behavioral economics. Her current research focuses on two broad areas: decision making and self-regulation under stress, and uncertainty and individual differences in mostly labor market settings. She also works on public good games, identity framing, and trust. As Heidelberg University’s gender equity officer, Prof. Schwieren works to ensure that gender equity is a core value for the university as an employer and that available services address the ever-changing needs that women face as students, researchers, and faculty.

Prof. Schwieren holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maastricht, where her thesis research focused on discrimination in the labor market. She also completed a Diploma in in psychology at and a master’s in political science and history Heidelberg University.


January 27, 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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