Germany is all atwitter over political sexism row

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Outrage over a German politician’s alleged sexist remarks has led to a surge in women seeking advice about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Stern magazine journalist Laura Himmelreich claims that Rainer Bruederle, 67, a leading member of the governing Free Democratic Party, told her last year she “could fill out a dirndl” – the low-cut dress often worn by Bavarian beer festival waitresses.

The allegations have sparked heated media debates. But it was a week-long flurry of tweets with the label “Aufschrei” – German for outcry – that seems to have emboldened women to speak out about everyday sexism in the country, said Christine Lueders, chief of the Federal Anti-
Discrimination Agency yesterday. “Twitter has given ordinary women the opportunity to speak openly about the issue.”

Mr Bruederle hasn’t commented on the allegations. But party officials question the timing of Ms Himmelreich’s claims, made in an article days after he became the FDP’s top candidate in upcoming national elections.