The crisis makes no difference. Every generation is hit differently by the global pandemic. The elderly are at particular health risk, seriously ill from the corona virus, the younger ones have to forego their social life and fear negative effects on education and career.
But one generation is often overlooked: the one in between. The 35 to 55-year-olds are already considered to be the “sandwich generation”. Who exactly does this mean? “After training and studying, they have arrived at work, have settled down and are about to start a family,” says Siemtje Möller. The SPD politician is the chairwoman of the influential Seeheimer Kreis, an association of conservative, pragmatic SPD members of the Bundestag.
Möller counts himself to this generation. She is 37 years old, mother of two and has a time-consuming job as a member of the Bundestag. She calls for the sandwich generation to be louder and more noticeable. “The young families in particular were crushed between home office, homeschooling and childcare. Everyone was overloaded, but still worked ”- but nobody complained during the first lockdown in spring, says Möller.
Möller: “We’re trapped”
“We are caught between two generations who formulate their claims very precisely,” says the SPD politician, referring to Generation Z, who put climate protection on the political agenda. But their own generation does not manage to make their demands clear, says Möller. “We ourselves have so many concerns, such as the compatibility of family and work or insecure employment. We put up with everything and are much too quiet. ”In fact, many of this generation also have to look after their children and parents in need of care.
Möller says that in view of their achievements, this generation needs to become more self-confident. “We are the best educated generation, we are the backbone of the economy and we are raising our children at the same time. We are the ones who will lead the country into the future, ”says Möller.
It is particularly difficult for women of this generation. “Women in particular are under even greater pressure here,” says the SPD politician. There are higher expectations of women, about having a career and being there for the children at the same time. She also feels it herself: “I have a work-intensive job. It is very difficult to reconcile this with the family. ”This is only possible thanks to a full-time daycare place. “I continue to have a self-determined life and didn’t have to give up when I became a mother. That was very important to me, ”says Möller.
It is often the case, however, that women step back on their jobs – because they usually earn less. Möller is calling for specific improvements here. From their point of view, it is immoral that women are paid less in the same positions. “We need a lot more transparency here, ideally a list of who earns how much. Then there would no longer be this unequal treatment of women in terms of pay. ”
Germany is now at the beginning of the next lockdown. For many in the sandwich generation it is a relief that at least schools and daycare centers are still open, but the situation remains stressful for many. SPD politician Möller says she has hope that her generation will demand changes. “Nothing comes from anything, we have to be ready to enter into an argument. We need fighting spirit. “