Gisela Erler is the State Counsellor for Civil Society and Civic Participation in the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg.
Gisela Erler was born on 9 May 1946 in Biberach an der Riss; she is the daughter of SPD politician Fritz Erler. She spent her childhood and teenage years in Tuttlingen and Pforzheim. From 1965 to 1974 she studied German and sociology in Cologne and Munich. During this time she was co-founder of the first left-wing publishing house in the Federal Republic of Germany, the Trikont Verlag, and the publishing house “Frauenoffensive”, the first publishing house of the new women’s movement. After completing her studies, she was employed until 1991 as a research consultant at the German Youth Institute in Munich. There, among other things, she supervised the pilot project “Tagesmütter [Childminders]”. In 1983 Gisela Erler joined the German Green Party.
Gisela Erler came onto the political scene primarily in 1986 as the main author of the Green Party’s “Mothers’ Manifesto”, which prompted heated discussions. A research trip to the USA at the beginning of the 1980s sparked her interest in work/life balance issues and in 1992 ultimately led to her founding her company “Familienservice [Family Service]”, today the biggest service provider to companies in Germany in the field of family and career with around 1,500 employees. In 2008 she handed over the management of the firm to her successor. In 2006, she received the Elisabeth Selbert prize from the state government of Hesse for her dedication. In 2012 she published the book “Schluss mit der Umerziehung - vom artgerechten Umgang mit den Geschlechtern [No more re-education – on dealing appropriately with the sexes]”, which outlines her current position on the gender question.
In May 2011 she was appointed by Winfried Kretschmann to the honorary post of State Counsellor for Civil Society and Civic Participation. As such, her task was to expand civic participation systems at state level and integrate them into administrative processes – in keeping with the “policy of being heard”. On 12 May 2016, the Minister-President once again appointed her to the post of State Counsellor, with the aim of continuing to develop civic participation and strengthening civil society, in particular in the area of aid to refugees and social cohesion.