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German Minister of Justice drafts legislation in female form
German Minister of Justice drafts legislation in female form

The German Ministry of Justice has drafted a law in the generic feminine. The Ministry of the Interior is not very enthusiastic.

German Minister of Justice drafts legislation in female form
German Minister of Justice drafts legislation in female form

In German (and many other languages) the masculine form dominates. "Women are meant anyway", "I do not formulate gender equitably, that is incomprehensible" or also "I do not write gender equitably because that disturbs the flow of reading" (this is not an argument, by the way), it is said all too often, if only once again "Experts", "athletes", "politicians" or whoever, exclusively in the male form, is being used.

No, we do not feel that we are meant! The German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht has therefore turned the tables. The German Ministry of Justice drafted a draft law entirely in female form. Debtor? Manager? No. If then the "liability of the debtor" and "managers". The men? Are meant anyway. The employees from the German Ministry of the Interior then objected.

Department of Justice writes law in the generic feminine

A spokesman in the Ministry of Justice confirmed the process to the mirror: It is true that in the draft "often feminine terms, especially for legal entities" were chosen. The use of female instead of male names had technical reasons, according to the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice. Legal persons like GmbH are often female - and these are the main concerns. In general, the staff at the Ministry of Justice would make sure that equality between women and men is "also expressed linguistically". The spokesman could not confirm whether this is the first time that the House will draft a law in female form.

According to Bild, the German Ministry of the Interior states that the draft bill must be "adapted to the applicable regulations": "While the generic masculine includes women, a generic feminine […] is not recognized in the present context. The correctness of the language must be particularly correct for legal texts, also with regard to the legal formality."

How the debate will end is still uncertain. The legal and language examination of the draft bill has not yet been completed, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice told Spiegel.

Various studies show that the whole thing is by no means icing on the cake and that there are no - as so often said - "much more important topics". Women are also less perceived due to a lack of (linguistic) representation.

Personal pronoun "hen" has positive effects

While we in Austria are still discussing the Binnen-I at all, Swedish went one step further: Since 2015, the word "hen" has been used in Sweden as an asexual (i.e. non-objective) substitute personal pronoun instead of "han" (er) and "hon" (them).

Gender neutral language combats prejudice

And exactly on this personal pronoun there is now a new study - and … we have always said it: 3,393 Swedes were part of a test that examined the consequences and effects of this language change. And the result is clear: In addition to improving positive feelings towards LGBTQ people, the gender-neutral pronoun "hen" also seems to help combat mental prejudices that favor men and raise awareness of other gender identities.

With this in mind, we would like to conclude by quoting the deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast: "Federal politics will be able to withstand a little gender-equitable language." That's exactly how we see it. It's good that the stone is * finally * rolling.

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