German law usually uses only the masculine version of words such as “employee” or “debtor” to refer to both men and women. In recent years, however, several German activists have argued that the exclusive use of the masculine variant excludes women or gives the impression that they are less important. The Minister of Justice, Christine Lambrecht, took the initiative in this process of changing the customs of drafting the legislative texts, and in the draft law on insolvency she used the feminine version of all the mentioned titles and professions, such as “director”, “employee” “Consumer” or “debtor”.
“I think it is very good that we have now come to discuss gender equality in the texts of laws and that a first step has already been taken in this direction,” said Katja Mast, a member of the Social Democratic Party. which is also part of Christine Lambrecht.
However, the Interior Ministry, led by Conservative Horst Seehofer, did not appreciate the decision – it rejected the project and demanded its rewriting, the main concern being that it could be interpreted as referring only to women and the law will not apply to men. , “Thus most likely unconstitutional.”
“The masculine form is recognized by men for both men and women, while the feminine form is not yet linguistically recognized as applying to both sexes,” an Interior Ministry spokesman said.
At the same time, Wolfgang Steiger, secretary of the Economic Council of Bavarian Conservatives in the CDU (Christian Democratic Union), Angela Merkel’s party, said the business world does not have time for such “tricks”. “Reform of the insolvency law is increasingly under pressure, but the Ministry of Justice does not take things seriously,” he told German media.
The use of feminine declensions has also been criticized by the German Language Association. “The fact that the Ministry of Justice, of all possibilities, is the one that fails in formulating a legally binding text for all people is something special,” said the association’s director, Walter Kraemer.
The Ministry of Justice told the press that the project will be reviewed before being sent to cabinet members and that “it is not yet completed”.