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6 - Gender in the German Constitution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2010

Blanca Rodríguez Ruiz
Affiliation:
Lecturer in constitutional law, University of Seville, Spain
Ute Sacksofsky
Affiliation:
Full Professor of Public Law and Comparative Public Law, University Frankfurt a.M., Germany
Beverley Baines
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Ontario
Ruth Rubio-Marin
Affiliation:
Universidad de Sevilla
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Summary

The German “Basic Law,” as the Federal Constitution is called, dates from May 23, 1949. It was enacted in the western part of Germany, after Germany had lost World War II, and was strongly influenced by the experience of the Nazi Regime. The Basic Law, therefore, contains a strongly worded list of fundamental rights. Whereas the Basic Law was designed as a temporary constitution until Germany would be united again, unification did not occur in the manner expected. So, instead of designing an entirely new constitution, the Eastern Part adopted the Basic Law with the proviso that it should be amended in some respects (Article 5 of the Unification Treaty). This led to a Constitutional Amendment in 1994, which affected the Article dealing with gender equality (as will be explained later).

Sixteen states comprise the Federal Republic of Germany. Constitutions exist, therefore, on the state level as well as on the federal level. Not all state constitutions contain a fully-fledged fundamental rights catalogue. Many of those that do, however, include some form of gender equality clause. In particular, the constitutions of the “neue Länder,” the states reestablished on the territory of former East Germany, contain constitutional guarantees obliging the state to further real equality between men and women. However, the state constitutions have not played an important role in this area so far.

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Chapter
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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References

Susanne Baer, Würde oder Gleichheit? (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1995)
Christine Fuchsloch, Das Verbot der mittelbaren Geschlechtsdiskriminierung (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1995)
Werner Heun, “Artikel 3” in Horst Dreier, ed., Grundgesetz. Kommentar, vol. 1 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1996) 228–93
Jutta Limbach and Marion Eckertz-Höfer, eds., Frauenrechte im Grundgesetz des geeinten Deutschland (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1993)
Lerke Osterloh, “Artikel 3” in Michael Sacks, ed., Grundgesetz. Kommentar, 2nd ed. (München: Beck, 1999) 208–79
Heide Pfarr, Quoten und Grundgesetz (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1988)
Michael Sachs, “Besondere Gleichheitsgarantien” in Josef Isensee and Paul Kirchhof, eds., Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, vol. 2 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1992) 1017–83
Ute Sacksofsky, Das Grundrecht auf Gleichberechtigung, 2nd ed. (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1996)
Vera Slupik, Die Entscheidung des Grundgesetzes für Parität im Geschlechterverhältnis (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1988)
Christian Starck, “Artikel 3” in Hermann von Mangoldt, Friedrich Klein, and Christian Starck, eds., Das Bonner Grundgesetz. Kommentar, 4th ed. (München: Verlag Franz Vahlen, 1999), 310–495

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