Women Gain Equal Status In German Military

In a remarkable, yet long overdue, social policy change the German military has opened all divisions of its military to women. Until this change, women were only allowed to serve the military in medical staff positions and musical units, totaling approximately 4,460 positions available to them in Germanys’ 320,000-member armed forces. The elimination of gender discriminatory policies in job recruitment within the German military was forced by the European Court of Justice ruling “that a provision of the German constitution restricting the military role of women violated European Union rules on sexual discrimination.” Although the European Court of Justice represents the highest judicial body of the European Union its ruling has done little to change imbedded patriarchal beliefs of women’s role in society especially armed services. A leading German news magazine, Der Spiegel, featured “What to do when women cry?” as a headline of an article discussing the impact of the length of women’s hair and the wearing of jewelry while in uniform on women’s performance and capability in all military divisions.


Washington Post -03 January 2001

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