German court rejects bid for gender-sensitive bank forms

A German federal court has rejected a customer’s demand for her bank to include the feminine form of words such as “account holder” on official forms.

The Federal Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that plaintiff Marlies Kraemer hadn’t suffered any discrimination under German law from her bank’s use of the “generic masculine” on forms, a common practice. The German language adds a suffix to turn nouns into feminine form. In the case of account holder, “Kontoinhaber” becomes “Kontoinhaberin.”

In the 1990s, Kraemer did without a passport until the feminine form of “holder” was added to the application form. She later gathered signatures to push for high-pressure areas in weather reports to be given feminine as well as masculine names. But courts have been unimpressed by her campaign for gender-sensitive bank forms.


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