Men and women have equal rights | Open your heart - Artikel | Open your heart | DW | 27.09.2016
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Open your heart - Artikel

Men and women have equal rights

Men and women in Germany have the same rights and obligations. Both genders should have the same opportunities in life – whether in careers, raising children or issues of sexuality.

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Men and women

Men and women in Germany have equal rights according to the law and people struggled for decades to obtain these rights. As recently as 1977 in Germany, a woman had to ask her husband for permission to work. Now equal rights have become part of everyday life. Women can do everything that men are allowed to do. And just like men, women are allowed to choose the partner they want to be with.

Already in Kindergarten, girls and boys are raised together and they play sports and games together. There is also no gender segregation at schools and at universities. At companies it doesn’t matter if the boss is a woman or a man, both deserve the same level of respect.

Sex education in school and from parents

It isn’t unusual in Germany for young people to have their first sexual experiences when they are 13 or 14. At schools there are sex education classes that prepare boys and girls early with what they need to be aware of before they begin sexual relationships.

Parents rarely interfere when their children choose a partner but, of course, they have the duty and the right to be sure that their children are careful and aware when dealing with the opposite sex. This includes education about STDs, pregnancy and contraception.

Homosexuality is accepted

The liberal upbringing in Germany makes it possible for girls and boys to just be friends and parents do not prevent their children from spending time with the opposite gender.

Homosexuality in general is also widely accepted in Germany – even if there are parents in Germany who cannot accept if their children are homosexual. But acceptance of homosexuality is growing in society.

Violence against women is not tolerated

Violence against women is not tolerated in any shape or form, whether in marriage or in any relationship. Women who need assistance can call the telephone number 08000 - 116 016. By calling this number, women who have experienced violence can get in contact anonymously with people who can provide help and support – nationwide, for free and 24-hours a day. Qualified advisors can provide assistance on location where necessary. There are also many women's houses in Germany where women in need can turn to.

Parental leave for fathers

In a marriage men and women have the same rights and responsibilities. It is still the case that women mostly stay home after they have babies to take care of the newborns. 

But many women also return to work after a year, sometimes as part-time employees. More and more men are also taking parental leave and leave work to spend time with their infants while the mother goes back to work.

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