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Under equality measures is meant to harmonize the living conditions of, in principle, equal heterogeneous populations (eg. As equality between women and men ).

Under equal treatment to any approximation of disadvantaged social groups understand (people with disabilities, people with the disease, people with an immigrant background, children educationally disadvantaged parents) in all areas of life.

The terms touch on equal opportunities and equality based on human rights . The terms denote special applications of the general equality of people, according to the constitutional principle of equality , before the law and in everyday life. They also have points of contact with the political demand for social justice .


Equality encompasses a number of topics that are treated differently due to the different conceptions, the different social resonance and the different political measures:

In addition, the topic includes specific regulations for specific population groups:

The special regulations for the protection of women during pregnancy and motherhood are expressly excluded .

Definition of terms

Gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming (English for “consistent equality orientation”, “equality policy”) aims to promote gender equality and is aimed at all those involved (e.g. in a university). It is part of the European Union's gender equality policy .

equal rights

The concept of “equality” is differentiated from that of “equal rights”.

Equality was declared a national goal in Germany in 1994 with the addition of Article 3, Paragraph 2, Sentence 2 of the Basic Law: "The state promotes the actual implementation of equal rights for women and men and works towards the elimination of existing disadvantages." Agreement that the state goal "should be addressed to all public authorities, does not grant any individual claim to a specific state action and the sphere of influence is not limited to the internal area of ​​the state, namely the public service, but the binding funding mandate extends to all areas of society extends. "

While equality pursues the rule of law equal treatment "with the aim of guaranteeing human dignity , freedom , justice and legal security ", the discussion about equality assumes that the rule of law equality does not automatically lead to de facto equal treatment. In the legislative process, the delimitation of equality and equality was an important and discussed point: "On the one hand, the conviction was expressed that the Basic Law now clarifies the admissibility of preferential unequal treatment to promote women and, in particular, ensures that women who have the same qualifications and show the ability, like comparable men, to be given preferential treatment if the group of women is underrepresented in the respective area. This was disputed by others and it was emphasized that the proposed wording only allows for equal opportunities - the equality of starting opportunities - but does not provide for equality of results. That is why the word “equality” was deliberately avoided. The purpose of the new regulation is to strengthen the effectiveness of the fundamental right of gender equality, but not to restrict this fundamental right. "

However, there was agreement in the negative evaluation of women's quotas as an instrument of equality in the sense of equality : "There was agreement that this provision does not allow the promotion of women in the form of so-called rigid quotas."

Positive discrimination

Parallel to the German development from equality to equality, the concept of affirmative action developed in the USA , which then became more and more established in the German-speaking area. The opposite of equality is not entirely disadvantage. Rather, the unequal treatment of individuals is the rule, this includes disadvantage. Measures of relative preference in the sense of equality are called “ positive discrimination ”. Political efforts towards equality are often identical to those towards equal opportunities. Political efforts towards equality and efforts towards equality often contradict one another. The equality directs the attention to justice any individuals over regardless of his "group membership". Equality, on the other hand, strives for the equality of groups by treating individuals unequally because of their group membership.

This includes, for example, the advancement of women , which gives preferential treatment to female citizens as long as a women's quota has not been reached, the gender-specific regulations at work, the special exception regulations for the protection of ethnic minorities or the assistance that some societies give to politically persecuted people . In the course of gender equality, the disadvantage of men due to their gender role in certain areas is also considered.

Relevant legal norms

Worldwide legal norms

EU-wide legal norms

Legal norms in Germany

  • State equality laws with information on state-specific equality between the sexes and people with disabilities

Legal norms in Austria

Legal norms in Switzerland

Switzerland does not have a generally comprehensive legal norm, only gender equality provisions that are separated according to topic.

Legal norms in Liechtenstein

Legal norms in France

  • Equal Opportunities Act (disabled people) , 2005, French loi pour l'égalité des droits et des chances, pour la participation et pour la citoyenneté des personnes handicapées of February 11, 2005 (N ° 2005-102, JO N ° 36 of February 12, 2005 , P. 2353), Loi handicap for short

Animal and thing

In certain contexts, such as the ethical discussion about animal welfare , there is even talk of equality between animals and property under civil law . According to § 90a BGB , animals are not things, but are treated as if ( analogy ). This paragraph is considered a declaratory standard, e.g. B. is irrelevant in the field of criminal law . Since April 2003 it has been in the Swiss Civil Code : Animals are not things .

Severely disabled

According to German social law (SGB IX), there is the possibility of equality with severely disabled people from a degree of disability (GdB) of 30.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Equality  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Gender mainstreaming . UN Women.Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  2. Rüdiger Voigt, Ralf Walkenhaus (ed.): Hand dictionary of the administrative reform . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-13756-5 , p. 154 f.
  3. Margherita Zander, Luise Hartwig, Irma Jansen (eds.): Gender incidental? On the topicality of a gender perspective in social work . VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-531-14947-4 , p. 138 f.
  4. Michael Meuser, Claudia Neusüß: Gender Mainstreaming - an introduction . In this. (Ed.): Gender Mainstreaming. Concepts - fields of action - instruments . Federal Agency for Civic Education , Bonn 2004, pp. 9–22.
  5. Topic 2006/05: “Equality on the test bench”. ( Memento of the original from April 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. German Youth Institute, interview with Waltraud Cornelißen, DJI; Retrieved April 25, 2008 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.dji.de
  6. Uwe Berlit . In: Yearbook of Public Law of the Present. NF, 44.1996 . Mohr Siebeck, 1996, ISBN 3-16-146549-0 , p. 58.
  7. Klaus Stern : The constitutional law of the Federal Republic of Germany - Volume I , CH Beck, 1984, § 20 III 1 (p. 781).
  8. a b Bundesrat Drucksache 800/93, page 50, http://starweb.hessen.de/elbib/bundesrat_bericht_verfassungsreform800_93.pdf
  9. Swiss equality regulations. admin.ch