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The German Women Lawyers Association

The German Women Lawyers Association brings lawyers and economists together who feel committed to the goals of our association and are interested in networking among colleagues.

Members work as attorneys, court justices, in policy positions, public administration, politics and business. According to our Constitution membership is open to every woman currently studying or who has studied law, economics or business, regardless if she is active in her profession.

Our Aims

Our aim is to further the development of law in all fields. We are primarily concerned with how the law affects women, children and the aged. From the very beginning, it has been our foremost goal to bring about equality and equal opportunities for women, be it in society, professional life or the family. Moreover, we strive for participation of women in politics and society in keeping with their share of the population.

Our Achievements

We have actively participated in several law reforms. This includes the reform of family law, especially regarding divorce and its legal consequences, parental care, improving the legal status of illegitimate children and their mothers, and enabling women to keep their family name throughout their lives. We have addressed discriminatory aspects of social security and retirement benefits as well as tax legislation. Concerning reproductive rights, we drafted a bill providing for freedom of choice within the first three months of pregnancy which we submitted to public debate. We have been champions in the fight for part-time work for women judges and civil servants and private sector, especially in leading positions. At present, we are working on instruments that would modernize social security and retirement benefits for women.

We stand for a quota system to obtain equal opportunities for women. We seek recognition of the extra burden mothers and fathers bear while raising children. And we endeavour to improve the situation of the aged as well as to combat violence – against women, children and the elderly in particular.

In 2000, we initiated the foundation of the European Women Lawyers Association in co-operation with colleagues from Austria and the United Kingdom.

Our Work

We work at the European (in co-operation with EWLA), federal, state (Land) and regional levels. Standing and ad hoc committees work on the following areas of law and policy:

  • Labour, Corporate and Commercial Law, Equal Opportunities,
  • Civil and Family Law, Law of Inheritance, Law of other Partnerships than Marriage
  • Criminal Law, Violence against Women and Children
  • Social Security and Retirement Benefits
  • Constitutional Law, Public Law, Equal Opportunities
  • European Law and Public International Law

We hold a general assembly in conjunction with a convention for the entire Association bi-annually. In the interim, we conduct a workshop of several day’s duration which deals at depth with issues of special interest. In addition, a quarterly review keeps members informed about the Association’s work. State and regional groups hold their own meetings and programs. Their role is primarily to help to maintain personal contact among members.

Our Current Activities

  • Legal measures to further equal opportunities in employment
  • Reform of marital property law
  • Reform of maintenance payments to relatives
  • Survey of indirect discrimination in labour law, social law and tax law
  • Re-organization of the social welfare benefit systems using family-specific components
  • Reform debate to bring about gender-conscious health policy and health care
  • Reform of the sanction systems in criminal law and criminal procedures
  • Women’s policy development in the European Union
  • Legal rights of immigrant populations
  • Legal remedies against trafficking of women
  • Policy debate on patients’ rights and end-of-life care
  • Legal issues in reproductive medicine and genetic technology
  • Implementation of the Violence Protection Act and other violence intervention measures

Our Addressees

Our suggestions and opinions are addressed to the parliaments, governments and administrative authorities of the Federal and the State levels as well as to the media. We take part in the legislative decision-making process by submitting written opinions and by giving expert opinions at parlamentary hearings. The Federal Constitutional Court, too, requests that we submit written opinions and present oral arguments in specific cases.

Our History

The German Women Lawyers Association (djb) was re-established by very committed colleagues in 1948.

It considers itself successor of the „German Women Lawyers Society“ ("Deutscher Juristinnen-Verein") founded in 1914 which was forced to disband when Hitler assumed power in 1933.

Our Pioneers

As a member of the Parliamentary Council (Parlamentarischer Rat) the precursor to the German Parliament, Elisabeth Selbert, who was later to become a member of the Association, fought for the inclusion of Art. 3 Sect. 2 (the "equal rights for men and women clause") in the original draft of the German Basic Law, the national Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The greater part of the implementation of Art. 3, Sect. 2 in legal theory and practice can be attributed to our late members Erna Scheffler and Wiltraut Rupp v. Brünneck, both in their capacity as Justices on the Federal Constitutional Court, and to Elisabeth Lüders, who was member of the first Bundestag. Their merits are unforgotten. While between 1933 and 1945 women judges had been excluded from the judiciary, at least one woman was called to the Bench of each of the five newly established Federal Supreme Courts of the Federal Republic of Germany. Most of them were members of the djb.

Our member Elisabeth Schwarzhaupt was appointed first Secretary of State in the first Federal Ministry of Health. Today many of our members are Secretaries of State in Federal or State Ministries, Justices on the Federal Constitutional Court or hold high positions in business, the judiciary, public administration and as university professors.

Membership

Membership is open to all women who have studied law, national economics or business.

The annual fee is: 190,00 Euro
Stagiaires, Trainees, Students, Doctoral Candidates with half-time positions: 40,00 Euro
Members with a low income: 40,00 Euro
Members after retirement: 60,00 Euro

Participation in Our Work

State and regional groups are immediately informed of new memberships so that you will be invited to all their meetings and activities. You can moreover apply to join any of our Committees.

Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V.
Bundesgeschäftsstelle
Anklamer Strasse 38
10115 Berlin
Fon: +49 30 44 32 70 0
Fax: +49 30 44 32 70 22