A German equality official has proposed changing the country’s national anthem to make it more ‘gender sensitive’.
Equality commissioner Kristin Rose-Möhring has suggested removing a reference to ‘the Fatherland’ from the lyrics of the German anthem while also dropping the word ‘brotherly’.
Under her proposals the word ‘Vaterland’, which appears in the first and last lines of the current anthem, would be replaced by ‘Heimatland’, meaning homeland.
She suggested making the change on March 8, International Women’s Day, according to the Bild am Sonntag.
A German equality official reportedly wants to change the country’s national anthem to make it more ‘gender sensitive’. Pictured: A German flag outside the Reichstag in Berlin
Rose-Möhring also proposed replacing another male-specific word, ‘brotherly,’ with ‘courageously.’
‘Why don’t we make our national anthem gender sensitive,’ she said. ‘It wouldn’t hurt, would it?’
Austria and Canada have both removed gender-specific terms from their anthems in recent years, with Canada recently changing the words ‘in all thy sons’ command’ to ‘in all of us command’.
Germany officially cut its national anthem to only the third stanza of August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben’s lyrics in 1991, shortly after reunification.
The first stanza, which declares ‘Germany above all else,’ is associated with the Nazi dictatorship.
The now-disused first verse also describes Germany as extending to territory which now belongs to France, the Netherlands and countries in Eastern Europe.
The third stanza, which is now in use, begins: ‘Unity, justice and freedom for the German fatherland.’
Germany officially cut its national anthem to only the third stanza in 1991, shortly after reunification Pictured: A German flag next to the Reichstag dome in Berlin
However, the proposal triggered a scornful reaction from the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
‘Completely over the top, and not even an April Fool’s joke,’ tweeted a branch of the AfD in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg.
The anthem’s melody was written by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn in 1797.
It was also used by West Germany during the Cold War, while Soviet-backed East Germany used the song ‘Risen from Ruins’.
Equality commissioner Rose-Möhring successfully sued her own ministry in 2012 after three top ministry posts were given to male candidates without consulting her,
The proposal surfaced hours before Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) announced its members had agreed to a new coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives.