In the future, men will have to fill out a questionnaire about military service and return it. Women don't have to answer. Is that fair?

The legs of a girl in pink pants and white sneakers climb into an armored vehicle.

Every day “Girls' Day” in the federal government? Student on April 25 at the Ministry of Defense Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka /dpa


Women's rights often have to be used to justify some absurdity, for example the war in Afghanistan in 2001. And even now, in the debate over the new military service, gender equality is becoming an argument for enforcing the obligation apparently fairly for all. “Today,” says the vice-president of the Union's parliamentary group, Johann Wadepuhl, “no distinctions can be made” between women and men. That doesn't happen in other areas either.

Oh no? Some figures: In the future, basic military service in Germany will last six months, during which young people will not be able to completely control themselves. A pregnancy alone lasts nine months, during which pregnant women in this country are subject to a state-imposed obligation to carry the child to term. Aborting pregnancies remains illegal.

On average, men take four months of parental leave, while women take 15 months, although they lose income, career options and often subsequent pensions. This often happens because childcare services are not available across the board. Women currently do nine hours more unpaid work per week than men, which equates to about 20 days a year, regardless of whether children are involved or not. Oh yes, there are definitely differences between the sexes.

All people are equal before the law, as established by the Fundamental Law. However, this does not mean that equality is even close to being achieved in everyday life. The differences extend along several fault lines, between rich and poor, for example, or between people who can get pregnant and those who cannot. Being a woman still means discrimination and regulation in everyday life.

Children, cooking, war?

And not only in relation to the right to one's own body, but also to work, money, taxes or protection against violence. The gender pay gap is 18 percent: people are not paid the same salary for the same work. The marital division consolidates inequality. And 331 people died from intimate partner violence in 2023, the vast majority of them women.

It is the State's task to correct these disparities. As long as they exist, justice consists not only in equal treatment, but above all in the fight against elementary injustices. Women must have access to the rights granted by the Basic Law. So if you want to fill out the Pistorius questionnaire voluntarily, please commit voluntarily. But children, cooking and war as a mandatory program: that is not an option. Patricia Hecht


If there is compulsory military service, then for everyone. Everything else is unpleasant words, reminiscent of the debate over the delivery of 5,000 helmets to Ukraine: we are firmly on your side, but…

If the federal government requires its citizens to make declarations about their military fitness, then, of course, this obligation should apply to everyone. If only men had to answer, that would be a form of discrimination. In a State that claims to have achieved legal equality between the sexes, there may be men who feel unfairly treated when faced with this questionnaire. And even more blatant: if the Ministry of Defense only takes women and other non-men half seriously when it comes to military fitness, doesn't this also cement society's view of women, even who only takes himself half seriously when it comes to military fitness? Issues that matter?

Anyone who claims that women should not be forced into the trenches as long as there is no other equality is stuck in a mud pit. It could be said with the same ease: as long as we are not paid equally, we will not be crane drivers, executive directors, lay judges, we will not sweep the streets, we will not have children, we will not clean cigarette butts, we will not pay taxes.

Leaving the professional use of weapons exclusively to men is a serious mistake. Why should men receive preferential treatment when it comes to military positions? For decades there has been a struggle for women to join the Bundeswehr: Why should they now only be treated in exceptional cases as if they were real men?

Who resists?

In the past, men avoided household and care tasks on the grounds that it would bring home money. This relationship has changed significantly in recent decades. Today men can only justify their supposed superiority by saying that they are the ones who have to bear the blame in the event of war.

Of course, a case can be made for the abolition of all compulsory military service, regardless of gender. But equality for all does not end with the military. Before, I ended up at the construction fence, in front of the police car and on the manager's floor. Anyone who advocates making an exception for women when it comes to housework should be criticized by men: An exception for housework too! Doris Akrap