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The Family in Light of Women's Equality (December 20, 1965)

The new East German Code of Family Law not only emphasized women’s equality in marriage and the family; it also liberalized the divorce law and addressed the status of children. It provided a foundation for a socialist family policy that attempted to promote and reconcile women’s dual roles in the workplace and the family.

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Family Code of the German Democratic Republic of December 20, 1965 [excerpt]

The family is the smallest unit of society. It is based on life-long marriage and the particularly intimate bonds that develop from the emotional relationships between man and woman and the relationships of mutual love, respect, and trust between all family members.

The social conditions in the German Democratic Republic are the firm foundation for the socially secured existence of the family. With the building up of socialism emerged social conditions that lead to liberating family relations from the perversions and distortions caused by human exploitation, the social and legal degradation of women, material insecurity, and other manifestations of bourgeois society.

With the development of socialism in the German Democratic Republic new forms of family relations are emerging. Creative work free of exploitation, human relations based on comradely interactions, equal rights for women in all aspects of life, and educational opportunities for all citizens are important prerequisites for strengthening the family and making it lasting and happy. Harmonious relations in marriage and the family have a great influence on the formation of the younger generation’s character and on a person’s individual happiness, joie de vivre, and pleasure in work.

The family has great social significance in the German Democratic Republic. It grows into a community that supports and furthers the abilities and characteristics that determine the behavior of a person as an individual in socialist society.

It is the purpose of the family code to promote the development of family relations in socialist society. The family code should help all citizens, especially young people, in consciously shaping their family lives. It serves to protect marriage and the family and the right of each and every member of the family community. It should prevent family conflicts and help to solve emerging conflicts. In this context, it regulates the obligations and tasks of the state organs and institutions.

The family code directs the attention of citizens, socialist collectives, and social organizations to the great personal and social significance of marriage and the family, and to the tasks of each individual and society as a whole in contributing to the protection and development of every family.

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