’Mademoiselle’ Status to be Dropped from Official Documents in France
[The Guardian, London, 23 February 2012] French Government says honorific ’Mademoiselle’ is an unjustified and unnecessary reference to women’s marital status.
After a campaign by feminist groups, the French prime minister’s office has issued a circular saying the Mademoiselle option should be removed from all administrative documents in the vast state bureaucracy.
Until now, women were required to identify themselves as married (Madame) or unmarried (Mademoiselle) on everything from tax forms to insurance claims and voting cards. There was no neutral option like the English Ms. Men only had to tick one option – Monsieur – whether married or not.
The government is advising that all women should be referred to as Madame, with no reference to whether they are married or not. The circular noted "the persistence of terms referring, without justification or need, to women’s matrimonial situation".
It asked ministries and regional administrations to "eliminate as much as possible from their forms and letters" the term Mademoiselle as well as requests for "maiden name" and references to a spouse’s surname.