After 160 years, women can now join Aachen Carnival Association

After 160 years, women can now join Aachen Carnival Association

A great leap forward for equal rights enthusiasts in Germany this week, as Aachen Carnival Association opted to allow women to join - for the first time in its 160-year history.

Carnival Associations in Germany

Although it may take place for only a few days each year, Carnival in Germany is a year-round business. As far back as the 19th century, when the first was founded in Cologne, carnival associations (Karnevalsvereine) have existed to keep up with the planning and organising needed to make next year’s event a success.

Entry into one of these Vereins is not easy to come by, either - it is a privilege one must earn through hard work and suitable connections. And until now, in Aachen that privilege has been reserved exclusively for men.

Aachen Carnival Association finally welcomes women

This week, however, a landmark decision was reached at a meeting of the Aachen Carnival Association (AKV): they would, for the first time ever, allow women to become members. The motion passed with a majority of 80 percent, leading AKV President Werner Pfeil to comment, “This is a great result.”

The change hinges on a rewording of one sentence in the Association’s rulebook: “Any respectable male person who has reached the age of 18 may become a member of this association.” The AKV elected to strike the word “male”.

The momentous decision may have something to do with the fact that the Federal Fiscal Court recently ruled that a Masonic lodge, which was excluding women from membership, could no longer qualify as a charitable business. However, Pfeil stated that this did not come into consideration; the change was simply “timely”. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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