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Social equality and greeting customs

Man and woman are equal before the law. This has effects on everyday life, for example things like public behaviour and greeting customs.

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In Germany an individual is usually more important than a social group, something which many newcomers from other cultures have to learn to understand. Individual freedom and equal rights for all are highly prized. Though according to the Bible every person is not identical, each one has equal value. In Germany, as well as all across Europe, all people are viewed as having equal human rights, whether man or woman, light or dark skinned, regardless of their cultural or religious background. This belief is the reason for our openness to foreigners – our culture of political hospitality is based on the fact that in God‘s view, every foreigner is valued just as much as every local inhabitant.

Equal rights for men and women

Men and women are equal in legal terms. Fifty years ago this was not completely the case and even today hasn‘t been implemented in every aspect of society.
Individual freedom for a woman—as well as for a man—includes the freedom to dress as she desires. If  some women wear clothes that expose more skin than others, that doesn‘t necessarily imply they are inviting sexual advances. Also, it is considered impolite to stare at a stranger, even at a woman attired in shorts and a midriff top, or wearing a mini-skirt.

Men and women are greeted in the same manner. When greeting a mixed group, to be polite a man will extend a greeting to the woman first and then to the man, in order to honour the woman. You usually look briefly at the eyes of the person you are greeting, a gesture which does not signal a desire for more intimate relations between a man and a woman.


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