Just call me madame

The city of Lausanne has decided that the term "mademoiselle" is outmoded.

The title "Miss" is no longer a hit in Lausanne. The word "mademoiselle" is being removed from all official correspondence.

This content was published on August 5, 2002 - 17:08

Henceforth, all women living in the city, regardless of age or marital status, must be addressed as "madame".

Lausanne decided to act after it received numerous complaints from single women when it sent out information about its new postal voting system. Now, computer records will be amended so that the title "mademoiselle" is removed.

"In a society where women and men are equal before the law, there is no reason for women - unlike men - to be addressed according to their civil status," the city authorities said in a statement.

"The growing diversity of life choices renders this distinction obsolete," it added.


In the past, being called "mademoiselle" implied that you were an unmarried woman without financial independence. Today, with more and more women working, and more and more couples deciding to have children without first getting married, the term seems an anachronism.

"Lausanne has decided to get in tune with the reality of society and abolish the use of mademoiselle," the statement said.

The city is not alone. The cantons of Fribourg, Geneva and Jura have already taken similar steps.

by Roy Probert

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