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The Daily Tar Heel

PARIS (MCT) — In a victory for feminists, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said the word “mademoiselle” would no longer be used in government documents, according to a government spokeswoman on Wednesday.

“Madame or mademoiselle?” is a loaded question in France, where it is used both by men trying to establish a woman’s “availability” and by government departments, banks, and private companies who still force women to categorize themselves as Mrs. or Miss.

In France, a man is a Mr. — or monsieur — all his life, but women are either mademoiselles or mesdames for official and business purposes, depending on their marital status. It’s a distinction that no longer exists in a number of Western countries. Germany in 1972 banned fraulein from official use. English-speaking countries give women the option of the neutral Ms.

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