Selbert, Elisabeth

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Selbert, Elisabeth Gender: F
Martha Elisabeth Rohde
born on 22 September 1896 at 08:00 (= 08:00 AM )
Place Kassel, Germany, 51n19, 9e29
Timezone MET h1e (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 29°45' s_mo.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 03°29 Asc.s_libcol.18.gif 18°26'

Elisabeth Selbert
photo: Hans Weingartz, license cc-by-3.0


German politician and lawyer, one of the four Mütter des Grundgesetzes (Mothers of the Basic Law) — the inclusion of equality as a fundamental right in the German Constitution was largely her doing.

After the Weimar Republic was founded, women received suffrage, and Selbert wrote many articles and spoke at numerous events about women's duty to inform themselves about, and engage in, politics.

In 1919 Selbert stood for parliament as the candidate for the Niederzwehren municipality, and worked in the Finance Committee. She was already interested in equality, and in October 1920 she went as a delegate to the first National Women's Conference in Kassel, where she said: "Now women have equal rights, but we are only equal on paper."

In 1920, she married Adam Selbert, and a year later her first child was born, followed shortly by a second.

Selbert received her doctorate in 1930. Her thesis was on Zerrüttung als Ehescheidungsgrund ("Dislocation as Grounds for Divorce"). She was critical of the "principle of guilt", that women often had no rights in divorce. Her proposed solutions were far ahead of their time, and were not implemented in Germany until 1977.

Selbert began to practise law in 1934. Since her Jewish husband was unemployed (due to the Nazis) until 1945, she had to feed her family.

After the Nazi defeat, in 1946 Selbert was elected to the State Consultative Assembly representing the Social Democratic Party for Groß-Hessen. In 1948 she was tasked with helping to draw up the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. The original wording of Article 3 was from the Weimar Constitution, reading: "Men and women have the same civil rights and duties." Selbert prefaced this with: "As an imperative mandate to the legislature...". As a result of this constitutional principle, many of the old family law provisions (that dated back to 1896) had to be revised to bring them into conformity.

Selbert left politics and almost sank into oblivion. She continued to work as a lawyer in her practice, which specialised in family law, until she was eighty-five. She died in her home town of Kassel on 9 June 1986, aged 89.

Since 1983, the Hess State Government has biannually awarded the Elisabeth Selbert Prize, "in recognition of outstanding performance for promoting equal opportunities between women and men."

Link to Wikipedia biography



  • Relationship : Marriage 1920 (Adam Selbert)

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided birth registry entry from Hesse Archives.


  • Traits : Mind : Education extensive (PhD)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 89)
  • Vocation : Law : Attorney
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ feminist
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction