Girl Sues Famous Berlin Boys Choir Founded In 1465 For Gender Bias

A 9-year-old girl is suing the all-boy State and Cathedral Choir, claiming she wasn't allowed to join because of her gender.

A man holds a choir booklet.
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A 9-year-old girl is suing the all-boy State and Cathedral Choir, claiming she wasn't allowed to join because of her gender.

The State and Cathedral Choir is a prestigious choir based in Berlin, Germany, that was founded in 1465 by Fredrick II of Brandenburg. There are 250 boys and men that belong to the choir, and they have performed all over the world, including Europe, the United States, Japan, Russia, and Israel. This choir has been around for 554 years, yet has never been known to admit any girls throughout this time. Now, a 9-year-old Berlin girl is suing the choir because she claims she was not admitted because of her gender alone. The State and Cathedral Choir rejects this claim, stating that it wasn’t just because the child was a girl that she wasn’t allowed to join, according to Fox News.

The child’s name, which wasn’t released publicly due to her being a minor, reportedly auditioned for the State and Cathedral Choir back in March but was told “no.” The girl’s mother then issued the suit on her daughter’s behalf, expressing her belief that her daughter not being allowed to join is a violation of her rights and discriminatory based upon gender.

However, the choir claims there were several reasons the 9-year-old wasn’t accepted, but the fact that she was female wasn’t one of them. Her voice reportedly did not match the desired tone they were looking for and would not blend well with the other singers’ voices. The choir leaders also did not feel they would be able to work effectively with the child’s parents.

This case has stirred up quite a bit of controversy, with many speaking out online regarding who is right, the mother and daughter or the choir. For the most part, people seem to be taking the side of the choir, pointing out that it’s a simple fact that boys and girls voices sound different.

Hannah Bethke is a writer for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. Bethke pointed out that the leaders of the choir have never said that girls can’t sing as well as boys, just that they sing differently.

“Nobody has said girls can’t sing as well. But the timbre is different, and judging that should be left to the musicians and the musicologists. Anyone who wants to enforce a misunderstood gender equality here sacrifices a cultural asset.”

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Berlin musicologist Ann-Christine Mecke also commented on the matter.

“The difference between boys’ voices and girls’ voices is audible and measurable,” she said.

However, Mecke claims this actual difference is “smaller than many claim.”