This chapter examines why the German state, until recent years, was a laggard in terms of incorporating international and regional norms of sexual non-discrimination. It also examines why domestic feminist activism, which emerged in the politically conducive conditions of the late 1960s and again with the collapse of the East German state in 1989, had virtually no influence on state behaviour. It examines why changing regional conditions induced a noticeable, albeit minimal, change to state employment legislation in 1980, and why changing domestic conditions preceding German reunification induced a further minor change to state employment legislation in 1994. Further, it examines why, between 1998 and 2004, the state became more receptive to incorporating international norms of sexual non-discrimination. The chapter begins by tracing the
political reconstitution of the paternalistic corporate identity of the state after the Second World War before examining how this identity construction has affected the diffusion of international norms of sexual nondiscrimination. Using the argument outlined in Chapter 2, I investigate how the German state actively resisted incorporating these norms prior to 1998 and how, despite this resistance, international and domestic pressure did induce some modest changes in domestic state practices. I argue that, while the state’s reaction to these norms between 1945 and 1997 is generally one of behavioural continuity, occasionally the state responds to regional or domestic pressure and changes its behaviour in accordance with particular norms. We can identify three periods of state behavioural continuity, between 1945 and 1997, in which social interaction tends to result in the reproduction of discriminatory state practices. Both the first and the last of these periods are interrupted by instances of either regionally or domestically derived state behavioural change. We can also identify a period of state behavioural change, from 1998 to 2004, in which social interaction results in the adoption of particular non-discriminatory state practices.