The government of France, famous for its centralized authority over issues as detailed as school lesson schedules, recently issued a landmark language decision. No longer will public administrators employ the term “Mademoiselle” in official correspondence.
The three-century-plus-old distinction between an unmarried and a married woman is considered passé by many feminists.
The closest American equivalent is the dilemma over whether to use the term “Ms” as a salutation.
The U.S. government, famous for its hodgepodge of inconsistent practices, leaves such decisions to each agency or individual, according to the Office of Personnel Management.