Opinion: Why do married women retain maiden names?

by Joseph Igbinovia

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Foremost sprinter, Mary Onyali, also stuck to her maiden name until recently when she hyphenated her husband’s family name, Omagbemi.

In the past, a surname change naturally followed every wedding, particularly in this part of Africa. In fact, the name change was anticipated by every single-lady because it was considered the most cogent emblem for one’s status.

However, recent discoveries have revealed a deviation from this tradition as a growing percentage of new brides now prefer to retain their maiden names! Their daddies’ names, simply put! While some are opting to hyphenate their last names with their husbands’ after marriage, some are outrightly keeping their maiden names without taking up their husbands’ at all.

Most men are however grossly opposed to this trend as only a few months ago, a 36-year-old Nigerian civil servant asked a Lagos customary court to dissolve his two-year-old marriage over his 35-year-old wife’s refusal to change her surname to his.

“She always tells me she is comfortable with her father’s name and that she cannot change it,” the petitioning husband told the court who had no choice but to dissolve the union in spite of the woman’s claim that she still loved her husband.

A July 2013 survey carried out by Facebook also confirmed an increase in the proportion of women who retain their maiden names, revealing that most of them happen to be in their 20s.

“Unlike in the past when every newlywed bride signed for a surname change, just 62 per cent of that age group now chooses to use their husband’s family name. For those in their 30s, the number rises to 74 per cent and for women in their 60s it stands at 88 per cent”, the survey which analysed the names of women on the social media site who said they were married – and compared them to their husbands’ profiles, revealed.

Though the alternative of hyphenating last names with husbands’ has reigned amongst older women like screen-diva, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke, Lola Abiola-Edewo, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and more, most men still object to it, tagging it ‘double-barreling’, hence the total disapproval of the latest trend- outright neglect of husbands’ names. Foremost sprinter, Mary Onyali, also stuck to her maiden name until recently when she hyphenated her husband’s family name, Omagbemi.

Why the trend?

Investigations by Vista Woman, VM, uncovered reasons ranging from fame to profession and family background. For women like Lola Abiola-Edewo who retained maiden names despite marriage to influential families, Mr.Ike Ikeson, an educationist, identified ego and family pride as reasons for ‘double-barreling’.

While most men attributed the trend to feminism, a few however averred that a surname change might pose difficulties for some women professionals who had achieved quite a lot before marriage.

“I don’t expect a well-published female author to ditch her maiden name because readers will be unable to identify her with her works. That would be suicide!”, a Lagos businessman who said he didn’t mind the trend said.

Barr.Femi Abiodun, a legal practitioner, however has a different view. He believes the trend is typical of women who are married to men of equal or lower social, economic, educational, or political status. The others, he says, are women from notable families but married into regular families.

To Ifeanyi, a young man preparing to walk the aisle, it shows who is at the driver’s seat of the relationship.

“When a married woman keeps any name outside her husband’s, she is simply bossing and/or oppressing her spouse. I am yet to see a woman retain her maiden name in any way, shape or form if she is married to a man who belongs to a higher status than her”, Ifeanyi stressed.

“I don’t blame women who keep their fathers’ names or hyphenate both names. If your dad’s name could open doors or even break walls and you got married to someone whose name does not even ring a bell, what would you rather do?”, Mrs.Titi Babalola, a designer, said.

The question:

As a man, will you let your wife ‘double-barrel’ under your roof? What if she chooses not to bear your name at all? If God blesses you with a successful, achieving and famous daughter, will you be pleased or sad to watch her toss your name alongside that bouquet of roses? What the heck is in a name, anyway?

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Read this article in the Vanguard Newspapers

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

In the past, a surname change naturally followed every wedding, particularly in this part of Africa. In fact, the name change was anticipated by every single-lady because it was considered the most cogent emblem for one’s status.

However, recent discoveries have revealed a deviation from this tradition as a growing percentage of new brides now prefer to retain their maiden names! Their daddies’ names, simply put! While some are opting to hyphenate their last names with their husbands’ after marriage, some are outrightly keeping their maiden names without taking up their husbands’ at all.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/10/married-women-retain-maiden-names/#sthash.jxWtL2IM.dpuf

“… Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. – Kennedy, John. F

Someone who is law-abiding, aspirational, patriotic, with a sense of nationhood and belonging perhaps. Or perhaps being a useful individual and part of a collective working towards a common goal, do we often feel neighbourly. Help others that are less fortunate than us.

Couple of days ago, the national television station held its yearly national programme, called the PRIDE OF BRITAIN. Here the cream of human kindness at its best were showcased where the ordinary people up and down the country do the most incredible act of heroics to complete strangers, loved ones and colleagues. They were awarded for their selflessness and acts of bravery in the face of adversities.

It is very humbling and the beauty of these heroes is that they ask for nothing in return when have we, asked Nigerians to act selflessly? I am not talking about the usual handing out of paltry boxes of sugar and bag of rice to an orphanage with the photographer in tow. I am talking about an act of kindness that does not call for anything in return.

For instance, there was a 91 year old lady who goes around fund raising for cancer research and she was able to raise £81,000! All she wants to do is to help contribute to funding the advancement for the cure and research for cancer. There was Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani school pupil who campaigned tirelessly for the education of young girls, she was badly injured by mindless bigots for her trouble. Upon her recovery, she has continued to campaign for the education of girls all over the world. There was a young man who invented an innovative way of making maths fun for primary school children. The man who had raised fund to get himself a walking devise and gave all the money to a young boy, because he felt the boy needed it more than he did.

Nothing gets done unless we work on our corner of the world and there lies the rub. We have been so grounded down that we have forgotten how to be human. We have forgotten that we are tied up in struggle and prosperity.

What happens to one person, will affect the other. We often fool ourselves to believe that as long as we are thriving that is all that matters. For instance, in many roads and byways where the roads are filled with pot holes and in need of repair, it often not tarred because the rich man thinks why tar the road when others will use it? He rather (the rich man) changes his expensive car as often as possible rather than let others ply a functional road. He may have an accident on that road rather than let others use a tarred road. I am sure you can think of many instances and that it is alarming.

This attitude serves no one well, in fact it breeds a nation of misfit and morally deprived individual always self-serving and not working as a collective for the common goal. The only reason a community and a nation works is, when we give of ourselves as an individual and as a collective. We should not always think about what is in it for me rather what can we do to help advance as a nation.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”– Mother Teresa

Our elders of yore were right, when they say; what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine. They say one hand washes the other makes it clean. We often take it for granted. We often blame everyone but ourselves for being in the state that we are. The solution does not lie on who we blame but what are we doing to improve our country? What are the legacies we are passing on to our children? Is it that each to his own? We need to lead by example. The question is: what are we doing for others? We are what Nigeria is waiting for and is about time Nigerians put aside a day for volunteering, giving time to help others. Just like the sanitation day why can’t we begin a nationwide drive to rebuild our sense of pride and ownership we need to get back our moral obligations where we provide our time for no charge at all.

It might be seen like an alien concept but not long ago we were actually better at caring for one another. I have had emails requesting to help other people, well this is the time to give back and not expect nothing in return. We should have a drive to get Nigerians feeling once again proud to call Nigeria our home.

“If your attitude is to do things which are going to please the community and human beings, then of course you are likely to live a long life. To go to bed feeling that you have done some service to the community is very important” —Nelson Mandela.

Give us good people of good character and good governance

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” – Earnest Benn

I hear that in Lagos State, some people are calling for the next governor to be a Christian. They argued that it is about time a Christian gets a go! What nonsense! In a statement titled; ‘The Church and Governance of Lagos State’ the chairman of Lagos PFN, Apostle Alex Bamgbala said “Christians have supported the two Muslim administrations in the state since 1999 and it is only fair that they give room for their Christian counterparts to be elected in 2015″.

I would rather have a potential governor who is effective and honest with the best interest of its people at the forefront than play sectarian musical chairs. If it is the case, we are barking up the wrong tree and once again staring deep into the abyss. The reason Lagos works is not because the man at the top is Muslim, it is because he is effective and thorough. Lagos has always been a melting pot and those that want to play politics with the lives of its people , better watch it.Enough of looking for trouble and trying to make people take sides.

This is what breeds mistrust and resentment. It serves no one, in the long run we will be prolonging our misery and storing trouble for generations to come.

– See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/10/makes-good-citizen/#sthash.hXWshscc.dpuf

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