Sydney, March 31 (IANS) A majority of Australian women are taking their husband’s surnames at marriage despite debate about whether or not the tradition is sexist, researchers from Adelaide’s Flinders University said on Thursday.
Head of women’s studies at Flinders University Yvonne Corcoran-Nantes, who has been researching the topic for several years, said while the debate on keeping a woman’s maiden name in marriage has been “in vogue” in recent times, more than 80 percent of Australian women are still choosing to take their husband’s last name, reports Xinhua news agency.
She said the tradition dates back hundreds of years, to a time when women were considered as property, and hence the recent discussions over whether or not women should take their man’s surname at marriage.
“It has a very long history and it has to do with inheritance and property and dating back to when women were property or as good as, and you are actually taken into the husband’s family and therefore you take his name,” Corcoran-Nantes told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“People don’t get too fussed when women take a man’s surname on at marriage, which over 80 percent of women still do, but get quite uppity if a woman doesn’t want to take a man’s name on,” she said.
Although most married women in Australia were happy to take their husband’s name, Corcoran-Nantes said it was almost unheard of for men to take their wife’s surname.
She added that more than 90 percent of all children were given their father’s surname at birth.
“Men’s Health did a survey and what was quite surprising (was) over 96 percent of the men who answered that poll wouldn’t change their name to the woman’s even if she asked him to do so,” Corcoran-Nantes said.