April 26, 2009 at 8:53 pm (Jumbled Jabbering)
In a recent conversation with an acquaintance who is originally from Quebec, the topic of married names vs. maiden names came up.
You see, in Quebec, women keep their maiden name and hyphenate it with their husband’s name. They use this compound name socially, but legally, their name is made up of their maiden name only.
In Ontario, where I’m from, and here in the Yukon (and I believe the rest of Canada), women have the choice of keeping their maiden name or taking on the married name on their big day.
In our conversation she mentioned that this mentality in Quebec is a result of gender equality. This may be the belief, but I am left to wonder how on earth, when a woman doesn’t have the choice in which name she wishes to adopt upon marriage, it can be construed as equal.
In the past, it was due to the church’s influence that women took their husband’s name. Today, it’s the law that forces Quebec women to keep their maiden name. The pendulum has swung, but what’s the difference?
How can women in Quebec think they’re further ahead in terms of gender equality when, unlike the rest of Canada, they don’t have a choice in which name they will adopt if they marry. Actually, they do have a choice, except that changing their name incurs a cost. In the rest of Canada, there is no cost associated with either name. In one case I know in Ontario, it was the husband who took his wife’s name.