Majority of married women in Portugal keep maiden name

in News · 20-08-2011 00:00:00 · 0 Comments
Majority of married women in Portugal keep maiden name

When Queen Elizabeth’s grand-daughter Zara Phillips announced she would be keeping her maiden name following the most recent royal wedding she became part of a minority of women who do so in the UK. However, here in Portugal, the scenario is rather different.

Data from the Ministry of Justice shows that in Portugal more than 60 percent of married women choose to keep their maiden name. Furthermore, the number of women opting to take their husband’s surname is dropping year-on-year.
In the UK, a recent study by Harvard University Economics professor Claudia Goldin showed that 87 percent of the highly educated women she had based her study on chose to take their husband’s names.
According to figures from the Ministry of Justice in Portugal though, 62 percent of married women kept their maiden name. Last year that figure was 61 percent, and the year before 58 percent.
For example, the vice-president of Parliament, Teresa Caeiro, kept her maiden name when in June she married journalist and writer Miguel Sousa Tavares.
Speaking to newspaper PÚBLICO, Mrs. Caeiro claimed she had “no idea” that she was part of a growing trend in Portugal to buck the husband’s name, and explained: “It wasn’t an ideological choice or anything like that. It would be a great honour to adopt my husband’s name it’s just that I already have a very long name.”
In 1977 Portuguese law made it possible for the husband to adopt the wife’s surname, indicating for some “the start of equality among spouses.”
However, the number of men opting to do so is few and far between. In 2009, 12 men legally took their wives’ names, dropping to less than half of the 32 men who did so the year before.
Maria das Dores Guerreiro, a researcher of family sociology from Lisbon’s Centre for Sociology Studies and Research said that the numbers are “strange” as for so many years women have taken men’s’ names but the contrary never happened.
“If it is not reciprocal, it doesn’t make sense”, she said.
If a woman adopts her husband’s name and he doesn’t take hers it is in a way, Mrs. das Dores Guerreiro said, representative of an era “marked by inequality, when the man was the head of the family and the woman needed his permission to travel or to work.”


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