Social implications of married women adopting their husbands’ names : a gendered perspective - a case study of Mukono District
Atim, Caroline Eonya
MetadataShow full item record
Naming is a very significant and symbolic practice that is used to attach a ‘label’ in the form of a name to a person. It is the name, whether given, added, or adopted that influence one’s identity. Therefore, names have a meaning attached to them. It is such meaning that influences gendered meanings in terms of, identities, difference in hierarchies and possibly social status of the [male and female] bearer (Pilcher, 2017). At marriage, some married women choose to change their names by either adopting their husband’s names entirely, to replace their maiden names, or, add on while others do not. However, there is a knowledge gap in what social implications arise from the married woman’s choice on name change. Thus, a study was conducted to examine the social implications of married women adopting their husbands’ surnames from a gendered perspective. Guided by the Existentialist Theory that extensively explains the nature of human existence, married women’s existence in society using the identity of their husbands is explained. Additionally, Sen’s Entitlement Approach is used to further understand women's entitlements after adopting their husbands’ names. Using a qualitative approach, and a case study design, data was collected from 24 in-depth and 11 key informant interviews to achieve the objectives of; establishing women’s perception about adopting their husbands’ surname, exploring men’s perceptions on women adopting the husbands surnames and, investigating the social implications associated with married women adopting their husband’s surname. Thematic data analysis was done through NVivo, a computer-based software. Findings indicate that society and religion continue to reinforce masculine ideology, beliefs and practices that exploit the sexual difference to create systems of inequality. The women’s perceptions showed that, women adopted their husband’s surnames because of the common and persistent practice that create a sense of belonging, and identity. The men perceptions regarding surname adoption varied from the perception women held. The men saw the surname change as an assurance that gave them comfort, and authority over their wives. While to the women, name change was perceived as a gain of legitimacy, and confidence as the official wives. This status, had an added social implication that enabled the married women to access the man’s property and social security Yet, for the women who did not adopt, gendered stereotypes, negative labeling and exclusion were used. The study therefore recommends that society, and religious institutions should not pressure women into surname adoption against their wish. When the women are compelled to adopt their husbands’ surnames, their freedom is abused and gender inequality is promoted.