Should women drop their last name

Many women are faced with this vital question when tying the knot. We get some of them to tell us which side of the fence they'd choose

The practice of dropping your maiden surname and taking on your husband's last name has been around since the 1920s. We have come a long way since then, but the debate on whether women should change their last names to add their husband's surname rages on. While feminists see it as a move to dissolve a woman's past and her identity, romantics fail to understand what the fuss is all about; as for them it's just an acceptance of being part of their partner's family.

What's in a last name? Rashi Dev, a 24-year-old working professional says, "I chose to take my husband's last name as it is a traditional thing to do. Besides, if we do decide to have kids in the future, it will eliminate unnecessary confusion about which name to opt for on his /her birth certificate."

While some women choose their husband's last name as it is quite convenient, others prefer to stick with their maiden name. Ramona Das, a media executive says, "My maiden surname is my identity and even if I tie the knot in future, I don't plan to drop it. I may just add my husband's last name and separate the two with a hyphen or maybe I'd continue with my maiden last name. It's my prerogative and I expect my partner to respect and support my decision."

What the figures say? A 2009 survey by researchers at an international university shows that 71 per cent of respondents believed a woman should change her name, and half of those respondents went so far as to say, the practice should be legally required. These numbers may help to explain why those who keep their names are sometimes criticised for their choice.

It's no big deal: With relationship dynamics changing, men too seem to be open to the idea of letting their partner's decide if they want to add on their family's name or drop their maiden last name. Rohit Verma, an advertising professional, sums it up in a few lines. "You don't need to have a famous last name to get attached to it. Over the years, we grow to accept our names and last names as our identity. It evokes a sense of belonging to a family. Hence, I feel whether a woman chooses to drop or keep her maiden surname, it should be her choice. You don't always have to do what tradition dictates. The stress should be on what you are comfortable with."

While as an individual, you may make your choices, society expects you to follow unsaid norms that dictate whether you should take on your husband's name.

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