Saturday 10 December 2016

What price equality if women give up their own names?

Published 25/07/2015 | 02:30

Yvonne Connolly, who reassumed her maiden name after her split with husband Ronan Keating
Yvonne Connolly, who reassumed her maiden name after her split with husband Ronan Keating
Dawn O’Porter, who ‘blended’ her name with that of her husband Chris O’Dowd
John Lennon (and wife Yoko) who changed his name to John Ono Lennon

Coverture is an ancient legal doctrine which holds that a woman, once married, is subordinate to her husband, her legal existence sacrificed for eternity at the altar of male supremacy, cunningly disguised as 'marital unity'.

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The feudal law, lifted from the Normans by the English and thrust on the Irish when Brehon law was unceremoniously stamped out, had little to do with love. Not only was the former feme sole unable to buy or sell property, earn money or make any decisions of her own, she could be raped by her husband at any time because marriage meant everlasting consent.

Romantic, huh? But tradition, however unequal, is deep seated.

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