Czech Women May Get To Take Non-Gendered Surnames Soon

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Members of Parliament in the Czech Republic have backed a change in the law which may soon allow women to take non-gendered versions of their surnames.

Every woman’s surname ends with “-ova” in the Czech language and the ending could be dropped in only certain circumstances, such as if they have foreign nationality or live with a foreigner. However, the law might change soon as the senate will now vote for it.

According to BBC, the proposal to bring a change was suggested by former Justice Minister Helena Valkova, who said the current situation “unjustified unequal position and can lead to absurd situations” with women residing in neighbouring country Slovakia.

Slovakia used to be part of the same country, where a woman is allowed to change her surname, while a woman living in the Czech Republic is prevented from doing the same.

What are Czech Women fighting for?

Pirate Party MP Ondřej Profant, who voted for the change in existing law, cited a survey reported last year by Radio Prague International, carried out at a registry office in Prague suggested that around 28% of women would prefer to use the masculine form of their surname.

On the other hand, the radio station also mentioned that most linguists in the nation supported the current rules on names. They argued that the feminine ending was central to Czech grammar and changing that would lead to confusion.

On May 2, ninety-one MPs voted in favour of giving women the authority to choose whether to take the masculine or feminine form of their surname while 33 voted against it. However, a proposal to remove gender from ID cards was completely rejected.

According to the current law, the wife or daughter of a Czech man has the -ova suffix added to her name, a pattern similar to this is seen in other Slavic languages.