WHAT IS IN A SURNAME? AN ENQUIRY INTO THE UNAUTHORISED NAME CHANGES OF MARRIED WOMEN

Authors

  • Odirile Matladi

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.29053/pslr.v16i1.4511

Abstract

In recent years there have been reports of the Department of Home
Affairs changing women’s surnames to that of their husbands upon the
conclusion of a marriage without the married women’s consent. This
conduct by the Department of Home Affairs officials infringes, as this
article will argue, not only on the affected women’s right to just
administrative action but also on the rights to equality and dignity and,
in some instances, freedom of movement and universal suffrage. This
article enquires into the possibility of taking the conduct of the
Department of Home Affairs, which arguably amounts to administrative
action, on judicial review seeking systemic relief. It will look at the
sexist and patriarchal social norms relied upon to justify the conduct of
the Department of Home Affairs and calls for intervening measures that
not only result in broader social recognition but also effectively
dismantle the systems and frameworks of inequality that continue to
marginalise and subjugate women in the socially constructed gender
hierarchy.

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Published

13-03-2023