Novo – Blogs | Silvia Shavrath – The woman’s maiden name follows the man

Nouveau columnist Sylvia confronts the “computer says no” situation and discovers that bureaucratic gender bias is still rampant.

It is not only outdated, but also offensive to the bones: as a woman in the Netherlands, you are obliged to fill in the “Name of Birth” field in all kinds of official bodies: at the bank for a bank card, in the city hall for registration, transfer and even with a passport. Men don’t have to.

Could you become more sexist? Steam comes out of my ears, I feel it. I just got a phone call to a very nice and helpful lady from my bank so it’s definitely not her fault. It depends on why I called, and she and I can’t change it.

It’s about medieval and gender-biased rules in banks and government agencies in general and in i-DIN in particular. I’m still stubbornly registered there in my birth name. A name I intentionally and for good reason no longer use for years.

Completely outdated

This cannot be avoided due to outdated rules. Bank employees can do nothing about it. The software system tells them that it is a required domain. If it is not filled out, the system will refuse and the application for a bank card simply cannot be processed.

Other rules for women

This is also the case with IDIN: IDentify and login. Developed by banks, it aims to be able to easily, securely and everywhere login in the same way with government agencies, insurance companies and online stores. The system itself is really safe and works quite simply. In this sense it is definitely recommended.

The mistake is that it uses different guidelines for women than for men. Women are automatically registered with their birth name without being able to change it.

Even if “Partner Name Only” is registered in BRP (Basic Registration of Persons) when using the name. This isn’t a problem at all if that’s the name they’re using. However, countless women choose to use only the name of their marriage partner.

conscious choice

People consciously choose a particular family name. Everyone should be allowed and able to pursue their own feeling in this matter, because it is a personal consideration. But then everyone should also be given the opportunity to make this choice official.

Moreover, the rules are clearly incorrect:

  • Since the law changed in 1998, men can also take the registered husband/wife/partner title.
  • A man can take his wife’s surname and omit his birth name.
  • There are couples who take their name first, followed by her name, and he takes his name first, followed by her name.
  • Thus, there are women who take their husbands’ surname without adding their birth name.

In short: the rules and guidelines do not meet personal desires and do not comply with the law.

“what’s your son’s name?”

The word “family name” is a very permanent phenomenon. Have you ever heard a government employee, bank employee, or civil law notary ask a man, “What is your son’s name?”

Oh no? This is strange because everyone has a birth name. The term “maiden name” is simply too condescending and misogynistic.

Ministry of Justice and Security

Dutch women can only officially change their family name by submitting an application to the Ministry of Justice and Security. This involves a lot of hassles and circumstances, you depend on the judgment of third parties, moreover, it is often a step too far because the birth name really disappears. While 33% of marriages fail, that’s not necessarily helpful, because who knows, you might need that birth name again later.

Can someone explain this to me?

How can we women not have the right to determine for ourselves whether we are registered in one or two names, and that if you are registered in the BRP with the name of your choice, another system determines that this option is not valid?

And while this doesn’t affect a very large group of women, it’s about principle: equality as a starting point and that’s still wrong with the norm in many places. How sad is this?

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