Embracing Identity: Why some Haitian women retain their maiden names and refuse to take their husbands names after marriage

In Haitian culture, a woman get married, she loses her last name and take her husband's last name. That's what we all know to be true. While the majority of Haitian women do adopt their husband's name after marriage, an increasing number of women are choosing to retain their maiden names or combine it with the last name of their husbands. This decision is creating problems in many relationships.

When Ertha Pascal married Ernst Trouillot, she kept her maiden name and became Ertha Pascal-Trouillot

Why would a woman take that route, to keep their maiden name and not take the last names of their husbands?

Haitian society is just now beginning to accept the fact that there are very strong and independent women within our ranks. These strong and powerful Haitian women always have been the cornerstone of our Haitian society but when it comes to relationship and marriage, Haitian men tend to favor submissive women who are more of a housewife rather than a strong partner.

Top 10 list of Strong and Empowering Women in Haitian History Top 10 list of Strong and Empowering Women in Haitian History

Around the time that my mother became a wife, Haitian women were treated more like a servant than a wife. Your job as a "good wife" was to cook, clean, wash clothes, take care of the kids and be available when your husband needs you.

Things have changed. Haitian men are trying to adapt but they are having a hard time.

Is my wife rejecting me as a husband?

The choice for a women to keep her maiden name is not a rejection of marital commitment but rather a reflection of evolving societal attitudes and individual empowerment.

Firstly, many women view their maiden names as integral parts of their identities, representing their family heritage, personal achievements, and cultural roots.

By keeping their maiden names, they honor the legacy of their ancestors and carry it forward into their new family, reinforcing the importance of preserving their individuality even within the context of marriage.

Try to get a Haitian man to accept that LOL... Good luck!

Secondly, the decision of a Haiian woman to maintain her maiden name can also be a professional consideration.

Haitian women have made significant strides in various fields, and their established names may be well-recognized within their careers. Changing their names could lead to confusion and a loss of professional connections, potentially impacting their advancement opportunities.

This is especially true for many successful Haitian-American women in the Diaspora and in other Haitian communities wound the world.

You went and got your law degree as Nicole Augustin, you want to keep practicing law as Nicole Augustin, the name written on your law degree. Is that so wrong?

Really guys, Haitian women have come a long way. When I was growing up in Hinche Haiti, almost every child birth certificate showed the Haitian father as a "cultivateur" (farmer) and the Haitian mother as a "couturière" (seamstress).

A couturière may not feel enough pride in carrying on her last name but the lawyer, and accomplished doctor or a high ranking political figure may want to do that because she's proud of her heritage, where she is from and the people who brought her into this world.

More Haitian women want equality these days

For many Haitian women, retaining their maiden names challenges traditional gender roles and expectations. It signals a departure from historical norms that have often placed women in subservient positions within marriage.

By keeping their names, these women assert their agency and challenge societal expectations, fostering a more egalitarian partnership with their spouses.

Do you have a wife or a servant?

I am not kidding when I say this but many Haitian men treat their wives like a servant. These men's idea of a good wife is nothing short of having a maid in the house. If you don't want to assume that role then you are not a typical Haitian wife.

Are Haitian men ready to be with a strong Haitian woman til death do us part?

Some women may choose not to change their names as a means of asserting their autonomy over their personal choices.

In a society where women's decisions are sometimes overshadowed by those of their male counterparts, this choice becomes an assertion of self-determination, demonstrating that women have the right to define their own identities on their terms.

The decision of a Haitian woman to retain her maiden name after marriage is a personal and multifaceted one. It is an affirmation of cultural heritage, a strategic professional choice, a challenge to traditional norms, and an assertion of individual autonomy.

Embracing one's identity, whether through a name or other means, is a crucial step towards empowering women and fostering a more inclusive and equal society.

As the years go by, we will build a stronger Haitian society. Within that society we will meet stronger Haitian women. This is not new to Haiti, It's always been a part of our Heritage and our path to build a nation.

This article was inspired by another article written in french on ayibopost.com

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Woody says...

Nan kilti Ayisyen depi yon fi marye li pèdi siyati jèn fi li, li pran siyati mari li.

Se konsa li te toujou ye.

Men se epòk lè tout gason atisyen te kiltivatè, tout fanm te koutiryèz.

Bagay yo chanje, anpil medam Ayisyèn fè non yo. Yo vini tounen gro profesyonel, e yo vle kontinye flote drapo siyati fanmi yo menm apre maryaj.

Eske sa ta dwe yon

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