Czech women can have their father’s surname without -ova


Central Europe


Czech women will have a choice whether they keep their 'female name' that ends with -ova, or to get their father's name. Photo AFP, William West

A Czech woman can have the same surname as her father or husband. The parliament decided on Tuesday that the addition -ova is no longer necessary, media in the Czech Republic report.

In the second chamber of the parliament, the support was robust: 91 votes in favour, 33 against. The Senate still has to vote on it. The addition -ova is typical for Slavic languages. Mr Novak’s daughter gets the name Novakova. And Angela Merkel is referred to as Angela Merkelova.

This language structure is experienced as not woman-friendly at the present day since it stresses the female identity. Until now, it was complicated for a woman to change the name.

Former Justice Minister Helena Valkova brought the proposal forward. She said the current position was “an unjustified unequal position”, according to the BBC.

The leading linguist in the Czech Republic, former director of the Institute for the Czech language, Karel Oliva, still supports the traditional form. Other languages refer to “Miss Novakova”. “We say just Novakova, which means that we use fewer words”, Karel Oliva said in an interview in 2019.

Oliva said to the media that he expects that the impact will be limited. “On the base of the common sense of Czech women, I believe they won’t use this possibility.”

The parliament didn’t support the proposal to remove the sex from ID cards altogether.



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