Alberta Fabbricotti

The Transmission of the Mother's Surname Under the CEDAW

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Family Law; Gender Discrimination; CEDAW; Right of Transmission of Family Name; ECHR; UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

This article investigates the scope and contents of CEDAW Art. 16, 1, g), which is the only provision within the international legal landscape to refer to the right to choose a family name. Originally, this provision was conceived by the drafters narrowly, to mean the freedom of the wife to keep her family (maiden) name in her personal and social life. The monitoring practice of the CmEDAW has subsequently widened the scope and contents of this provision, to cover the equal rights of the mother and of the father to pass their family name on their children. This article discusses the relevant practice of the CmEDAW, with particular focus on its interpretative mandate regarding individual communications. The transmission of the mother's surname on children has now emerged as a human right under the CEDAW and other international treaties on human rights. The ratio of this right is deeply-rooted in the principle of equality and non- discrimination between man and woman, husband and wife, father and mother. Although CEDAW Article 16, par. 1, g), is undisputedly the most appropriate legal tool giving ground to this right, the concrete application of this provision by the CmEDAW carries some main shortfalls.

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