January 4th, 2017 has just become a historical date for both Mexico and for the rest of the world. Bárbara de Diego Zboralska was registered with the maternal last names of both her parents, José González de Diego and Alicia Vera Zboralska, after both guardians agreed that it was necessary to pay tribute to all women (who are the ones that carry their babies for nine months and give birth to them.) The couple used this move as a chance to promote gender equality in their community.
Mexico (and Latin America in general) holds an age-old tradition of placing the father’s paternal surname before the mother’s paternal surname, so normally, Bárbara’s name would’ve been Bárbara González Vera and would not have included any of her parent’s maternal surnames.
Many women have expressed their disagreement on not having their surname go first on their baby’s name, especially single moms: if the father is not actively present in the kid’s life, then why can’t the child’s mother’s surname come first instead of their father’s? The parents of the newly-born baby girl hope to encourage more families to follow their lead, as it is something simple to do that promotes gender equality and the change of a tradition that some believe is outdated.
“The parents of the newly-born baby girl hope to encourage more families to follow their lead, as it is something simple to do that promotes gender equality and the change of a tradition that some believe is outdated.”
A similar process took place in Mexico, in July of last year, when the first case of placing the mother’s paternal last name before the father’s paternal last name occurred. While this differs from Bárbara’s previously unheard of case, this process also represents similar themes of equality in Mexican culture.
Bárbara’s family hopes this inclusion of maternal surnames becomes more common and that people recognize that women and men should have the same rights when it comes to something as simple yet important as their child’s name. Hopefully, the trend will only grow more common as this new year of change approaches.