WHATS IN A NAME?


Why is it that on any legal, government or employment document, a woman has to nominate her marital status? All forms have options for Miss, Mrs or Ms, but for a man there is only one choice, Mr! What possible difference should it make in 2017, if a woman is a Miss, Mrs or Ms, when there is apparently no need to know if a man is married, unmarried or divorced?

This is an antiquated and potentially discriminatory label and practice which needs to be brought into the 21 Century. What possible business is it of anybody, if a woman has chosen to avoid marriage and remain single (a Miss)? With the title come all kinds of connotations. One is that she is of a certain age, which surely brings up the potential for either age discrimination or judgement on a women's level of experience, (if they assume she is very young), or a person’s desirability or ability to find a suitable partner. The title Mrs, implies a certain stability and potential affluence, however is this in any way accurate? What if a lady was never married, but was Prime Minister of Australia, as was Julia Gillard. She is neither young, nor lacking in affluence, qualifications or work experience, so why was she addressed as Miss Gillard to world leaders? There is no such label applied to men.

If you are a man you are Mr, and that is apparently all anybody needs to know. If a woman applies for a loan and writes Miss or Ms, is she judged differently to a Mrs? If a woman applies for a job as a Mrs, do the recruiters automatically assume probable complications, for example with her partner’s jobs potentially influencing hers, or if their children’s needs may influence her potential to work?

A man can be a single dad, struggling with balancing a job with children and childcare or school. He may be struggling to pay his bills and extremely time poor, but to the world there is no indication, as he is a Mr regardless of his age or marital status! This is plainly unfair, unnecessary and potentially discriminatory. Our Australian laws make discrimination based on age, sex, or marital status unlawful, so this antiquated label has no need or place in today’s world.

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