These are the chronicles of Anna and her published works. A humble, hardworking and innovative lady is born in a dysfunctional family that is characterized by violence, alcohol and lack of tender, loving care from her folks and siblings. Amidst all the chaos and drama that engulfed her environment, she found a guardian angel in school who offered her a shoulder to cry on whenever she was stressed due to the strange happenings at home. This guardian angel came to her in form of her class teacher, who in her own right, had investigated and found that her home was not a safe haven for Anna. She Intervened and decided to take the matter to the authorities, which saw the young Anna being taken from her home and then on, made a permanent home with her aunty, who took care of her until she attained a law degree in one of the most prestigious universities in Africa.
Anna, well aware of her background decides to delve in deep research and write, exploring the home environment, trying to explore whether kids are being taken care of and whether the parents are fit. As a brilliant researcher and writer, she publishes many articles and papers on the topic. 2 years down the line she gets married to Joe, who insists that she needs to change her publication name by omitting her last surname and including the husband’s name. Owing her love and affection to Joe, she obliges, which spirals to her losing the credibility in the world of publications. Some of the works that she had penned down were considered not to be hers anymore because of her changed surname.
Anna is discouraged. She has tried to talk to her husband about the issue but the husband has given her an ultimatum that if she tries to revert back to her maiden name, she’ll get a divorce.
This is a dilemma that Anna and many like her are facing. A man’s name changes not even after getting hitched to his significant other. Should ladies, involved in academics, be forced to change their names in their publications as far as marriage is concerned? Aren’t ladies also allowed to be authority figures in their areas of specialization? Be that as it may, they say “it’s still a man’s world.”
This is an issue that is experienced by women in the academia but is seldom highlighted as an issue. There’s a solution. Take an example of Janet Mbugua, a journalist working for Citizen is a good example to follow. When she got married, she hyphenated her husband’s name after her two names. Every work that she has published is still acknowledged under her new name.
So that a situation like Anna’s does not arise in future, single ladies in higher learning institutions should be sensitized about this contentious issue of changing names. Advocacy should be championed by women who’ve made it in the publishing sphere of influence to encourage young ladies to continue to publish even after settling down with a partner. Hyphenation of a name after marriage is seldom known among the African women; hence the need to spread the word on the issue; especially among the young, African women.