From Iceland — Woman At Last Permitted To Name Herself 'Woman'

Woman At Last Permitted To Name Herself ‘Woman’

Published August 23, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Screenshot/Woman At War

Drawing to a close a legal battle that began some two years ago, an Icelandic woman was at last granted permission to give herself the middle name “Kona”, which literally means “woman” in Icelandic, RÚV reports. The name is now officially filed with the National Registry.

Elín Kona Eddudóttir first got the idea to submit the request for the middle name after reading a news story from 2019 about another woman trying to get the same middle name, but being rejected.

The grounds for the rejection, in the reasoning of the Naming Committee, was that it could potentially be damaging for a child to be given this name, and invite bullying. Interestingly, both Karl and Drengur, which mean “man” and “boy” respectively, are still considered perfectly valid names.

Elín applied for the middle name herself, but received a rejection on the grounds that the name would go against the Icelandic language system. She took the matter up with the Parliamentary Ombudsman, who concluded last May that the Naming Committee had not acted lawfully in rejecting this name. He requested the committee review the name again.

The committee began the review process on August 11th, after it was submitted on June 1st, and concluded over the weekend, ultimately approving the name.

Incidentally, Icelandic “middle names” are not middle names in the sense meant by most English speaking peoples; rather, in Iceland they are more like having a second given name. This is why you will often see and hear Icelanders refer to one another by their first and middle names, e.g. Anna Rakel or Jón Birgir.

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