Women who take husband's surname may make less money

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      Dalhousie assistant professor of economics Marina Adshade is probably making some future brides wonder if they should take their husband's surname.

      Adshade, who teaches a course called "Sex and Love", suggested that women may be paying a financial price for doing this.

      In a recent blog post, she wrote:

      Taking her husband’s name at marriage suggests to potential employers that a woman is less intelligent, less ambitious, inclined to work fewer hours and more focused on family. Recent evidence suggests that women who make that choice can expect lower wages and fewer job offers as a result.

      This is despite a rising percentage of U.S. brides taking their husbands' surnames, she writes. Apparently, this is because some women believe that if they don't do this, it suggests a lack of commitment. (Tell that to former prime minister Joe Clark's wife Maureen McTeer, or former president Bill Clinton's wife, long known as Hillary Rodham, who stuck with their spouses through everything.)

      Adshade reports that women who don't take their husband's name are far more likely to be better educated. In case you're wondering, McTeer and Rodham Clinton are lawyers.

      Here are some of the stats that Adshade cited:

      For example, a US woman with a master’s degree is 2.8 times more likely to choose a non-traditional name after marriage than a woman who is educated at a lower level. A woman with a professional degree is 5 times more likely and a woman with a doctorate is 9.8 times more likely not to change her name than a woman with less than a bachelor degree.

      For these numbers, she relied on a study called "Women’s Marital Naming Choices in a Nationally Representative Sample", which appeared in the Journal of Family Issues last year.

      Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.




      Oct 1, 2011 at 12:25pm

      I don't believe that crap. I don't want to compete with my husband.
      I want to complement him and us. Taking his name is an honor. Women need to stop power struggling. its not us against them! No wonder marriages and couples can't seem to work as a team. They focus too much on self instead of togetherness. and most important making their unit strong. and Whos name do the children take??? a combination of both? give me a break!

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      Miss Representation

      Oct 1, 2011 at 12:41pm

      First of all, I'm not sure I believe in marriage, but if I did get married - how my husband's surname flowed with my first name would be a consideration. My first name and last name don't flow that well together right now so I'm open to other options but if this Marina Adshade person is a radical feminist academic I think the prudent thing to do is the opposite of what she says because they're notorious for 'creative fudging' with their stats.

      suck it

      Oct 1, 2011 at 2:33pm

      what a load of shit i'm sorry but to the person who wrote this maybe stop getting your info from the 1950's and get with the times.


      Oct 1, 2011 at 2:41pm

      I believe that if you're married it's best you share the same last name. It could be his, or hers, or made-up collaboratively, but let's keep it simple for Mr. Postman and your kids.

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      Oct 1, 2011 at 5:04pm

      Hahaha... what a load of hooha... It's not that taking the name makes you dumb and poor... Or that only the dumb or poor decide to change their names... It's that woman who have established careers before they are married, or at least are on their way to those careers, are already known. Changing their name after marriage may mean that they lose a bit of their reputation only because people don't know who they are. What a bother to have to reintroduce yourself and remind people of who you are.

      A lot of well-educated woman marry later in life and changing your name halfway through your life for no reason seems a bit ridiculous and may cause confusion. Simple as that.

      James G

      Oct 1, 2011 at 5:33pm

      If I took my same-sex partner's name, how much less money would I make. How many times zero equals less money?
      I have readily apparent Caucasian features, yet my surname would be Chinese. Could there be a disadvantage?

      Could this piece of fraudulent "research" be more evident? "Recent evidence suggests" ... oh yeah? name it, baby! Were you watching "Family Feud?" What did the survey say?

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      Oct 1, 2011 at 6:12pm

      If women who do not take their husband's name have, on average, higher educational levels, etc, is it all that surprising that they also have higher incomes? Without naming being the causative factor at all?


      Oct 1, 2011 at 6:13pm

      OMG. I cannot believe what I just read. Unless a woman gets married at her current job, how is a future employer to know whether she took her husband's last name? So, if a woman were to take his last name, is her current employer going to demote her after she changes her name?

      Am I missing something here?

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      Be a Man

      Oct 1, 2011 at 6:42pm

      This woman has her chicken and egg order mixed up. The fact is, women who have made a career for themselves before marriage may want to keep the names that have already been associated with their career. To say that employers care about (or even know about) marital naming is a load of crap. If there's a financial difference in those who change their name and those who don't, that was set in her personality and goals previous to a decision to change her name.

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      Karen C

      Oct 2, 2011 at 12:25pm

      If you people read the actual blog post from the professor, you will see that she cites 2 actual research studies to back up her claim - these studies look at how potential employers perceive potential applicants who have changed their names. The results of these studies do give me some cause for concern. I didn't change my name after marriage mostly because I didn't really see any point in doing so, but also because I already had a hunch about this issue, especially as a woman working in a male-dominated field.

      Gooding, Gretchen E. and Rose M. Kreider (2010). “Women’s Marital Naming Choices in a Nationally Representative Sample.” Journal of Family Issues 31(5): p.p. 681-701.
      Noordewier, Marret K.; Femke van Horen; Kirsten I. Ruys and Diederik A. Stapel (2010). “What's in a Name? 361.708 Euros: The Effects of Marital Name Change.” Basic and Applied Social Psychology 32(1): p.p. 17-25.