what your surname says about you (if you’re a woman)

This is kinda interesting. Something I wonder about a bit. New research says when a woman changes her surname when she gets married, or hyphenates it, she’s judged as more feminine, in the painfully stereotyped sense of the word.40674_1_468c

Surname-changers were seen as more dependent, less intelligent and less ambitious, according to the study by Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research in Holland. Participants were asked to judge a hypothetical woman based on five categories: caring, competent, dependent, intelligent, and emotional. When she used her own surname, she was branded with more “powerful” terms.

The worse bit? How it affects pay:

“These judgments affected the chance that a woman would be hired as well as the estimation of her salary: compared to a woman who kept her own name, she was less likely to be hired and her salary was estimated considerably lower”

…about 861 Euros/month lower.

I’d add this: It’s a disaster when it comes to your Google rankings.

In 2004, Katie Roiphe wrote about the history of the name change and notes that 90% of American women change their names. She made this point:

“Hyphenating is socially irresponsible as well as aesthetically disastrous: What happens when Julian Hesser-Friend marries Tessa Rosenfeld-Cassidy”?

I’d never change my name. Sarah Wilson is just too easy to spell. I can take it anywhere. No fuss, no tedious spelling-outs over the phone. When I have kids…I won”t hyphenate their names with my partner’s. That seems a bit silly – like an “equal” ownership thing. I’d choose the easiest to spell, or most pleasant to the ear.

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