Presentation Title

The Affiliation of a Maiden Name: Conflicts Surrounding Women's Choice of Whether to Keep Their Maiden Names or Not.

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 355

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

After marriage, it is traditional for a woman to change her last name. However, keeping one’s maiden name can give another person more valuable insight or information about the married woman, and preserve the woman’s identity. Those who keep their names are largely more educated, wealthier, and successful professionally than those who change them. Yet in contrast to these benefits, there are social stereotypes associated with a maiden name. If a woman does not change her last name, she is viewed as not being a good and loving wife as much as those who change their names. Keeping one’s maiden name suggests that she is independent, ambitious, and intelligent, but less caring. Our project tests these contrasting connotations and beliefs. We conducted two surveys featuring scenarios, one in which the wife keeps her maiden name and another in which she takes her husband’s last name. We provided participants with a description of a couple and asked them to answer questions regarding the couple’s occupations, personality traits, and lifestyle. Our results demonstrate that the wife who keeps her maiden name is more independent, educated, confident, and likely to contribute to the family income, whereas the wife who changes her last name is more dependent on her husband, caring, and tending not to contribute much to the family income. These results suggest that traditional marriage roles persist at least to some degree, meaning for at least some women that marriage roles may conflict with career motives, which further research should address.

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Nov 12th, 2:00 PM Nov 12th, 2:15 PM

The Affiliation of a Maiden Name: Conflicts Surrounding Women's Choice of Whether to Keep Their Maiden Names or Not.

HUB 355

After marriage, it is traditional for a woman to change her last name. However, keeping one’s maiden name can give another person more valuable insight or information about the married woman, and preserve the woman’s identity. Those who keep their names are largely more educated, wealthier, and successful professionally than those who change them. Yet in contrast to these benefits, there are social stereotypes associated with a maiden name. If a woman does not change her last name, she is viewed as not being a good and loving wife as much as those who change their names. Keeping one’s maiden name suggests that she is independent, ambitious, and intelligent, but less caring. Our project tests these contrasting connotations and beliefs. We conducted two surveys featuring scenarios, one in which the wife keeps her maiden name and another in which she takes her husband’s last name. We provided participants with a description of a couple and asked them to answer questions regarding the couple’s occupations, personality traits, and lifestyle. Our results demonstrate that the wife who keeps her maiden name is more independent, educated, confident, and likely to contribute to the family income, whereas the wife who changes her last name is more dependent on her husband, caring, and tending not to contribute much to the family income. These results suggest that traditional marriage roles persist at least to some degree, meaning for at least some women that marriage roles may conflict with career motives, which further research should address.