Going to the Chapel and I’m Going to Keep my Surname

More Women Keep Birth Surnames After MarriageNever since the 1970s have more women decided to keep their birth surnames after marriage. The New York Times reports in a piece titled, “Maiden Names, on the Rise Again:”

“Roughly 20 percent of women married in recent years have kept their names, according to a Google Consumer Survey conducted by The Upshot. (An additional 10 percent or so chose a third option, such as hyphenating their name or legally changing it while continuing to use their birth name professionally.) By comparison, about 17 percent of women who married for the first time in the 1970s kept their names, a number that fell to 14 percent in the more conservative 1980s before rising to 18 percent in the 1990s, the Google survey shows.”

As the average age of marriage in the United States increases, I believe many women decide to keep their birth surnames as a convenience. Their professional reputation, not to mention their social media and email handles, would become complicated by a name change. One friend of mine, Amanda, comments:

“I adopted my husband’s name when we got married eight years ago, but the change had its challenges. Gmail had been around long enough that my new name was already taken, and I had to get creative by using a nickname. On Facebook, I still include my maiden name in my profile so friends from high school or college can find me. If I had been more established in my career, the difficulties would have been even greater.”

Compare women’s attitude today with the 1970s woman who chose to keep her surname as a social or political statement. These Boomer women wanted to break free of traditional roles and asset their independence. As Stephanie Coontz says in the Times article:

“You had a militancy about it in the ’70s, a period when in many states, marriage was still legally defined as an unequal relationship,” said Stephanie Coontz, who teaches history and family studies at Evergreen State College and wrote “Marriage: A History.” “Many women are saying now: ‘This is not such a big deal to me. How you treat me and what you pay me is a huge deal to me.’ ”

It’s a sign of progress that women considering marriage now feel secure in their independence and free to make the choice to keep their birth name or change it based on their lifestyles and individual preferences.

When marketing to women, remember that women today feel free– free to be who they are and to have their own opinions. They aren’t tied down to cultural pressure to be either “a good girl” or “a good feminist.” Honor this new reality in your marketing to women efforts, and women will feel free to choose your brand!

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About Marti

To The Huffington Post, she’s “the High Priestess of Marketing to Women;” to TIME magazine, “the Chief Rabbi of the Sheconomy.” Renowned business guru Tom Peters calls her “the First Lady of Marketing to Women” and says she “is one of the best presenters, male or female, I’ve ever seen.” Marti Barletta shows you how to get more customers, make more money per customer and keep customers loyal longer - simply by getting smarter about women. Her first book, Marketing to Women, is available in 19 languages,” and her latest book, PrimeTime Women, focuses in on the market’s high-spending sweet spot - Boomer women in their mid-life prime – and shows marketers how to use this prime segment’s growth, size and buying power to propel their business for the next 20 years. As the go-to authority on marketing to women, women in leadership and women’s growing role in shaping the 21st century, Barletta has been quoted on CBS, ABC, MSNBC and NPR, as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, USA Today, Fast Company, TIME, Business Week, Inc., and many other publications worldwide. Ms. Barletta’s consulting clients have included Diageo, Ford, Kodak, Pfizer, Volvo Worldwide and others. A popular speaker internationally, she has enjoyed rave reviews on every continent except Antarctica, including in Australia, Chile, Dubai, Japan and Sweden. She has spoken for hundreds of companies, conferences and associations; and across dozens of industries, including consumer products, financial services, travel and tourism, retail and real estate development, to name a few. She is proud to say that numerous clients have booked her for return appearances. Her dynamic style, command of her subject and passion for her topic make her a popular speaker. Audiences love her practical tactics tailored to the interests of each audience, her lively style and sense of humor, and her memorable stories about men, women and marketing. Specialties:I show you how to attract more customers, keep them longer, and earn more money from every customer simply by getting smarter about today's mightiest market - women.

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