Accessability Links

What's in a name?

Posted by
02 Oct 2014

When I got married last year, I will admit that the biggestdecision I had to make was whether or not to change my name.

As an experienced 30-something events manager-cum-marketer,I had built my CV and my reputation on my name, with over a decade's experiencein four different businesses. I felt incredibly conflicted, and also concernedthat I'd be writing néeWarner for the foreseeable future!

I started to consider what my colleagues over the years haddone and whether or not it had impacted their careers. In almost all cases,they changed their name, and this included several senior level directors,board members and a chief executive.

There were a handful though who either kept their name orwent down the double barrelled route. When I asked them about their decision,their reasons were varied. One kept her name professionally - simply because itwas easier to spell! Another was of Italian heritage and loved her name toomuch to change it. Others thought the idea of taking their husbands name waswrong, old fashioned and that the pressure to do so was unfair and sexist.

According to a survey of married users on Facebook, twothirds of British women change their name when they marry, with women in theirtwenties the least likely to adopt their husband's name. This suggests to methat the next generation of women are embracing feminism and wanting to asserttheir independence whilst maintaining a traditional approach by choosing to marry.

I had to consider what it meant to me personally, as afeminist, it does seem somewhat archaic that when a woman marries it's assumedthat she will swop her father's name for her partners, however that is thecustom of English speaking countries.

In France, no one can change their name to anythingdifferent than what appears on their birth certificate, though many women doadopt their partners name unofficially. In Spain, children are given both theirparents surname, in the order that they choose, and this is passed along by thegenerations.

There has to be a system of some sort to identify us.

Ultimately, I changed my name. I'm not sure I'll ever feelentirely certain I made the right choice, I feel a pang of guilt every time Iread an article deriding women who do change their name, but my reasons fordoing so were my own. Since changing my name, I've joined a new business andreally no one would ever know that I was married (I am a 'Ms'), apart from thefact that I talk about my private life with my colleagues. None of our clients wouldknow, unless I told them. My former employers know that I'm married, because Iinvited people that work there to my wedding.

My marriage isn't a part of me at work - I starting learninghow to do my job long before I met my husband. But I don't want to be told thatI'm not a feminist for changing my name.

My principles are still the same - even if my name is not!

What do you think, did you decide to keep your name or change? Do you have a different name at work? Join the discussion and let us know...

Tagged In: Employment, Events
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