July 21, 2024

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8 out of 10 women change their name after marriage—they might not realize the impact it has on their careers, work relationships and job prospects

2 min read

In the beginning, it’s a wobbly scribble on the front of a schoolbook, or called out in attendance. Later in life it’s displayed at the top of a CV, stamped on a driver’s license and—if you’re lucky—signed on the deed to a home.

But some people might change that moniker without a full appreciation of the impact the decision could have—for better or worse.

In the U.S., 80% of married women in opposite-sex relationships take their husband’s surname, according to a study from Pew Research published last year. It’s a trend which has showed little signs of fluctuating over the past couple of decades, though younger generations—those aged between 18 and and 49—were twice as likely as those aged 50+ to keep their original surname.

That being said, 73% of women under the age of 50 chose to take on their partner’s surname.

And for each who does, the decision is deeply personal—and often complicated by professional considerations—says Michael Bradicich, the owner of MissNowMrs.com, a service that has helped over 400,000 brides through the name-change process. While some people “jump in with both feet” and little consideration, Bradicich told Fortune, those who trade on their name often take a pause.

After all, “their name is part of their career.”

Unexpected consequences

Those who have decided to change their name—or perhaps separate their ‘professional’ and legal names—may come up against snags they never saw coming, experts told Fortune.

For example, women in academics struggle to collate their work between their maiden and married names—and they risk losing critical funding, opportunities or promotion as a result. Likewise, professionals who have gained certifications or licenses under a previous name must ensure paperwork is carried out swiftly in order to keep practicing, while those with a valuable digital footprint may lose an element of their personal brand.

There’s also reputation…

Eleanor Pringle

2024-06-22 06:00:00

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