What's Behind The Decision To Keep Your Name Or Take Your Spouse's?

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If you're planning on getting married someday, have you decided whether you'll take your spouse's name or keep your own? Or will you adopt a hyphenated name? Or maybe some new combination hybrid name?

Whatever you decide, it's a subject that usually provokes a lot of conversation. And sometimes, even criticism and judgement. Leigh Ann Humphries, a Harvard Medical School student, found herself having this conversation with her female classmates a lot. And she decided to conduct a survey among her peers, asking what they planned to do if they they got married — keep their name or change it?

Nationally, about 20 percent of married women keep their maiden names. But Humphries' survey found that 65 percent of the single women in her Harvard Medical School class — the class of 2017 — planned to keep theirs. And she found the reasons behind their decisions were much more diverse that you might think.


Leigh Ann Humphries, Harvard Medical School student and author of "Dr. Maiden Name Will See You Now." She tweets @LeighAHumphries.

Meredith Goldstein, advice columnist and entertainment reporter for The Boston Globe. She's also author of "The Singles: A Novel." She tweets @MeredithGoldste.


Harvard Medical Student Review: Dr. Maiden Name Will See You Now

  • "Women doctors often decide whether to adopt a husband’s name after they have developed professional and personal identities with their maiden names. This article presents the results of a survey taken by women in the second-year class at Harvard Medical School regarding the use of their maiden names after marriage. Two nationally renowned doctors, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel and Dr. Ardis Hoven, also commented on the survey’s findings and discussed factors that influenced their personal decisions to 'keep' or 'change.'"

The Daily Beast: Retro Wedding Craze: Taking The Husband’s Name

  • "Exclusive data from Facebook show that young brides are increasingly likely to abandon their maiden names. Abby Haglage reports on why the trend has some feminists up in arms."

This segment aired on January 20, 2015.


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