According to The Independent more women than ever are keeping their maiden names! Because they’re feminists. They state:
[M]arried women in their 20s are far more likely to have kept their maiden name than women in their 60s. A third of married women in their 20s have kept their maiden name, according to a study by Facebook…a sign that the younger generation is increasingly embracing feminism.”
Pacific Standard begs to differ, and points out that:
What’s really going on in America is probably something much more prosaic. Feminism as a defined movement actually appears to be on the decline. Only 38 percent of women in the United States now consider themselves feminists. (In the United Kingdom it’s only 14 percent.) The reason for the name change refusal is likely tied to the fact that, over the last 50 years, the age at the time of the first marriage has increased drastically. Today, the average woman is 27 years old when she first gets married. In 1990, she was 23. In 1960, the average bride was only 20 years old.
The results of this should be unsurprising: Many women already have careers by the time they marry. They have college degrees or law partnerships and published work. It’s time-consuming and difficult for a woman to change all of the documents affiliated with such things and convince people from networks past and present to start calling her something else.
I think what might be overlooked is that the two are fairly connected. The reason women are able to have those jobs and prosper in many of them is because of the feminist movement.
In 1855 Lucy Stone insisted upon keeping her maiden name, claiming she wished to do so “because a person’s name is fundamental to his/her existence.” It still is, if you believe that your career constitutes a major part of your existence. In the 21st century I think we’re more and more likely to do that – especially in America where the first question you’ll generally be asked in conversation is, “What do you do?”
What’s new is that women now see that as being more important to who they are than who they happen to be in a romantic relationship with. We don’t work at jobs just until we get married and can become Mrs. So-and-so. We work and plan to continue working.
That’s a notion that’s been pretty strongly contributed to by the feminist movement. So while you may not identify as a feminist, if you want to keep working, value the work you’ve built up, and maybe also would like to be paid equally with your male co-workers, you do owe a lot to feminism.