Marital Name Change as a Window into Gender Attitudes

Citation:

Hamilton, Laura, Claudia Geist, and Brian Powell. 2011. “Marital Name Change as a Window into Gender Attitudes”. Gender & Society 25 (2) : 145–175.
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Abstract:

The need to revise scholars' approach to the measurement of gender attitudes — long dominated by the separate-spheres paradigm — is growing increasingly timely as women's share of the labor force approaches parity with men's. Recent years have seen revived interest in marital name change as a gendered practice with the potential to aid in this task; however, scholars have yet to test its effectiveness as one possible indicator of gender attitudes. In this article we present views toward marital name change as a potential window into contemporary gender attitudes and most centrally as an illustration of the types of measures that hold great potential for attitudinal research. Using quantitative analyses from a national survey, we show that views on name change reflect expected sociodemographic cleavages and are more strongly linked to a wide array of other gender-related attitudes than are views regarding gendered separate spheres — even net of sociodemographic factors. We then turn to interlinked qualitative data to illustrate three reasons why name-change measures so effectively capture broader beliefs about gender. We conclude by looking at what attitudes about name change can tell us about future directions for the conceptualization and measurement of gender attitudes.

Last updated on 04/18/2019