Wednesday, February 21, 2007

To take, or not to take...

... my future husband's name. That is the question I've been toying with for some months now. Various thoughts, for and against, have been surfacing - the usual ones to do with identity, sexual politics and familiarity. If I take his name, I face the slightly daunting prospect of having to defend the decision to some very political friends - all of whom have kept the surnames they were born with (their fathers' names). Most likely they would consider such a decision to be politically incorrect. Others would think I'd be losing my hard-earned professional identity. It troubles me a little that people Googling me with a new name will find no record of my pre-married life: the conference papers, the small publication record, my professional life as a charity campaigner.

A recent Harvard University sudy suggested that the proportion of educated professional women choosing to take their husbands' surname is on the rise. I've built an academic and charity sector career with the name of my father. Now, for the first time, I've moved into the corporate sector and am starting over. A new name is exciting to me - it not only denotes a change, a commitment to another person, a new life as part of a loving unit... but a whole new phase in my professional life too. My old name will be forever associated with academia. My new name will now be associated with my new life in the corporate world.

It's terribly exciting - this chance to both be myself and another. To renew myself. And, hey, I'm taking that most traditional step and getting married - from there it's not much of a leap to change my name too.

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