Tag Archives: gender discrimination

Women’s Branding – Impact of Rebranding at Marriage, Divorce

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

Playwright, esthete, and bon vivant Oscar Wilde anticipated current attention to personal branding in his comment, “Names are everything.”

It is well-known that women who change their names at marriage are more difficult to find and connect to their pre-marriage professional accomplishments.
This is a “Brand Equity Risk,” and may result in reduced “personal brand value.

However, “rebranding” at marriage was prevalent among about 19,000 women who married in 2012, surveyed by TheKnot.com and www.WeddingChannel.com.
A significant majority – 86 percent – changed their birth names to their husband’s surname, with just 14% choosing another option such as:

  • Retaining their original name (<8%),
  • Hyphenating both partners’ last names (6%),
  • Creating a new surname, often from parts of each partner’s name.
Brian Powell

Brian Powell

Just three years before, Indiana University’s  Brian Powell and Laura Hamilton of University of California – Merced, found that that significantly fewer respondents – 71 percent of 815 survey participants – believed a woman should change her name at marriage, and half of those said it should be legally required.

Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton

This suggests that there is an increasing sentiment toward rebranding at marriage.

Richard Kopelman

Richard Kopelman

However, Baruch College’s Richard Kopelman, with  Rita Shea-Van Fossen of Ramapo College, Eletherios Paraskevas, Sacred Heart University’s Leanna Lawter, and David Prottas of Adelphi University, reported significantly decreasing incidence of women changing birth names at marriage from the 1990s to the 2000s. 

Claudia Goldin

Claudia Goldin

Likewise, Harvard’s  Claudia Goldin and Maria Shim, found a similar trend in their evaluation of  New York Times‘ marriage announcements, Massachusetts birth records, and Harvard alumni records: Fewer college-educated women kept their birth names in 2004 than in the 1970s and 1980s.

Maria Shim

Maria Shim

They noted that older brides and those who graduated from elite educational institutions were more likely to retain their original names, as were  those with occupations in arts, writing, and media.

Rita Shea-Van Fossen

Rita Shea-Van Fossen

Wayne State University’s Ernest Abel and Michael Kruger echoed Goldin and Shim’s finding that older brides are more likely to retain their original “brand.”

Ernest Abel

Ernest Abel

Women who married between ages 35 and 39 were six times more likely to keep their original names than women who married when they were 20 to 24 years old, reported Abel and Kruger in their analysis of 2575 wedding announcements in the New York Times.
They found that women who married in 2007–2008 were three times more likely to retain their birth names than those married in 1990–1991.

Stephanie Coontz

Stephanie Coontz

Diana Boxer

Diana Boxer

Stephanie Coontz of Evergreen College said that many of the women who changed their names in the 1970s did so as a counterpoint to marital inequality in obtaining credit, renting an apartment, and owning real property.
Other cross-cultural gender-specific identity practices were outlined by University of Florida’s Diana Boxer and Elena Gritsenko’s Women and surnames across cultures: reconstituting identity in marriage.

Education, age, religious affiliation, cultural traditions, and sentiment seem to over-ride typical advice for building a brand:  Repeated exposure to a consistent message over time.
Brand strategists who consider threats to corporate brand value could contribute to post-marriage rebranding decision-making by quantifying the potential long-term financial impact of women’s  nominal changes after marriage and marital dissolution.

-*What are the benefits to personal brand value of keeping or changing original names?

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Equal Pay Act’s Fiftieth Anniversary: Progress but no Parity

Equal Pay Act 1963

Equal Pay Act 1963

When U.S. President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women earned 59 cents for every $1 earned by a man.

Today women are up to 77 cents on the dollar, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Jacqueline Berrien.
She noted that the wage discrepancy is even larger for African American women and Latinas.

Jacqueline Berrien

Jacqueline Berrien

Women MBAs graduating from top U.S. business schools in 2012 fared slightly better than the national average, with 2012 Stanford alumnae earning just 79 cents for every $1 earned by a male grads, according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual surveys of 24,716 recent MBA graduates from each year’s top 30 U.S. business schools since 2002.
Given the substantial investment of time, money, and effort in obtaining these advanced degrees, women graduates may question this Return on Investment (ROI).

Women from the MBA classes of 2012 averaged 7.3 percent less than their male counterparts with average salaries of $105,059.
This wage disparity is more than triple the 2.2 percent gap women MBAs experienced in 2012 on average earnings of $83,404.

The survey considered pay differences by industries and found women lagged behind men in pay in eight of 11 sectors in 2012, including accounting, finance, marketing, and operations.
The gap has increased across industries since 2002, even in non-finance fields like information technology and entrepreneurship.

The largest pay differential was in highly-compensated financial fields like venture capital and private equity field, where women earned only 82.5¢ for every dollar men made — about 10 ¢ less on the dollar than in 2002.
In contrast, consulting offered the closest pay parity in 2012, with women earning 99¢ for every dollar of male classmates’ salaries.

Women earned more than men in three industries: human resources, non-profits, and investment banking.
The first two industries tend to attract more women and be lower-paid than other fields.

EEOCBerrien, of the EEOC, opined that with the current backsliding in parity progress, the gender pay gap is predicted to close in another 44 years, in 2057 — provided that there is no further deterioration of pay equity advancement.

CB Insights reported that in California from January-June 2010:CI Insights Founder Gender - 2010

  • 89 percent of series A and seed-funded companies had all male founders, compared with only 8 percent that had founders of both genders, and just 3 percent of businesses with all female founders
  • 82 percent of company founders were white, compared to 18 percent that were Asian or Pacific Islander

Equal Pay DayThe 2013 Silicon Valley Index, compiled by economic think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley found significant income disparities by race in addition to gender from 2009-2011:

  • African-American residents’ income dropped 18%, compared to a 4% decrease across the U.S.
  • Hispanic resident’ income decreased 5%, similar to the rest of California
Catherine Bracy

Catherine Bracy

Catherine Bracy observed that the average woman in Silicon Valley, California’s “economic powerhouse”, earns 49 cents for every dollar men make in Silicon Valley, when averaging incomes of African American and Hispanic women residents.

NerdWallet analyzed data from the U.S. Census for 366 metro areas to determine the lowest pay gaps for women in small, medium, and large cities, and concluded that on balance, Silicon Valley was one of the “best places for women to work.”

Wage discrepancy in one of the U.S.’s most economically viable areas, whether around the national average or well below, demonstrates that 50 years after the Equal Pay Act, the average female worker in the U.S. is far from earning an equal wage.

Happy Anniversary, Equal Pay Act of 1963, and Many Happy Returns of the day for at least 44 years, until women’s pay may be equal across industries and geographies.

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