BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

The Name Game.

Posted by businesswom on December 1, 2010

As I sat at my usual study location doing what Gen Yers do best (multi-tasking due to my short attention span), I overheard a conversation about salutations for professional women – amidst my Facebooking and e-mailing and clicking between four internet tabs annnnnd eating lunch.

The woman speaking noted that women are often not given the courtesy of the appropriate salutations they have worked hard for.  She cited personal experience where women in the military were more often addressed as ma’am, and not as Colonel.  Whereas, their male counterparts received greetings using their hard-earned Colonel title all the time.  She also noted that a Senator had not been addressed by her title until she specifically requested such.  I’m not sure if she was a congressional or state Senator, I didn’t start eavesdropping early enough.  The men in her company skeptically asked her if she really thinks their salutation would have been different if they were men.

Having received a new title myself, doctor, this is something that caught my attention.  I personally don’t mind not being addressed as doctor, as long as I am respected like any other working woman should be.  Just don’t call me kid or assume you can pinch my cheeks just because I am young enough to be your daughter.  I plan to write the appropriate credentials of Ph.D. on my written correspondence, and I’m certainly not sure what to do if by some stretch of imagination I have to do a name change…marriage *gasp*.

Some women hyphenate, some give up their name completely, some keep their name for professional reasons, some create a hybrid name using their name and their husband’s (see:  Ms. Van der Heusen + Mr. Liverpool = Mr. & Mrs. Vanderpool).

How a woman is addressed, and how she chooses to identify herself certainly relates to her sense of desire for independence and empowerment in today’s society.  Is there a preferred standard?


One Response to “The Name Game.”

  1. gansie said

    first of all, congrats on earning your phd! woohoo!
    second, i’m a strong believer in choice. women should be able to choose their name and how they are addressed. but i cant lie, it still frustrates me that is the woman that is dealt this dilemma. how come it is still expected that the woman will change her name?

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