Yet as women continued to get education, have careers, use birth control and marry later, the share of women keeping their names went in the opposite direction and shrank, to the surprise of social scientists and women who fought for the right in the 1970s.
“The pressure is huge,” said Laurie Scheuble, who teaches sociology at Penn State and studies marital naming. “This is the strongest gendered social norm that we enforce and expect.”
She said the resurgence in keeping names could be because women now go to college at higher rates than men, celebrities often keep their names and couples commonly live together before marriage.
“When they do get around to marrying, they’ve already lived in a household with two names, so maybe it seems normal to them,” Ms. Scheuble said.