Are Female Names a Hindrance in the Workplace?

Several days ago, a fascinating post by writer James Chartrand was published over at Copyblogger. In the post, James talks about starting out as a writer–the hard work, the low pay, the maltreatment–and about finally finding success.

And can you guess what the secret to that success was?

A man’s name.

That’s right–James is a woman. After struggling to make ends meet under her own name, she decided to try an experiment: write under the male name James. That slight alteration was all it took for her to finally get the respect (and money) she deserved.

Taking a man’s name opened up a new world. It helped me earn double and triple the income of my true name, with the same work and service.

No hassles. Higher acceptance. And gratifying respect for my talents and round-the-clock work ethic.

Business opportunities fell into my lap. People asked for my advice, and they thanked me for it, too.

Did I quit promoting my own name? Hell yeah.

It’s sad to think that a male name was the only thing preventing James from getting what she should have been getting all along.

Her experiences reminded me of a recent study of female lawyers that indicated those with masculine names earned more money and were more likely to be appointed to judgeships than those with feminine names.

If you’re a woman who works (or used to work), do you think having a man’s name could bring (or have brought) you more professional success? Why or why not?

4 thoughts on “Are Female Names a Hindrance in the Workplace?

  1. I think liking your name is important. It helps you project confidence and authority. In most fields, that’s far more important than whether you’re called James or Arabella.

  2. I took a look at that blog by “James” and noticed that it appears that she’s in the generation between the two mentioned in my blogpost, Generation X (those born roughly from the early 1960s to the early 1980s using the definitions from the generational authors I cite at my blog). From my perspective if you’re born in the 1980s or later the “glass ceiling” is much less of a factor (and in some cases the ceiling has reversed for today’s young men; note how more women than men are earning college degrees these days).

    Sorry for the second reply, but I didn’t read her blog until after I posted the first one.

  3. As a Wendy, I am always and forever linked with Peter Pan and the lost boys. In general Wendy is not short for anything and isn’t a cross over name. I will always have a little girls name.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like my name and it pairs nicely with my husbands decidedly masculine name of Donovan, but I will always be linked with the marketing of young Wendy’s (Casper, Peter, and Dave).

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