Men More Likely to Be Called by Surname Only

Board of champions.JPG

Multiple studies show that men are more likely than women to be referred to by only their last name, while women are referred to by their full name. We are likely to say "Trump" yet "Theresa May." The studies include references to politicians, teaching faculty, and scientific researchers.

The differences are most striking in the computer science field, in which only 20% of women but almost 50% of men were referred to by last name only.

Trouble comes when, as some of this research confirms, people view those referred to by only their last names as "more famous and eminent, a judgment that could result in more awards, funding, and other career benefits."

This research reminds me of a recent New York Times article that explained how Wimbledon lists women on its board of champions. Before marriage, Chris Evert was listed as "Miss C.M. Evert." After marriage, she became "Mrs. J.M. Lloyd." Announcers refer to "Mrs. Williams," yet Roger Federer is simply "Federer" and listed on the board as "R. Federer," married or not.

Board image source.


  • To what would you attribute the difference in how people are referred?
  • Have you observed this difference yourself, perhaps in other settings? Consider working environments and Hollywood, for example.
  • Do you find this research and the tennis calling significant? Why or why not?