Vol. 56 No. 4 (2008)
Research Article

Ethnicity and Women's Courtesy Titles: A Preliminary Report

Published 2008-12-01



Although numerous studies have been conducted on attitudes toward Ms. and patterns of Ms.-use since its popularization in the 1970s, few of these studies have examined ethnicity as a variable in its use. The present paper reports on a new online survey of women's courtesy titles and surname choices, focusing on the ethnicity of respondents as a predictor of their likelihood of addressing a woman with Ms. As the data include residents of both Canada and the United States, the label 'Black' is used rather than 'African American', and 'White' is then used in place of 'Caucasian', in order to have parallel ethnic labels. Preliminary results suggest a difference between Whites and Blacks in terms of likelihood of using Ms., with Blacks tending to prefer the more traditional titles Miss and Mrs. at a higher rate than Whites. However, because of uneven cell sizes and the under-representation of some ethnic groups, statistical results must be treated with caution until further data are available.


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