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Do you ever find that you refer to clients differently based on their perceived gender?

(13 Posts)
LaContessaDiPlump Fri 06-May-16 09:48:55

Apologies if I've used the word gender wrong, I see people pulling each other up on here all the time over it and I'm still not sure whether it's 'right' or not. I'm using the Google definition of 'the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)', as I have no idea what's going on in the underpants of most of my clients and frankly don't care to! I'll happily go by whatever they present themselves as.

ANYWAY, after that preamble: do you find that you refer to equally qualified clients differently depending on whether you perceive them as male or female?

We deal with academic researchers in manuscript and congress material preparation, mostly by email so there's no 1:1 contact per se. I find that when discussing clients with my colleagues, I'll refer to Professor John Smith as Prof Smith (or Dr Smith) but will refer to Professor Jane Evans as simply Jane. This is independent of how much contact I've had with them or how I feel about them personally (some are lovely, some are arses as in all lines of work).

I've been doing this for several years and have only just realised blush it seems pretty normal for my workplace (which is gender-balanced and seems fully on board with women being intellectually equal to men, given the highly technical nature of the job we do).

I'm feeling like I need to have my Feminist badge rescinded blush must stop calling Prof Evans Jane if I'm not going to call Prof Smith John!!

deydododatdodontdeydo Fri 06-May-16 09:56:59

No, not at all. I also work with academics, professors and such.
I refer to them by first name mostly, especially if I know them well.
I'll use their title if I feel I need to be a bit more formal.
That's it, and I know a lot of female professors and senior lecturers.

SomeDyke Fri 06-May-16 11:57:18

I'll admit though, being in a male-dominated academic area, that I do notice females, and I think that perhaps, given a choice, I'd appoint a woman rather than a man, and I don't care (just don't tell our equality police, who seem more worried over providing gender-neutral toilets in every building than dealing with the fact that there are just FEWER womens loos overall than male ones, and those are only single or double cubicle ones compared to the palatial male loos with multiple cubicles and urinals. Now you see how I spend my evenings when the building is almost empty..........).

I also make an effort to interrupt and talk over the top of male professors whenever I get the chance. Plus opening doors for them and developing a very firm handshake......................

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 06-May-16 12:43:18

Well obviously I give the academics their proper titles in person Buffy, that's true! I just feel bad about the unconscious bias I show to male academics in private. In a funny way it's like 'she is a Prof but she's female and so she's like me and I can think of her as a normal person' but also 'he is a Prof and a creature of great learning who is beyond my ken' hmm grin

Clever older men as the keepers of learning - it's a powerful stereotype and we're only just now bashing it down.....

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fabngroovy Fri 06-May-16 13:12:58

I've been noticing a lot of 'Trump' vs 'Hilary' in radio interviews about the US election. Now I know there was another Clinton but this is in contexts where no one could mix them up, and where in any case 'Mrs Clinton' would do as a disambiguation if that was the concern.

I think the lower status of women means familiarity just seems more acceptable.

LaContessaDiPlump Fri 06-May-16 13:21:46

I think the lower status of women means familiarity just seems more acceptable.

I agree fabngroovy. I don't even consciously perceive women as lower in status but I seem to be letting my language reflect such an attitude.

CMOTDibbler Fri 06-May-16 13:33:27

No. I do use a higher honorative than I might use (or indeed an honorative at all) depending on their country of origin since it is very important in some countries. But I'm very conscious of how I address people due to the international complexities, and being a woman in a male dominated industry and specialism.

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Fri 06-May-16 23:21:47

I work with lots of police officers, very hierarchical structure where more senior officers are referred to either as Mr Belsornia or Ma'am Belsornia depending on their sex. I always use first names for men and women of all ranks, I like subverting their due order and emphasising my independence from it. The police service is still an incredibly sexist organisation, even the most senior women don't tend to have an issue with first names whereas some men obviously like a bit of deference.

bigolenerdy Sat 07-May-16 00:59:22

"...I've been noticing a lot of 'Trump' vs 'Hilary' in radio interviews about the US election...

...I think the lower status of women means familiarity just seems more acceptable...."

If you see how the canditates have crafted their campaign images, she has pretty much asked to be called 'Hillary'. Her logo, both now and back in 2008 vs 'Obama', is/was designed to focus on her as 'Hillary' because she is thought to have difficulty connecting personally with the voters. She doesn't possess the charisma employed by her husband and Barack Obama, and perhaps now Donald Trump. Framing herself as 'Hillary' is part of how she tries to address that.

sashh Sat 07-May-16 05:04:28


That might be so for Hilary Clinton, but it doesn't stop the point that generally lower status people are/were often called by their first name, or one given by their owner/employer.

almondpudding Sat 07-May-16 11:34:41

It is pretty well known that calling a group by their first names is about low status/lack of respect for that group, and people do not like it.

There was a campaign a while back to stop health care workers doing this to the elderly.

Hence when my Grandmother was dying all the doctors and nurses calling her Mrs Pudding.

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