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  • Writer's pictureSue

What's in a name?

Typist, Secretary, Admin Assistant, Personal Assistant, Virtual Assistant, Executive Assistant .........Yesterday was International Women's Day and the campaign this year was #BreakTheBias . So be honest, how many of you read those titles and immediately thought that these are roles for women?

Girl Friday is seldom heard these days, and using 'Boss Lady' often brings a string of strong opinions that focus on the fact that men wouldn't say 'Boss Man' so why do women feel the need to use 'Boss Lady'? Actually, for me, I do use BOSS Lady, but that's because my business is Business Office Support Services, hence BOSS. And it's easy for people to say to others, if they can't remember my name (!), that I'm 'the BOSS Lady', so it works for me.

Generations ago, there was a hierarchy within the secretarial world whereby the typist came in at entry level, maybe even into a typing pool (anyone remember Mad Men?) and the aim was to become a Personal Assistant - this was in the days when men had the idea, women typed them all up and presented them nicely. Well, those days have long gone, or have they?

I have a First Class BA Honours Degree - I don't put BA(Hons) after my name, but I could. So, sometimes I may be relaying a story about how we built our own house at the same time as I worked full time, brought up two children and did my degree. And I can tell you that even in this day and age and even though I've been running my business for more than seven years, I still occasionally get 'oh, I thought you just type stuff up'. Yes, I certainly do type stuff up....and a whole lot more.

So I'm all for #BreakTheBias - men and women type, men and women work in admin roles, men and women are Executive Assistants. So, it's not 'what's in the name' but 'who do you think of in these roles '. Consciously think of men and women in these roles, and #BreakTheBias.


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