Occasionally I like to have a bit of a rant and today is one of those days.
Why do people still refer to women who work in HR as HR ladies? What the hell is that about?
It makes women who work in HR look as though they are just some random people who just showed up and are doing basic work that anyone else could do but they choose not to, because who would want to THAT kind of work?
I have a bunch of qualifications to my name, earn a six figure salary and yet have still managed to get called the HR lady in organisations when someone is referring to how a policy may be developed or where a new person might go for assistance with their employment conditions.
Why doesn’t HR always get the respect it deserves in organisations? Are we, as HR professionals somehow responsible for this? Do we allow others to speak to us in an unprofessional way? Do we not believe we deserve a seat at the table like other professional staff?
Doesn’t the work we do support the whole organisation and aren’t we the first to see people in the organisation when things go wrong with their pay or their manager or a colleague? Hell yes!
You never hear other professionals such as scientists or engineers discussed like this – “just pop in and have a chat with the engineering or scientist ladies” – Yeah I don’t think so!
I’ve often taken the insult (and muttered under my breath) but I think it’s time to make a stand to stop being spoken to so unprofessionally.
How can you do this without creating a CLM (career limiting move)?
I like to use humour to diffuse my own anger and point out that I used to be married to a Lord but am no longer so can’t go by the title Lady anymore and pointing out my title is the HR Manager/ Officer/Coordinator or whatever.
I might actually tell them that “I’m no lady” and again reiterate my title
I have sent around reminders to staff about appropriate language in the workplace and used HR lady as an example
If I know the person well I might call them a (profession) girl/boy and let them know that I don’t like the term myself, do they?
If you’re a woman working in HR, I would love to know if this has happened to you and if you care or how you dealt with it?
Men in HR – what do you think?