“Can I complain for a minute?” she asked.
“Sure,” I answered. And I meant it.
One of the reasons I love my job is that I work in an environment of open doors and open ears. Most of us have ever-growing “to do” lists, are trying to meet multiple demands from multiple people and are always aware that we may have to drop everything in order to meet the needs of the people we serve. Despite that, or maybe because of it, we always make time for each other.
And so it was when the immigration attorney in the office next to mine needed to air her grievances.
And when she did, I understood.
She was recently listed in a professional directory with a Miss in front of her name. “There’s nothing to indicate that I have a law degree or that I passed the bar exam,” she sighed. “Basically, the only thing people know from this publication is what my job title is and that I’m single.”
I glanced through the directory noting that all of the women were listed as either Miss or Mrs. Since I’m neither (I’m married but didn’t take my husband’s last name), I had to question why, in this day and age, the terms are even needed. I’ve been married 21 years, have two children and have never once felt that my life would be better if people called me Mrs.
As we discussed the issue, a male colleague chimed in.
“I understand the need to differentiate between male and female,” he said. “There are women that have my first name, and I want people to know I’m a guy. But my wife and I have had this conversation on numerous occasions, and she thinks Ms. and Mr. are is all we need”
I’m with him (and his wife).
With all the advances women have made, I don’t understand why we often still address them based on marital status (or questionable marital status) while we address all men the same, regardless of marital status.
I know the distinction is probably a result of days when men were in charge and women (supposedly) embraced marriage as the ultimate achievement. But those days are over (except for extremists like the Duggar clan.) Women who want to take the traditional path of changing their last name when they marry can and should.
But women who are listed in a professional directory should have the assurance that people are much more interested in their qualifications than with their marital status.
Besides, I doubt anyone under the age of 50 (other than the Duggars) would even notice if the term Mrs. goes missing.