Men, Women and Phone Support

Having worked in the IT field for 18 years I have had to make more than a few calls to technical support. These calls have been to a number of different companies, internet providers, hosting providers, software vendors, hardware vendors etc., a good cross section of support. I have noticed something as my transition has progressed, how I am treated has changed, not only with technical support but with telephone customer service generally.

Prior to and during my transition, before I started being heard as female I was generally taken seriously, listened to and, apart from the standard script of questions and things to try, treated like I knew what I was talking about. There were, of course, exceptions to this, but they were few and usually easy to overcome.


Since I started to be referred to as ‘ma’am’ instead of ‘sir’ as a first response on the phone I have noticed a difference in how I am treated. The tone, right from the start is more condescending, I can’t possibly know what I am talking about when it comes to technology. The worst example of this was when I was given a link and told, “put the link in the location bar of your browser.” I was already annoyed at that point in the call and that commment almost pushed me to losing my temper. As it was I said in a very icy tone, “I know how to use a web browser.” I never was told anything like that before my transition.


I understand that providing tech support can be stressful and that some people one helps need to have things described in detail, but that should not be thedefault assumption. Further, women do know how to use computers and many have skills that are well above average. Please do not treat us as children.

7 Replies to “Men, Women and Phone Support”

  1. I have been saying that women are not treated as respectfully as men for years and years….but then, I am just “an emotional man hating feminist bitch”….LOL

  2. You are right Talia, being female automatically seems to mean that we are incompetent when it comes to technology and many other fields.
    This is a global problem and we, as in you and me, are lucky to live in the western world, where women have more or less the same opportunities as men, *all* we need now is a radical change in how most men think, lol.

  3. Unfortunately that’s been the case for me for as long as I can remember. I think the worst is usually by car machanics, and doctors. Very frustrating.

  4. In person I find that I have two advantages: No boobs and a Look that would melt granite. On the phone, I might sound like a woman but I tend to talk like a guy. It helps, but I still get the “just a chick” treatment, though.

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