'A Different World': Women Compare Sexist Rules in 1990s to Victorian Era

A woman has taken to the internet to share her experience of working in an office in the 1990s, comparing it to the Victorian era.

Writing on the discussion-based site Mumsnet, an account by the name of StealthPolarBear created a post on September 8 stating she worked in a dentist's office when younger.

The woman, who is now in her forties, revealed that her role at the time involved: "Sending reminder letters out, printing the letters, and addressing the envelopes."

She explained: "The dental records didn't have titles on them so I asked what I should do.

"The response was if a woman's husband is also registered at the practice, she's a Mrs. So I did that.

"Mrs for those respectable married women, and using my teenage innovation I decided any where I was unsure would be 'Ms.'"

She then went on to add that this resulted in her getting "such a telling off. Apparently people complained as it looked like they were divorced.

"There are times when the 90s seem only yesterday, and times like remembering that when they seem to have more in common with the Victorian era than the present day!"

This opened up a discussion with more than 400 messages.

A user by the name of Tippexy responded: "Well to be fair, Ms was used for divorced people, and still is to this day! It's just that it's become a little more popular for non-divorced women now too."

FortunesFave revealed that she was also mistitled in the past, writing: "In 2004 and the midwives and nurses kept calling me "Mrs Fortune" and I said "I"m Miss Fortune" and one said "We say Mrs out of respect" and I said "Well please don't as I'm not married." 1950s! That was only 17 years ago."

Many others also decided to share their experience of the differing ways of 1990s work culture.

SueGeneris typed: "Similar age. Worked in one office in the late 90s where they did not yet have computers - only electronic typewriters.

"One job had the rule that women could not wear trousers in reception. I ignored that!"

Guineapigbridge shared: "In 1994 I took a typing class at school on a typewriter. By 1999 everything was computer based, but not necessarily online. By 2001, all online. Such a rapid change."

RainyDay2020 commented: "In my first Finance/cashiers job in the 90's processing piles and piles of cheques each week and mounds of coins from the car park machines. It's all card payment now. No computer at one site so everything was logged by pen and paper in a massive ledger.

"I remember being awestruck the first time I used email instead of a fax. And 'Ask Jeeves' search facility on the internet!"

CoastalSwimmer typed: "Also you were allowed to smoke at your desk after 5pm. Ladies were not allowed to wear trousers to work and tights were compulsory."

Woman in office
A stock image of women in an office in the 1990s. One mom has taken to the internet to compare working in an office at that time to the Victorian era. Getty Images