I'm wondering whether or not "office lady" is commonly used in English-speaking countries? Does it carry a derogatory sense or stereotype women's jobs like "pink-collar worker" does?

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    Well, it’s certainly of higher status than “bag lady”. :) – tchrist May 21 '12 at 19:41

This is the sort of term that varies a lot from one place to another, particularly in countries like (for instance) Malaysia or India where English is widely spoken but not usually the native language. It might be completely neutral in one place and derogatory in another.

For me (a native American English speaker), the term office lady has no special meaning. If I heard someone using it, I would understand it to be a nonce term, designating some lady in some office that someone wanted to refer to.

I can't speak for anyone in other English-speaking country, though, and I rather doubt that anyone can speak for all.

  • Yes, I guess that's a bit tricky...I wouldn't think office lady has a derogatory meaning personally either, but when I googled the phrase, it came back to me with a wikipedia page, where it is defined as "a female office worker in Japan who performs generally pink collar tasks such as serving tea and secretarial or clerical work." So it got me thinking...but thanks for your answer! It's very useful to me :) – vul3 May 21 '12 at 19:00
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    Same for UK. It does sound like a non-native term, and I would have guessed at Far East. I've never heard "pink-collar worker" either; that is a stereotype. – Andrew Leach May 21 '12 at 19:02
  • @AndrewLeach Thanks for the comment. :) If it sounds like a non-native term to you, what would be a better word to use in English that sounds more natural, if any? – vul3 May 21 '12 at 19:12
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    Oh, I’ve heard pink-collar work plenty to mean traditionally female (or at least, feminine) jobs. Hair stylist, secretary, manicurist, Avon lady — stuff like that. It also carries the connotation of low pay, and perhaps low education or social class. – tchrist May 21 '12 at 19:49

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