Work Hard

North East women share how their accents have affected them at work

A survey has shown 46% of workers have been taunted about their accents, with those with northern accents being more likely to worry about the way they speak.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 01.02.2023

Almost half of UK workers have had their accents mocked, criticised or singled out in a social setting, a survey suggests.

Researchers found 46% of workers have been taunted about their accents, with 25% reporting jokes at work.

But what stood out to us is that those with northern accents are more likely to worry about the way they speak.

So, we’ve asked six women from the North East about their experiences of having a northern accent and if they feel like it’s impacted them at work…

Dr Julie Scanlon

Julie Scanlon Consultancy 

I had my accent mocked when I was a postgraduate and teaching alongside. It really doesn’t help when you’re already feeling like an imposter because of class background

 

JoJo Kirtley

Artistic Director, Writer & Producer at Workie Ticket Theatre.

All my life. Even now, I’ve been ignored, silenced and mocked but also underestimated so the jokes on everyone who thinks they’re better’

 

Rie Pearson

Founder of Be Kind. No Excuses CIC

‘I’ve never felt held back, but British people who aren’t Geordies nearly always comment on my accent. It’s almost like they have an idea that where you’re from makes a difference. About 20-25 years ago certainly by some Londoners who thought Newcastle was beyond civilization. I look back and see a dose of misogyny weaved into their direct criticism.’

Julie Pichler

Registered Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach

‘Thankfully it is the polar opposite now where the Geordie accent is often complimented and I have never tried to tone it down, only to make myself clear, as we can have a tendency to talk fast’

 

Sharon Cawthorne

Advanced Consultant at Feng Shui 2 Energize 

‘Having a northern accent in the UK definitely plays a disadvantage. However, my worldwide clients absolutely love it.’

 

Josie Mason

Journalist

‘During my training, I had to travel to London. Every time I spoke in a seminar, I had to repeat myself due to people not being able to understand my accent. As a Geordies I know we do talk fast but asking to repeat something more than three times felt very degrading and made me less confident to speak up.’

Other stories by Rachael Nichol
Durham High School for Girls
17.02.2024

How Durham High School is inspiring lifelong devotion to music and performing arts

Rachael Nichol
Dame Allan's Schools
31.01.2024

How Dame Allan’s Schools is encouraging more girls to get into sport and get outdoors

Rachael Nichol
Baltic co-working space
24.01.2024

Introducing Gateshead’s newest creative workspace that’s set to inspire

Rachael Nichol
Northumbria Police
20.01.2024

Behind the badge: A day in the life of a Special Constable at Northumbria Police

Rachael Nichol
Northumbria Police
06.01.2024

Unleash your potential: Become a Special Constable with Northumbria Police

Rachael Nichol
Dame Allans Schools
16.12.2023

Embracing the season of giving: Dame Allan’s Schools spread cheer this Christmas

Rachael Nichol