She tweeted after learning that the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail had changed its house style to only refer to medical doctors by their titles. Instead, academics would just be called by their surname and prefix such as Mr, Mrs or Ms.
The BBC style guide also has this rule and both organisations apply it to male and female academics.
“It is outrageous,” Fern told the BBC. “This is our expertise and people need to know when someone is an expert. I am a firm believer that any academic – whether male or female – should have their title used as that is their qualification. That’s what my tweet was about.”