Skip navigation

Women Bloggers: How Many and Why Aren’t There Enough?

Scobelizer recently pointed me to an interesting article from the Contra Costa Times asking why aren’t there more women on the A list of bloggers?

The Contra Costa article, “Call them equal opportunity bloggers”, explains that while there are more women bloggers than men bloggers, why are men the top among the “blogging celebs”?

There are no easy answers. But the plugged-in posse tends to agree: Blogging was invented mostly by men, so they defined how it’s done (posting blurbs with links to other blurbs versus other popular styles of blogging such as online journals).

When mainstream culture glommed onto the rise of this uncensored, outspoken citizen commentator as a new and powerful social force capable of influencing everything from rope lines to hem lines, blogging evolved from an outlet for pure self-expression into a golden opportunity for economic levitation.

And so the blog boom began. Name-brand celebrities and journalists soon overshadowed the no-names, who found it harder to compete for attention in this ever-expanding, free-for-all, tell-all universe.

Those who got there first were first in line to collect their 15 minutes of ink and air time. And, they’ve been racking those up like unlimited cell phone minutes ever since.

The article specifically cites the following reasons for why there are more men top bloggers than women:

  1. Men got there first and stayed.
  2. The search engine page ranking of winning by the most incoming links continues to weigh in heavily in the first-come-first-serve male bloggers side.
  3. The web reflects “reality” with the newspaper/magazine editorial world still mostly male, too.
  4. It’s a male dominated world. What do you expect?

Robert Scoble credits the low number of top notch women bloggers as:

  1. Lack of women directly involved in the business network of founding bloggers.
  2. Continued lack of involvement of women in the blogging industry at the higher levels for networking.
  3. Not enough women geeks and nerds.

These two aren’t the only ones talking about this. Washington Monthly’s Political Animal tackled the issue of why op-ed pages and top bloggers are dominated by men, concluded with “men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it.”

Surfette of Blogher also tackled this a year ago, starting a debate over why there aren’t more top women bloggers, asking the questions, “how do you want the world to learn about what you’re creating — if at all? Do you want to play by today’s rules or change the game?”

An interesting, and truthful, comment in the article mentioned how a lot of women bloggers are blogging “gender-free”, with no specifics as to their sex. Many people assume they are men, thus added to the “men’s list”. A lot of my readers on this blog assume I’m a man, as they do in most of my online experiences with chats, forums, and writing. Many are stunned to find out otherwise. It’s not a conscious decision, and it surprises me when they are surprised.

I’ve read many others who say that the reason women aren’t in the top bloggers A lists is because women tend to blog “emotionally”, writing more diary/journal blogs than focused editorial commentary and resource driven information.

Why Are There Not Enough Top Women Bloggers? They Got It Wrong

Still, I think they all have missed the mark.

It’s easy to blame the male dominated society, the good ole boys network, and the patriarchal society. The reality is that the majority of workers in the workforce, both in the United States, Canada, and most of the EU, are women. The reality is that women represent the majority of business owners.

According to the 1997 US Census, women-owned businesses totaled 5.4 million in the US. Women business owners employed 7.1 million people and generated USD $818.7 billion in receipts. According to research by the Center for Women’s Business Research (US), by 2004, there were an estimated 10.6 million privately-held women-owned businesses in the United States, representing over 50% of all privately-held companies, generating USD $2.46 trillion in sales. They employed 19.1 million people nationwide. The next US Census in 2007 is expected to reflect an even higher number of working and business-owning women.

Many women are highly entrepreneurial, starting home-based businesses they can do at home while raising their children, with some even turning those home businesses into multi-million dollar companies.

Where are all the women bloggers? Running a majority of all the businesses in the country, and working their asses off.

Women are raising children, running businesses, managing households, supporting male-owned businesses, and “doing all the dance steps backwards and in high heels”, to quote Ginger Rogers talking about dancing with Fred Astaire.

While blogging has become big business, and women are moving into the ranks of the blogging industry, it is still seen as a luxury and hobby. After all, who has all that time to sit around dreaming up babble to spew on a daily basis?

Women tend to be the supporters, encouragers, and motivators. They often take the jobs men don’t want, and they help each other along the way. Few women believe in stepping on heads along the way to the ivory tower, instead dragging their male and female co-workers along with them, slowing down their path to the tower. Many work in support and caring businesses, ranging from nurses to technical writers, keeping the business going with their careful eye towards detail and multi-tasking abilities. Even the businesses they own tend to be in some form of “helpful” service or products, not business for business-sake.

Women also tend to be highly socialized, but we aren’t very savvy when it comes to networking, tending to promote others better than ourselves. In this, Scoble and others are right. We’d rather be working our asses off on our work rather than hanging around conference and conventions. When we do attend, we’re often talking about how good the others are and self-deprecating our own high achievements. I have to admit that even I have done that, going the humble route while believing that my good works will naturally rise to the top to be noticed. We have to get past this and toot our own horns better.

Personally, I loved PoliPundit’s announcement that she is a female political blogger last year:

I just want to take this opportunity to point out that I am a woman. I know that Polipundit is a group blog and that I am the only female here, but my posts are linked to about as often as the other Polipundit bloggers’ posts are and we get decent traffic.

From that experience, I see no bias against female bloggers. I would even say that in the future, it could even be an advantage to be a female blogger because they are currently not quite as common as male bloggers are. We could enjoy something of a novelty factor, at least until we overtake the men. (Did I just write that? I may have just spoiled the secret conspiracy of blogging chicks to take over the blogosphere. Sorry, sister bloggers. ;-)

There are many top women bloggers out there. Most women are not too preoccupied with being on narcissistic, arbitrary lists. Though I did preen a bit thinking of myself as a “novelty blogger”.

I’d love to know what you think about the majority of bloggers as women, and the lack of women in the top blogger lists. Statistics show that there are more women bloggers out there than men, but less women bloggers on the “A List”. I’d also love to find out which blogs you read that you know are written by women. Do you read them because they are written by women? Or just because of what they say? Does the fact that a blogger is female make you more or less likely to read the blog? Is this something you consciously think about?

Why do you think there aren’t enough top women bloggers?

More Information


Site Search Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

7 Comments

  1. Posted May 29, 2006 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Great post Lorelle.

    My thoughts boil down to this:

    -There are as many women blogging as men
    -There are qualified and compentent women blogging about every topic under the sun

    However:

    -The tools to find blogs and measure their popularity, authority, relevance (name your adjective) suck. The one most people rely on only counts inbound links as its sole measure. This particular metric favors a particular style of blogging, and favors blogs that have been around a long time to cultivate that metric
    -There is no reliable tool for measuring traffic to blogs, so people use the sucky tools
    -In particular, media and corporate interests are naturally lazy, tending to rely on these sucky tools to find their resources and experts

    So.

    All of this only matters to a blogger if you are trying to leverage your blog to do things like: make money, get speaking, writing or cconsulting gigs, become a media go-to expert, get a book deal etc.

    Some of the more long-form essay blogs that are link-light are traffic- and comment-heavy…statistics that indicate that they’ve developed an active, large community around their writing. but many are off the “A-List” radar.

    I don’t believe most people *consciously* track the gender of bloggers they read and link to. But I would point this out:

    I know women bloggers who blog anonymously and gender-free, particularly in the tech and politics genres, for the express purpose of “being taken more seriously.” I don’t know any men who do the reverse.

    That’s not low female esteem, in most cases it’s a reaction to a lifetime of expereince with subtle marginalization and patronization. As Rebecca Blood said in the CC Times article: the blogosphere is just a microcosm of society at large. It’s not some utopian society :)

  2. Posted May 29, 2006 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    .Hi Lorelle,
    I found your inadvertently while trying to find the most searched for blog words. I may be an example of why there are not more women Blogger’s-or perhaps more correctly -identified and counted women bloggers. I will be 44 tomorrow and have no background in computer or technology of any kind. It is my limited understanding that those bloggers that do(yourself included) orbit in a Internet universe separate from the countless numbers of individuals like myself, who set up a blog with little or no information or understanding of the Blog world. I liken this to waking up in a foreign land, with no information, no language and know knowledge of the land I am in.

    Initially I had no idea there were millions of “others” out there and that there was a ways to find and connect to others with similar (or not) interests. The ability to do this turned into a wonderful experience of discovery that continues each day;however, I still am clueless to those like yourself and those bloggers like me and how we find each other and interact.
    My point being that perhaps this said conclusion of lack of “A- list” female bloggers is only correct in certain “blog circles” if you will.
    I must report that 99.9 percent of the hundreds of blog’s I interact with are all Female authored. At least 60% of these women are also running small businesses selling their individual hand made, and, or, artistic creations.
    I would like very much to continue conversing with you. Please come by and visit my blog, if you care to view the evolution of it. I do not have a side bar linking to all the blog’s I interact with because I never figured
    out how to add one.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Namaste,
    MB in JT
    visit me -> http://thedesertdaybyday.blogspot.com/

  3. Posted May 29, 2006 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Sarah
    Tyme White
    my friend from school

    I like these bloggers and they all happen to be women.

  4. Posted May 30, 2006 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I have been fortunate to assist some very creative women with their websites, and am interested in moving them towards being able to maintain/freshen information on their own…

    Nancy Holder is an author with over 60 books published ( http://www.nancyholder.com ) who is relatively new to the www scene and a bit unnerved by the idea of a clean-sweep ‘total’ change of her site, but I am working on her to switch over to WordPress. I hate the markup currently (based on some cheap-a$$ template), and she has no ability to post/manipulate because she ‘wants to be an author, not a web-designer’. I think the WordPress learning curve (compared to Dremweaver?) is minimal enough to get her into the ‘fray’ of blogging with the least toe-stubbing.

    River Huston, a circuit speaker and all-around hero of mine has a similar site currently ( http://www.riverhuston.com ) and asked for my help setting up a blog in addition to updating some of her current site. I ignorantly (would be better to start from scratch rather then add to old shaky code) threw up blosxom under a link and although it works, posting is a struggle for her. Not writing the post, mind you, just getting it into her blog. Once again, I am thinking WordPress, but wow does she have a lot of content (time-consuming?).

    Anita Wagenvoord is an artist into murals and faux finshes ( http://www.anitawagenvoord.com ). She can make her way around her Mac ok (all these women are on Mac’s, btw) but HTML/HTTP/CSS makes her eyes glaze over. However, with a system like WordPress there’s a chance her site could become a lot more interesting… She tells wonderful stories about working outside on murals and the people that approach her and I would love it if she could share these on her site…

    I think the gender ratio does have some connection to the accessibility factor. Especially with more mature women.

  5. Posted May 31, 2006 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Some of the difference may come down to a definition of success. I never paid attention to the technical details of how The Truth Laid Bear worked until recently, when an affiliation with a Blogburst pushed me higher on the food chain. Since then, I’ve been looking at the factors that lead to greater links, and it was rather surprising to me just how the system could be manipulated. I think it’s no coincidence that men are better at getting the attention. A lot of it has to do with keeping score. No matter how good you are, without the “stats”, you may be (unjustly) overlooked.

  6. Posted May 31, 2006 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle… came to this post via a link from Time Goes By…Elisa makes some very good points about the tools for finding blogs and their sucky nature–further, “authority” in these lists is often bestowed on those with the most links. If you’ve been blogging for 4 years, you will have more links than someone blogging one year. and alot of the folks who have been blogging that long are indeed men.

    Another aspect of this whole thing is that blogs are media–and as the CCTimes points out, newspaper/magazine business (media) is *dominated* by men. I currently work in “new media” as the editor of the Corante Media Hub. I read men all day, see men comment on one another’s blogs like crazy, but see very few women commenting, and very few of the men commenting back on women’s blogs–or even engaging women in conversation when women leave comments on their blogs. It’s not that women aren’t as smart, but it is, in part, that we aren’t necessarily into the kinds of kvetching that men get into.

    And it is *super hard* to break into that business network that Scoble talks about. It’s pretty insular, and a woman definitley has to speak geek to crack the ice–sometimes a feat not all that easy. I’ve often found myself at conferences, talking to geek-dudes, and finding that we use different words to describe the same things. Frustrating? Yes. They’re setting the standards and it often feels like, as a woman, I have to use a different language to speak with them.

    But things may change–lots of women are better at conversation and, after all, blogging *is* social (conversational) media :-)

  7. Posted June 3, 2006 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m new to blogging but I was inspired to begin by doing some research for a friend of mine who began her second blog called Purple Women http://purplewomenblog.blogspot.com/ a year ago. Most of the blogs I’ve encountered are written by women, and they are also several of them blogging anonymously on a range of subjects. I would agree that women seem reluctant to leave comments and I’m not sure why this is.

    As a woman blogger, who is also a full time business woman, I am less likely to want to spend time trying to figure out the technical aspects and wish that people could write them with a little more simplicity, or at least so that people can understand them rather that as if they are talking to geeks. And I have a technical background. It’s also true that women are often juggling many other things (in addition to working and raising families) and may well only be able to sit down in front of a computer after everything else has been done – it’s very easy for blogging to be relegated to a luxury. Time is a big factor – women seem to have less of it. I understand there is going to be a BlogHer conference coming up in California and one is planned for Toronto (BlogHer North) in the near future. So this is obviously a topic on the radar.


5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] MJ of the Desert Day by Day blog left an interesting comment on my article about women bloggers: I will be 44 tomorrow and have no background in computer or technology of any kind. It is my limited understanding that those bloggers that do(yourself included) orbit in a Internet universe separate from the countless numbers of individuals like myself, who set up a blog with little or no information or understanding of the Blog world. I liken this to waking up in a foreign land, with no information, no language and know knowledge of the land I am in. [...]

  2. [...] Lorelle commented about why there are fewer women blogging. I know some very creative women, one which even makes a living writing, yet 'blogging' seems such a foreign concept to them.  [...]

  3. [...] Women Bloggers: How Many and Why Aren’t There Enough?   [...]

  4. [...] cannot tell you the number of women bloggers, let alone the number of chilfree women bloggers. Even the experts don’t know. We do know that in the U.S., 42 percent of all women in the United States 15-44 [...]

  5. [...] Yet to quote Elisa Camahort from BlogHer in a discussion on Lorelle’s blog, [...]

Post a Comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,574 other followers

%d bloggers like this: