Is Sexism Holding Women Bloggers Back?


Many years ago when I was running events for several book stores, I saw a woman speak about the ways that men and women are different in the workplace. She spoke at length about how women simply put their nose to the grindstone and do the work, while men trumpet each step along the way, even if what they are trumpeting is just an average part of their work day. In other words, if a women responds to all her emails she says nothing until they are all done, if then, while a man shouts out, “Another one bites the dust!” with each email sent.

I immediately began applying the techniques she suggested in my own work. At the time I was partially working from home so it was hard for my bosses to know what I was doing. I’d been assuming that just doing a good job was enough, but they felt unhappy with not knowing details. So I started trumpeting every single step along the way, and lo and behold, their attitudes changed.

But recently, this report by the Catalyst shows that it’s really not about the differences between men and women. Women just don’t get the same opportunities men do no matter what.

A year or two ago, I met the blogger DadaRocks at a networking event in New York City, and I was struck by the way he was approaching blogging —- as a hardcore business from the get go. I was similarly impressed by Daddy Scratches, who was doing strategic advertising of his site from day one.

Of course I’ve met hundreds of women that blog that have that same smart and savvy business sense when it comes to making their sites succeed (I’m simply not one of them, hence my surprise at the dad bloggers’ tactics). But very few of us are able to really make a full living at this. This section of the Catalyst Report struck me:

Among the high potentials we studied, more than half of both women and men had adopted the full range of advancement strategies attributed to an ideal worker. Furthermore, half of those exemplifying an ideal worker were also including in their repertories external scanning activities—seeking advancement opportunities whether in their current organization or elsewhere. However, men benefited more than women when they adopted the proactive strategies of the proverbial ideal worker. Even when women used the same career advancement strategies—doing all the things they have been told will help them get ahead—they advanced less than their male counterparts and had slower pay growth.

There are a handful of industries out there where women dominate  (one of the biggest, interestingly enough, is the romance publishing industry) including the sphere of parenting blogging. In my experience, most of the individuals we work with — public relations and brand reps, publishers of group sites, etc — are also mostly women. But is it possible that the glass ceiling is preventing The Broad Side from becoming the next Daily Kos (this is just an example; I understand that Broad Side is very new)? Will women bloggers be as successful as their male counterparts in the long run?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this study and it’s impact on the blogging world. Do you think we’re exempt from the hiring standards of the rest of the world? Is it possible that the struggles we experience trying to make a living as bloggers are an issue of sexism, and not blogging itself? What do you think?