It has been brought to my attention that there are no female web 2.0 bloggers or entrepreneurs in Australia. The 2Web guys were talking about it in one of their podcasts recently.
I know, I’m surprised too.
And I think we need to do something about it.
Of course, it’s complete rubbish to suggest that there aren’t smart, articulate women out there working in web 2.0 (or whatever other web-type label you feel more comfortable with). It seems, however, they generally do a pretty good job of hiding their lights under bushels (to make a vast generalisation).
Here are some smart women talking about this problem:
From what I’ve heard, engineering college grads are comprised of roughly the equivalent numbers of each gender. So, where do they go? Or are there oodles of women around who just aren’t profiled as publicly?… So, why aren’t there more women in technology? Or…to rephrase it…why aren’t there more prominent women in technology? Tara Hunt
From the folks at O’Reilly, these are the numbers from ETech: “We received 223 proposals, 15 of them from women, for 6% of the total. Of the women who submitted proposals, 46% were selected; for men, the acceptance rate was 32%.” ….At least for most of the O’Reilly conferences, the *only* thing stopping more women from being presenters is the lack of proposals from women. We should, and could, be doing more. Kathy Sierra in response to a Shelley Powers post (see comments)
… I have to say, there are very few women entrepreneurs, and we must do something about this. Women are naturally very good at the things this kind of work requires, and yet, we don’t do take it up very much. … women are afraid to sign up because they see other more accomplished people and find that intimidating, instead of realizing everyone starts without much and builds up (whatever: talks, experience, education.. it’s a process and there is nothing wrong with having less.. in fact, I think there is a huge opportunity there to show something new!)… if we don’t engage women, we are losing experience, perspective and opportunity to balance our products and make better experience. Mary Hodder
The issue even got a panel talking for an hour at the recent SXSW conference. (LiveBlogs from the Increasing Women’s Visibility session at SXSW this year are available from Dru Blood’s Blog, the Worker Bees Blog)
So, what to do.
I guess there are probably three main areas we need to think about:
Helping to promote great women bloggers
Encouraging women who *should* be blogging to get off their butts
Creating a network to grow attention within the network
I know there are plenty of women bloggers webrings, and there’s Blogher of course (which does great work) and others in a similar ilk out there. I haven’t come across one that focusses on 2.0 issues. Have you?
What say we get a bit of a list together? A way that we can quickly find top women writers that we can add to our RSS feeds lists etc. What say we find a way to get the message out to women when conferences are calling for submissions and encourage them to submit something? (Is this what Misbehaving does… kind of?)
Just some initial thoughts. I’d be interested in yours.
Assuming there are women out there, reading this. I think my comment ratio is about 90% male at the moment.
(not to discourage the blokes, of course. bring it on).
There’s been a bit of a discussion over on Leisa Reichelt’s new blog about where the women are hiding. I commented that I read stacks of women who are not hiding and Leisa asked for a list. So here it is, from top to bottom from my RSS reader: Creati…
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me