Does Social Media Have A Glass Ceiling?

Glass ceiling

Is there a gender bias in the social media scene?

Eden Spodek recently put out a call for women involved in social media to speak up and be heard, and got some traction with it. Her point: “women in the social media space aren’t getting as much recognition as they should.”

Her post, along with a couple of conversations I’ve had recently, made me wonder if there is a bias towards men in this field. What’s more, I wonder if it goes further than recognition. Are women less likely to get invited to meet-ups, or to speak at events? Is this the reason why most so-called “A-listers” are men?

These are important questions to raise. It’s definitely still an issue in some older markets/communities – is it an issue in a new one like this?

Personally I’m not sure (before you jump all over me, remember: I said “I’m not sure”, not “I disagree”).

Social media is very technology-based and geeky. Men seem more likely to gravitate towards this kind of thing than women. That doesn’t mean there aren’t many many wonderful, intelligent women here. However, it may explain why there seem to be more men in this space. Assuming that’s true, the law of averages says that they (the majority) will get more of the attention overall than the women (the minority).

However, I’m obviously (hold the snarky quips, people…) not a woman. I haven’t experienced or witnessed anything approaching discrimination in my circle of contacts. As someone who hasn’t been on the receiving end, I’m probably less likely to spot it because I’m not actively looking for it.

The title of this post is a question for a reason.

Does social media have a glass ceiling, or is it the law of averages doing its thing?

What do you think?

Break the glass ceiling If there is gender discrimination going on here, let’s all work together to stamp it out. I’m not talking about over-the-top positive discrimination, I’m talking about giving people the recognition and respect they deserve.

Are you organizing an event? Have you invited everyone who you should have, regardless of their gender? Do you think of both guys and gals when thinking of people to link to? The list of opportunities to make a small difference is endless, regardless of your gender.

Time for a moment of inner reflection.

(photo credit: net_efekt)

  • I’d say in our little PR/marketing space, the field is pretty balanced. Kate Trgovac, Maggie Fox, Eden, Tamera Kremer are all on my Cdn go to list of blogs as any others. Good content trumps gender for me every time.

  • Dave Fleet, you rock!

    Thanks for continuing this discussion on your blog.

    I’m not looking for personal recognition. I’d like to see all barriers broken down in this space – not just gender barriers.

    There are several successful women. Maybe they approach things differently so they aren’t always as visible as some of their male counterparts. Regardless, they may not typically be the first who come to mind as you’ve pointed out in the last paragraph.

    Continuing the discussion and advocating inclusiveness will help effect change.

    David Jones,
    Thanks for the shout out. For other names I’d add to the list, check out the Women who Rock! on my blog roll. 😉

  • There might be something to the techy-male connection, Dave. It certainly fits the stereotype.

    To many people, social media is still very new and peculiar. As it becomes more accessible and widespread, there may be more of a balance that emerges. In the PR industry, women heavily dominate the field. One theory why is because women are more predisposed to language and communication skills. If that’s true, then it would follow that women would be more inclined to participate in social media as it involves these same skills.

    I always take comments about men and women being one way and not another with a grain of salt because there are always exceptions and, in the end, it’s most important to consider individuals for who they are and not based on their gender.

  • I’ve never experienced any discrimination that I’ve noticed, but I certainly notice that women are in the minority in podcasting, though many of the women who do podcast are non-techies.

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