The Great IM Gender Debate

The gender debate in the IM industry has been a hot topic lately. This is not the first time it has been brought up, but the issue is certainly gaining steam. My stance on this topic may surprise you, then again it may not.

Over the years I have done a pretty good job of ducking it altogether, even when thrown into the hot seat on more than one occasion...

My position is simple - I dont really have an opinion on the "gender war", except that I dont particularly like it. In fact, I cringe every time it gets brought up.

I am probably the last person to notice, much less point out, if all of the speakers at any given event are male - or if I happen to be the only female at the table.

This was the case at the most recent StomperNet event, for example. Dan Thies, Dave Taylor and Sherman Hu came through the lobby on their way to breakfast and invited me to join them. While the four of us were having breakfast together, being female was the last thing on my mind. The conversation was about the event, and about business in general.

I honestly dont think it would have mattered to them if it was Lynn Terry or Don Crowther that they ran into in the lobby that day. They would have stopped and said "join us!" with a smile either way. That's just the kind of people they are. No need to mix a fem in for the sake of making a point, but rather treating me as they would anyone else they happen to know.

I dont think this example would have even come to mind, except for the recent talk accusing StomperNet of being "sexist". Having attended two of their events this year myself, I have to strongly disagree.

Regardless of current appearances (which are just that), this is a group that has extended great hospitality to me, without recognition of my gender - but with respect to my obvious track record in the industry.

If anything, I have noticed that men are much more likely to have an open door policy than are women. You simply do not see the male equivalent of BlogHER, WAHM.com or similar events & sites. At least not on that scale.

I certainly dont have anything against sites, events or communities that are hosted by women - for women. In fact, I am speaking at one such event later this month.

At the same time, you wont find me berating men for their choice of company either. You wont find me leaning towards one camp or the other. My focus has always been on my own goals, and I succeed by my own definition of success. You'll usually find me in the company of people with similar values, regardless of their gender.

The one thing I dont tolerate or participate in is any notion of disrespect. I like to consider myself open-minded, though I am aware of the fact that I am only as open-minded as I am educated about any given topic or situation.

There are plenty of men in our generation who have strong family values, and plenty of women who are very aggressive and successful marketers. And there are plenty of people who achieve both (like myself).

But I also believe that there is a very natural divide between genders that can be appreciated and respected... and (dare I say it?)... leveraged.

Instead of trying to battle the differences, I think our industry would do well to embrace them. Women could do well by aligning themselves with their male counterparts, as would men by realizing and leveraging the natural strengths of female marketers.

I'm not suggesting that there are "gender roles" in our industry, or that there should be. Simply that you can gain more by leverage than by force.

Quite honestly, this concept of leverage works regardless of gender. It does not require a certain combination of chromosomes, but rather the very specific ingredients of: mutual respect, mutual interest and mutual objective.

What concerns me the most is that the gender uproar will cause forced change, instead of natural alignment. That companies and community leaders will feel pressured to select "token females" instead of being given the time & opportunity for natural growth in that direction.

Or on the flipside, that a male-dominated company who chooses to bring on female partners or speakers will be applauded for their choice in bringing on a female - with zero recognition for the actual reason that person was selected. Meaning skills will be invisible next to gender.

Up to this point in my career, the opportunities handed to me have been based on my track record of success in certain areas. I prefer to keep it that way.

Unfortunately (IMO) I hear many voices in this "debate" chanting for equality, or for a female face just for the sake of assumed equality. I would venture to guess that this makes men and women alike who are in a position to initiate this change very uncomfortable. I know it does me.

Consider these two scenarios, and which would be more likely to initiate positive change:

F: Why dont you have (more) women on stage at this event?
M: (knows there is no right answer here, was put in defensive position)

F: This was such an incredible event! I learned a lot during the sessions. I've actually been following "F" online for a couple of years now and you might consider having her speak at your next event too - she is a fabulous presenter with a very unique presentation.
M: Excellent! Do you have her website address? I'd love to check that out and bring it to the board for consideration.

Its all about copywriting - even with the spoken word. Unless you just enjoy watching the opposite sex squirm, consider ways that you can help initiate positive change. Stirring the pot just for the sake of making a point doesnt help matters. It makes them worse.

Ultimately we all have an obligation to ourself and our business to make choices that are in line with our objectives. Forget politically correct, or gender debates, or any other outside influence - I am going to work with the people that are in line with my goals. Period.

I dont choose a designer based on gender. I choose them based on their skills. This is how I prefer to be considered in any given situation too, of course.

That said, I go back to my earlier point on leverage and offer you this thought: We each have our own personal strengths and weaknesses. Doesnt it make more sense to accept and respect those, and then strategically align ourselves with people who complement our objective?

I think so.

Best,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Lynn, that's a damn good post!

  2. Lynn -

    Having been one of the people involved in a recent "Twitter" discussion about this - I can now look back and say I did not have all the details are facts relevant to engage in such a conversation.

    Fortunately, we were able to agree that people should be recognized as people - for their accomplishments regardless of race, gender, religion, etc...

    It seems that there is a sector of our world who will NOT be happy unless we are all thrown in to very precise and carefully managed categories.

    I for one look at differences and recognize them for what they are - and quickly move past to recognize value and uniqueness.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Rory

  3. Very well said Lynn. You have written my thoughts verbatim as if I wrote them myself. When will you publish a book with your thoughts as the world needs to hear what you have to say. Thanks for contributing this to the world...it needs to hear you.

  4. Quote: "Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, "She doesn't have what it takes." They will say, "Women don't have what it takes." ~Clare Boothe Luce"

    Unfortunately, we are still in a world where we have to make unusual efforts to succeed, because of our gender, ethnicity, location or religion.

    The lesson I learned, "Nobody gives you power, You just take it" and you proved with your success story.

    Thx for another amazing post.

  5. Thank you for the quote, Shri. I had mixed feelings on it initially, but did some reading and really enjoyed learning more about Clare Booth Luce.

    I am grateful to the women in generations before ours that brought us (all) where we are today. I think that our history (our=human race) should be highly regarded in any choices that we make going forward.

  6. For those interested in the topic, thoughts by other women in the industry include:

    Lisa Hartwell: "Good Girls Revisited"
    http://imgeekgirl.com/female-internet-marketers

    Donna Fox: "100 Top Internet Marketers Exposed"
    http://www.whyshebuys.com/blog/inside-green-room-100-top-internet-marketers-exposed/

    If you know of a link on this topic, feel free to share it here as well. I'm not aware of any blog posts or talks on this topic by men in our industry but would certainly welcome their views on the issue as well.

  7. Dan Reinhold says:

    I just don't get it.

    Personally, I've learned more from women online than from men.

    Most recently, when I approached people to request product contributions for my annual autism fundraiser, women were overwhelmingly the quickest and most generous.

    One female even OFFFERED a spot in an expensive comprehensive Internet marketing bootcamp she hosts in response to my initial inquiry. I wouldn't even have thought to ask for something like that.

    The "email offer bombarders" flooding my inbox are predominantly male. Yet those with whom I have the most open and immediate communication? Female.

    I did once attempt, indeed was invited, to join a group comprised of female entrepreneurs. There was an honest-to-goodness outcry over my presense, and I hadn't done or said anything yet!

    I don't think in terms of sex where online business is concerned. It can't possibly be beneficial to me. I can't understand anyone feeling differently.

    Don't we all have something to offer one another?

  8. Interesting points, Dan. Again making it obvious that we could all leverage the individual strengths for a greater impact on our industry, and for greater personal success.

  9. Thanks for the link back to my blog post, Lynn.

    I wholeheartedly agree that it should always come down to talent and not sex. Women through the ages have fought the gender battle for us, and while it is clear that the balance isn't even between men and women in this industry (at least not visibly) this is probably less about sexism and more about personal goals and priorities.

    I would definitely like to see more female mentors in this field. I think there are a number of women who deserve a high profile in IM, but I prefer your approach to the situation of recommending those you respect to others rather than putting someone on the spot and seeing them squirm.

    Lisa

  10. Its the only appropriate approach, in my opinion.

    As for the women who "deserve a high profile in IM" - it's worth noting that it is not a goal, or even a desire, for a certain number of those women. Many people start a home-based business so that they can stay at home full-time (for whatever reason), while others are interested in the exposure and networking potential of speaking and traveling.

    For any woman (or man, for that matter) that wants to break into the IM circle and speak at industry events - the opportunity is there. Its simply knowing the criteria, putting yourself in that position, and making it happen.

  11. Deb Gallardo says:

    Not sure I want to dip my toes into this hot water, but what the hay? I've got 2 cents to spare...

    I must admit that the copywriting comment in reference to what we might say to an event organizer when there are no women on stage hit home. I could very well have been the person wanting to know why there weren't any women up there. And quite frankly, I believe it's a valid question.

    So why, then, is it the women who must couch their questions politically in order to manipulate the situation? Certainly when anyone M/F has a pointed comment, it's best to start with the positive. That's a time-honored technique. When you have a criticism, say something positive first.

    But with the number of successful female marketers growing, there IS NO EXCUSE for having zero women or merely a token woman in a sea of male faces on an IM stage.

    From where I sit, what I see is inner circles. And it's so often "same old/same old." Sometimes I think IM is one big inbred group. That's a gross over-generalization, but there is still a LOT of truth to it.

    An objection that some might raise about the caliber of women speakers is actually a Catch-22. The fewer the opportunities for women to grow their presentation skills at big events, the less they will be able to measure up to their male counterparts due to lack of sheer experience AND exposure.

    And a corollary to this is, fewer women can excel, therefore, in the highly-competitive seminar/event marketplace. No wonder so many women don't bother even trying to compete in a testosterone atmosphere, but align themselves with other women.

    And make no mistake. The amount of testosterone at so many events could change your gender (LOL) or at the very least give you a lot more facial hair. The rampant in-your-face, "if you can't take it then you might as well walk out the door right now" bullying is NOT something women do. Or if they do, shame on them! It's a macho. It's abusive. It's pure Alpha male posturing. It's a way of dominating. And don't even get me started on the "I'm richer, my house is bigger, my boat is bigger" issue. The whole "my ___ is bigger than yours" is so Y-chromosome that it would be laughable if it weren't so prevalent.

    It's not ALL male marketers who do this. Thank goodness, or we wouldn't have ANY women in IM, I'd venture to say, because it's a huge turn-off.

    BUT! Look at how many product names include destructive or warlike terms. Stomp, dominate, destroy, annihilator, detonator -- and these are just ones off the top of my head. It's a guy thing.

    I for one would hate to think that the "leverage" you mentioned is just another age-old way of wheedling what we want from men by using feminine wiles. [shudders with revulsion]

    I have to be true to who I am, no matter what I do, whether in business or in any other area of my life. PART of what I am is a woman. Another part is a human being, at least I hope it is - last I looked anyway. My point is, I operate out of the totality of who I am. That means I am thrilled when I see women succeed and I'm unapologetic about it.

    As a child of the sixties and the civil rights movement, I am thrilled that we have "minority" representation on both tickets in today's presidential election. (And that's ALL I'll say on politics.)

    It sounds great to say, "I don't see gender, race, politics, religion, age, weight, etc." But the truth is, we DO see it. And if we didn't see it, we'd be blind. It's not the seeing that's the issue. It's how we treat one another that is.

    Frankly, I want to be accepted as 'ME' which includes the fact that I am a woman. And I wouldn't be the same 'ME' if I were NOT a woman. My daughter's father (how's that for avoiding the "ex" word?) is Hispanic. To say that I don't see that is silly. It's a part of who he is -- an important part -- and what makes him uniquely as he is.

    The problem lies here: If ALL we see is gender; if ALL we see is race; if ALL we see is politics; if ALL we see is religion; if ALL we see is weight; if ALL we see is age, then we have a distorted view of any individual we encounter, especially if we make assumptions based on what we see or know.

    We can't filter out part of what a person is and make a fair assessment of him/her as an individual. I AM a woman. I AM Heinz 57 varieties ethnically. I AM a moderate who has no party affiliation. I AM a regenerated Christian believer. I AM divorced and still recovering from that. I AM financially strapped and one breath away from being homeless (do pray for my mother to live a long, healthy life...). I AM someone who MUST be creative. I AM a singer and actress. I AM a writer. The list goes on and on.

    Some of these things strongly help to define who I am. Others not so much. But when you get 'ME' you get the whole package. So if you don't see that I'm female, then you don't see 'ME'. I'm not just female on the outside. I'm female on the inside, too. My ex-husband (there, I said it) is just as Hispanic on the inside as he is on the outside.

    Murphy Brown had a segment on this subject years ago when a new executive on their station who was black had a rather heated conversation with her for this very reason. He said something like this (I'm paraphrasing from memory here, so please cut me some slack), "I AM black. And that defines a huge part of who I am. So if you say you don't care that I'm black, then you don't care about me."

    What people miss is that "tolerance" is not "acceptance." If you accept me, then you have to accept all of me, the good and the bad. Otherwise, you're just tolerating me. Tolerance has limits. I'm not sure acceptance has any limits.

    It's the old like/love difference. We like someone "because." We love someone "although."

    Personally I'd rather be loved.

    You might like me because I'm a woman, because you happen to like women. You might like me because I'm a Baby Boomer, because you dig Boomers. You might DISlike me because I'm overweight, because you're disgusted by obese people. You might dislike me because I'm a Christian, because you believe Christians are all crazy. You might dislike me because I'm an American, because you believe we are all evil, fat, rich and stupid.

    But when we love someone, we must accept the totality of that person. My point, however, is not about love, but rather about acceptance. And I'm not advocating some goody-goody "let's all love one another" movement. It didn't work in the sixties. ("I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony..." or "Come on, people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together now and love one another right now.")

    I strongly agree that our differences are what make us stronger, as long as we don't let those differences divide us. To co-exist, we have be balanced.

    And, in a way, Lynn, I think that's what you're calling for - a balanced view. But that will only happen when the major players (who are mostly male in this case) buy into that balance. I'm not talking balancing men and women on the platform necessarily. I'm talking about capitalizing on the commonalities between genders, and then utilizing the strengths of each. (Both genders have their dark sides. If we focus on that, we've missed the whole point.)

    It's 2008, soon to be 2009. Can we bring the internet marketing world's interpersonal skills into the 21st century? We've got the tech, but not the heart.

    But both genders have great strengths. And those strengths complement one another.

    Hello. We're designed that way! It's who we are as a race -- the human race.

  12. This is a fascinating post, a friend emailed it to me--thanks for talking about this.

    Since you're looking for links, here's one I did a few months ago. It has the somewhat misleading (but intended to provoke thinking) title "Free 115-Page Tutorial on Marketing to Women." (Using my best IM skills.) :)

    http://www.remarkable-communication.com/free-115-page-tutorial-on-marketing-to-women/

    I think there is *lots* of money being left off the table. We need more women marketing "gurus" not out of fairness or for political reasons, but because women buy a lot of stuff, and having more women on the stage will help all marketers do a better job of selling.

    I love what Deb had to say, bookmarking this so I can read her & your thoughts more carefully.

  13. So why, then, is it the women who must couch their questions politically in order to manipulate the situation?

    That's not exactly what I meant, Deb. I simply meant that we should treat each other with respect, and not approach others with degrading or implicating questions. I see it entirely too often, and personally I find it downright embarrassing by association.

    There is a difference between professional communication, and derogatory comments that are so obviously intended to put someone on the spot purely for personal enjoyment.

    But with the number of successful female marketers growing, there IS NO EXCUSE for having zero women or merely a token woman in a sea of male faces on an IM stage.

    Again, not all of those successful female marketers WANT to be there. And that is their choice. Of those that do - Donna Fox, Sylvie Fortin and Rosalind Gardner come to mind off the top of my head - they ARE there.

    The door is wide open for any woman who wants to achieve that goal.

    There are specific criteria to meet first, and so to all women who aspire to take the IM Stage... by all means, throw your heels on and make it happen!

    That's a figure of speech of course. Please don't throw things at me :)

    I have actually turned down a number of IM speaking engagements over the years, and have no qualms about it. There were phases during the last decade or so that I simply didnt want to travel and preferred to stick close to home.

    During those times, I made appearances across radio stations, teleseminars, webinars and other events where I could speak from my home office.

    There have also been plenty of times that I took the stage at specific events or gatherings. I spoke at wsRadio's host conference on Internet Marketing and online publicity. I spoke at Tranquil Moments conference in Atlanta. Several more I cant recall right offhand. And of course I'm speaking at BlissDom '08 this month.

    The opportunities are there. The men are not holding the women back. Period.

  14. When will you publish a book with your thoughts as the world needs to hear what you have to say.

    Angie,
    A little known fact is that I have 4 titles in the works. Your comment was taken as a very high compliment from that perspective - thank you!

  15. We need more women marketing “gurus” not out of fairness or for political reasons, but because women buy a lot of stuff, and having more women on the stage will help all marketers do a better job of selling.

    I agree with that point, Sonia - and as I mentioned in the original post... "leverage" ;)

    Not only can women attract and sell to females more effectively, but they also have a strong voice in social media and other areas that would be incredibly beneficial to certain companies. Whether as speakers, joint venture partners, affiliates, or otherwise.

    The companies that realize and act on this will see proof in the results.

  16. Interesting post...As always Lynn...The thing is, if we look at any scenario with a pre-conceived notion that there is a gender bias then we will surely find gender bias - whether it exists or not does not really matter for our already made up minds. Any fault, we will be quick to attribute it to gender bias. As far as 'inner circles' go, we have inner circles in women's groups as well. I think similar ideas and work values are some of the main factors that draws a group of people together to form an inner circle. To become a member of an 'inner circle' we need to 'show' its members that we want to be in there. Women, especially mothers, have different set of priorities to men...So whilst we might be welcome in an 'inner circle', whilst we might share similar ideas/values as the members of that 'inner circle', our time might restrain us from becoming part of that group. And so if we don't show we want to be 'in there' then where is the question of being accepted ...There are always some men who might show a bias but then it is their problem and not ours...On a similar note there are always women who might show bias as well....One of the comments above was of the gender bias due to ethnicity, location or religion...I agree with that point...Gender bias of that sort is still quite prominent in some parts - But I think that bias is a different issue -

  17. Allison Reynolds says:

    Lynn love your post and it follows much of my feelings on the subject.

    Leveraging our strengths and not spending time on pointing out our differences will always be the most "profitable" use of our time and efforts, whether male or female.

    We have a great deal to learn from the opposite sex. Using our natural skills to advantage first, is where I come from (hence the SWBN) and sometimes those natural skills need to be pointed out over the strident message of "this is how I do it and you should do it this way too" from our male marketer mentors.

    Awareness and education, and a confidence in our own abilities will help negate the feelings of imbalance. The old "I'm OK, You're OK" thing :)

  18. Hi Lynn,

    Nice post, and it's a nice position you've taken, but me being me, I have to go the other route, and I'll explain why.

    First, I'm sure you've heard about this site called Gurudaq. For awhile, you were the only woman in the top 25, until recently when you were joined by Alexandra Brown. At the same time, Willie Crawford was, and still is, the only black IM that's in the top 25.

    The thing is that, though you succeed on your own terms, as does Willie, it doesn't negate the fact that overall the odds are stacked against your particular background. It doesn't mean that opportunities don't exist, but obstacles are harder to overcome.

    In my own industry (healthcare finance is my real profession), I recognize what I'm up against. I'm presently at a convention in Chicago, and find myself only one of two black males in a crowd of almost 500 people. It is what it is, and I never take for granted that I'm just one of the crowd because I know better after almost 50 years (ugh; that hurt to write!). I had to work harder and produce more just to be part of the status quo.

    So, don't negate your accomplishments as an IM, but also don't negate just how important your success is to other women who want to be like you. True, some top IM marketers are treating you pretty well, but it's because you've succeeded; let people be proud of you for that.

  19. Hi Mitch,

    Interesting perspective, and I'm so glad you took the time to share it here.

    To be honest, I dont feel as if I can compare myself to anyone else. There is no true standard for success in entrepreneurship, outside of the basics: profit & happiness.

    That said, there are some standards within the Internet Marketing (IM) industry, though they are not well-defined. I would venture to guess that a 6-figure income is one of those minimums.

    My situation is different than yours in that I dont have to "fit in" anywhere to succeed. Though I can see where that being the case may have created some hurdles of its own. You make some excellent points...

    For many years my focus was on creating a lifestyle and raising my children. And I dont think I ever looked up to see who was looking or what they thought.

    I was living in a cabin on the lake at one point, homeschooling my two kids, and very much enjoying my life and my work. Status was not something I was after. I was very content making a difference in the circles I worked, and for myself & my children.

    Years of that is what brought me where I am today. Someone noticed. Several people noticed. And all of a sudden I was publicly recognized as the expert in my industry that I am. Do I ride that wave? Absolutely!

    As for obstacles - I'm not sure that being a woman could even be considered one of my primary obstacles. Being a single mother perhaps. Having a special needs child, sure. But rather than seeing those as my obstacles, all along I have seen them as my *reasons*.

    I'll confess that it's crossed my mind to ponder this: If John Reese were a single father to two children, how would that have changed his story? Would he be where he is today? Perhaps he would. Perhaps not. But either way, I dont hold it against him.

    John Reese isnt holding me back. That's pretty obvious, right? It would seem so, yet I hear people make general insinuations like that.

    It's true that we have no control over certain characteristics, and that some of those come with their own challenges. Race, location, gender, etc. But what I see more often than not is that people who have to work harder, achieve more. You are a good example of that. So am I. And just this morning I was talking to a blogger and author who is... legally blind. Wow!

    If anything, I have come to believe that challenges are an asset.

    - - - - -

    Regarding GuruDAQ: The site has not been updated in recent years as it should have been. When it was launched ~6 years ago, those are the people who were most visible in the market. It does not at all reflect the current landscape of IM. I feel that's worth noting, to understand the listing and the lack thereof.

  20. Deb Gallardo says:

    Mitch,

    I like what you had to say a lot. Good points. Useful perspective to hear from, too.

    And I hear the "having to work twice as hard" to prove yourself. (My words, not yours.) I think you have a great attitude about it. "It is what it is" shows emotional maturity, but it's not an easy philosophy to "own" when we're young. See, being a Boomer helps!

    Deb

  21. April Jones says:

    Lynn, you've made some very excellent points. While I tend to gravitate towards female experts in various fields including Internet marketing (you, Alice, Kelly), its not any kind of feminist move on my part, its just a simple matter of relating to women more easily. But I do also follow a few male IMs as well and I don't consider their knowledge any less valuable because they're not female.

    I've noticed gender issues in the VA industry too. Obviously most VAs are female but there are several male VAs as well. One of the most recognizable groups in the VA industry is VANetworking (http://www.vanetworking.com) and I've never seen the active male members get treated any differently than the female members or receive any less respect.

    Of course, I haven't bothered to ask them if they've noticed any from their perspective so maybe they have encountered their own gender issues when they're seeking clients but I'd like to think they haven't.

  22. Lynn and Terry,

    Thanks for the opportunity to express a view on this topic. As we see more success amongst those who represent us, it gives us all a chance to be the next hidden successes. :0)

  23. Wow. Great Topic and not only is your post great but the comments you received are awesome too. I got as much out of the comments as I did the article and that says, "Keep Up The Good Work Lynn."

  24. One of the issues that was brought up in comments on Donna's post, that I feel is worth mentioning here, as well, is this - there are many females who are successful "on the Internet" that would not necessarily be what is considered an "Internet Marketing Guru." Donna mentioned GrammarGirl and Tila Tequila, and I brought up Kristen Nicole, Ashley Qualls, Tara Ariano and Sarah Bunting.

    In fact, in the area of using the Internet to promote (or market, if you will) musical careers on social media/networking sites, women have far surpassed men. I do social media consulting for musicians and labels, and it's a tough fact of that business that male artists face a tougher challenge where that's concerned.

    I have faith that women can make their mark equally as significantly in the traditional "Internet Marketing" arena as they have in other areas of internet promotion. We have girl power. :D

  25. Sorry fellow fellas but I gotta side with the woman here.

    I've personally found that with woman it's all about the advice, with men it's all about the guru effect.

    Egos aside for once, I'm just lookin' for the info ;)

  26. Yvonne DiVita says:

    Lynn, with all due respect to you and to the good men who create conferences and workshops but don't bother to look for any women to speak... there is still a big divide. It is a gender divide. That DOES NOT mean these event organizers purposely ignore women - but, it does mean women have to work harder to get noticed and get through the door.

    Why? There is a wealth of talented women in IM... no one can truly tell me these conference organizers couldn't bother to look for a few good women, to even out the panels?

    I probably sound bitter - but, I am less so, these days. Because I know that it's not an intent... it's an oversight. Which means, we ladies have to get out there and work harder to get noticed. Hence, you have Blogher and the like.

    I so agree with you that when it comes to brass tacks, so to speak, no one in IM thinks of gender when asking for speakers, or when reading blogs, or when following on Twitter. We all appreciate the talent, regardless of gender. That is a big step forward -- and I expect women to find their place on panels and speaker's podiums the world over, with more and more success.

    I get asked to speak regularly. So, I know the tipping point has come...

    Thanks for this great post. We need more posts like this and more women and men who speak up - to say that it's not about gender, it's about talent and experience.

  27. Thank you Melissa :D

  28. Lynn, with all due respect to you and to the good men who create conferences and workshops but don’t bother to look for any women to speak…

    Very good points Yvonne, but my concern with the above is that "bothering to add women to the roster" comes off as selecting women based on their gender - which is exactly what we dont want.

    I say... pick the best speaker for the topic, of the people who are willing to speak and can be there. Period.

    I have attended a number of events, and have learned a lot from certain male speakers. I have learned a lot from certain women along the way too - both offline and online. It has never been about gender for me, but about going to the source for whatever information I am seeking.

    When it comes to Affiliate Marketing, I learned from the best - Rosalind Gardner and Rae Hoffman. Not because they are women, but because they were the two authorities on the topic that I knew of at that time.

    It seems to me that the problem is less about being overlooked, and more about being visible.

    Becoming visible is a process - and an intentional one. Any person (man or woman alike) that wants to make it their goal to speak on an IM stage... has the same obligation to meet the criteria and then become known for it. Its just like any other goal. You plan for it, you take the steps, and you make it happen. But nobody - regardless of gender - is going to be plucked out of the dark, or recognized for their "quiet success". Event organizers just dont go through that much trouble. Names draw crowds. So make a name for yourself, and go speak - if that's what you want to do.

    I've been on both sides of this fence, having been a "quiet success" for many years prior, and so I know exactly what it takes to get on the IM radar. And it has nothing to do with gender.

    Personally, I'd like to see it stay that way.

  29. Yvonne DiVita says:

    Thanks for the reply, Lynn. I applaud you for your focus. Unfortunately, the rest of the world - or much of it - is way behind.

    You say, "nobody, regardless of gender, is going to be plucked out of the dark, or recognized for their 'quiet success'."

    I've been a quiet success for years. And plucked out of it many times...because of my gender. Several panel organizers called me to represent the women's viewpoint, because - women are different than men. Not better, not less smart, just different. In any exercise (physical or business or thoughtful) having a well-rounded panel makes for better results.

    And that's why gender counts, always. Moms are different than Dads. Girls are different than boys. Women THINK differently. Just visit Michele Miller's blog Wonderbranding and you'll learn of the inate brain chemistry of women - and how it's very different from the brain chemistry of men.

    So, gender will always count.

    However, your point that expertise should trump gender is well-put. As someone who has been on both sides of the fence, much like you, I say gender matters. All the time. It colors everything that I do and have done. I'm proud to be approached because I'm a woman...with a specific expertise.

    So, I am happy that you find gender a non-issue. But, I do not.

  30. I'll be the first to confess that I am NOT an expert on this topic. Far from it. But the more we talk, the more interesting it becomes.

    Reading your comment above for example, makes me wonder: then why do women want to be "equal" anyway? Referring specifically to the Internet Marketing niche and the current gender debate within of course.

    I think I'm a little unsure on where it is you stand exactly too. You feel like women have to work harder because of the oversight. But you also feel like women are more likely to get opportunities simply because of their gender (and the obvious need to fill seats with female reps). Or am I way off base?

    Like I said, this is not a topic I am very well educated on - my original post was simply my own perspective, and my feelings on the matter. So I find this incredibly interesting, and would love to get a firm handle on what the issue really is.

  31. It's 2008. Isn't it time to stop using sex and race as an excuse for everything?

    There aren't enough women speakers. Boo hoo! How many women are interested in speaking vs. men? Are qualified women being rejected as speakers more than men are? Or is "not enough women" just something to whine about with no facts involved?

    Where are all the women hosting IM events? How come all the major ones are run by men? Why aren't women running them? Whose fault is that?

    Whose fault is it if 80% of the attendees are male?

    You know if someone put on a "Men's Marketing Conference" or "White People Seminar" there would be a firestorm, but it's OK to have sexist events for women... why don't they just go to the regular events?

    As for Gurudaq, you can nominate people there, so if there aren't enough women or whatever, why aren't you nominating them? I guess it's just easier to cry discrimination.

  32. Barbara Silva says:

    Wow quite a discussion going on here.

    My take is this: now that we have the internet, we can attract those people to our business who see us as the one who can solve their problem. If someone needs to pay next month's rent and YOU can help them do that, I doubt they'll care if you're a man, woman or puppydog.

    In my industry (internet network marketing) there are two top leaders - Mike Dillard and Ann Sieg. Both are powerful and strong. Yet Ann appeals to people who are a little less secure or lack confidence in building a business. That's because the tone of her writing is one of encouragement and almost chatty in nature. This gently guides them to the steps they need to take.

    Mike is more direct and forceful - if you want to succeed, dominate with your expertise.

    Both teach the same basic techniques but each attracts a slightly different audience. I say that's good for the industry. There's no one right way to do things, so follow the leader who matches your personal style.

    I have two other leaders who have approached me about the possibility of sharing the stage with them - no names yet, cause it's in the works.

    My bottom line, it may be a slower process than some of us would like, but it's all about your accomplishments - so far gender has not helped nor hindered me in my business.

    I wish all great success. Btw, I found you through the love links. Thought you'd like to know. Thanks for a great post.

  33. ""That’s not exactly what I meant, Deb. I simply meant that we should treat each other with respect, and not approach others with degrading or implicating questions.""

    Sorry Lynn, but as an old white man myself, even I can see that you are just not getting it yet. It is not degrading to challenge. Postmodern feminist theory has explained this well, and I won't bother here, for fear of stirring up more whiny men like Chris above, but never underestimate the power of sexism.... and the subtlety.

  34. Your comments are certainly welcomed here, Freddy - as are anyones. I freely admit that I dont "get it" and to be fair this topic was not about feminism and womens rights in general - but my take on the current hot topic within the Internet Marketing industry specifically.

    As I said in the original post, I'm only as open minded as I am educated about any given topic. And I am always open to learning and hearing how other people feel on any given topic.

  35. FYI, thanks to this thread (and others here at ClickNewz), StomperNet has officially responded. Read their response in an exclusive here on ClickNewz:
    http://www.clicknewz.com/1735/stompernet-women-respond/

  36. Lynn,
    Excellent post. I agree with you that I don't focus on how women aren't getting an equal opportunity or aren't represented equally, etc. I focus on me, a woman, and what can I do to move in the direction I want to go. If I don't accomplish something, I only need to look in the mirror. Your thoughts on this subject are right on target.

  37. Excellent point, Leslie. When it comes to online business, NObody is holding anyone else back. That is the part of this whole debate, and recent discussion, that I truly do not get. In all of my years, I have been the only person to ever hold me back. Everyone else has been nothing but helpful and supportive...

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