Mar 26

Everydotconnects Post Inspires Michelle’s First Official Rant

OK, double pings here, I read Connie Reece’s post “Five White Men Talk About Social Media” which was inspired by “X Chromosome Web 2.0 Rock Stars“. Essentially, the observation is that we continually see the same men in the social media world, and although we like these men, we would like to see more women.

Why does the lack of prominent women in social media surprise anyone?

We’ve never seen a female U.S. President. Great Britain elected a female Prime Minister in Margaret Thatcher. Indira Gandhi served as Prime Minister of India. Finland, a country with the highest number of scientists per capita in the world, elected Conan O’Brien look-alike Tarja Halonen as president. Although the Catholics in Argentina will not see a female priest, they did elect Cristina Fernandez de Kirschner, who is following in the footsteps of her husband and former president Nestor. Pakistan, a primarily Muslim nation, elected Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister in 1988 and she was leading another election until she was assassinated last December. This is supposedly the freest place on Earth for women, and yet, a Muslim nation elected a female for a leader 20 years before we even get a viable candidate for President. Should we be surprised we can’t get a woman on a City Council social media panel? Nope.

There are very few female CEOs. There is one woman on the Supreme Court. There are 14 women in the Senate. These are decision makers. Are there issues they face that impact women much differently than men? Yes. Are there people that seriously believe women are poor decision makers, consciously or subconsciously? Unfortunately, yes.

Many commenters on Connie’s post said that it is much more natural for men to promote themselves than women. I’d say so. I’ve worked in the tech and auto industries since I graduated from college. I have not had a female boss since I was 18 and I worked in a restaurant. Everyone ahead of me has been male, and many of my female, straight counterparts get married, have kids and then stay at home. It often feels as if the cards are stacked against us.

This rant being said, that doesn’t mean that the social media world should simply follow suit. On the contrary, if social media can produce viable, relevant female “celebrities”, it would bring more attention to online media than ever. These would have to be progressive thinkers, capable of instituting substantive change both in and out of the online space. Any takers?

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  • Mike Mathews

    You have a point, Michelle, but I have an opposite experience.

    My first female boss was in 1985 at a big tech firm at the time, Tektronix. Her first question to me was “can you work for a woman?” Hmm, I think HR would get upset at that question today.

    On our first press tour, she asked me to run out and grab some breast pads because she was still nursing, needed to express on the road, and could not leave her room. I obliged her because I had already gone through this with my wife and my boss was a human being. Was it belittling? Probably not, and it didn’t seem belittling to me. It certainly wasn’t sexual, although it might be considered some level of harassment today, but it was definitely an odd request in business and on the road.

    Since then I have had both male and female bosses, but far more female than male, some of them at the VP level at other tech companies, such as Intel, where I worked for ten years and spent 8 of those years working for female managers.

    Like I said, you have a point and history leans heavily to your view, but there are other stories that are not necessarily shared nor considered cause for complaint–and those stories may not be as rare as one might suspect.