One of the more interesting discussions at PodCamp Boston was not scheduled – which is the great thing about PodCamp. It was a mostly impromptu and ad-hoc discussion about women in social media. I joined the discussion about halfway through, as I had started out elsewhere, but was encouraged to join the discussion on the lawn by a VA associate on Twitter who wasn’t even at PodCamp. Word of the fabulous discussion had spread quickly and far.
My favorite quote from that discussion was by Christopher Penn, who said, “I don’t care what you have between your legs, be AWESOME between your ears!” Fellow PodCamper Georgy Cohen had this to say about that:
I guess I just don’t understand reactions like Sarah Wurrey’s, who was angered by Christopher Penn saying that all women had to do was “be awesome.”
I’m sorry, I was unaware that we weren’t already awesome. I can name at least 100 awesome women right now. Why is it the responsibility for changing the state of affairs all on us?
Um. I really don’t think he was saying you weren’t awesome now. But there’s a difference between being awesome in a closet and feeling comfortable and confident enough to wield that awesomeness. And really, in the realm of social media, I don’t think there’s a patriarchy waiting to beat you down. The “responsibility for changing the state of affairs” is on ALL of us, irregardless of gender. It’s called the democratization of media.
As an ironic follow up to this discussion, I atteneded the Southeastern Connecticut Women’s NETWORK luncheon yesterday, where our speaker was Teresa Younger, Executive Director for the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) in Connecticut. She gave an interesting speach about the inequalitiess of women in the work force. Some of the statistics Ms. Younger gave were astounding:
- Women earn $0.78 for every $1 a man earns
- Women stay in [job] positions longer, on average, than men
- Women CEOs are more likely to focus on long term sustainability than men
- 80% of women value customer relationship more highly than business growth and expansion
- There are 14 million people out of work & 10 million woman-owned businesses in this country – if every woman owned business hired just one person we would have the lowest unemployment rate ever!
So, the way I look at it, women are awesome. We take care of our families, our businesses, and ourselves (all too often, in that order) and we do it all for less pay. Changing the landscape of women in social media is a great idea, and maybe empowering women in just one area will push that same passion and enthusiasm into empowering women in other areas as well. Who’s with me?
(Another irony: as I write this, my Twitter stream is exploding to references with the same types of messages.)