Where are all the women at? Part 2

statistics about women in podcasting

Below is an article I wrote for Blogger and Podcaster Magazine back in Sept 2007 called – Hey where are all the Women at? The article went over the lack of women in podcasting at that time.

I thought it would be interesting to follow up on this article to see where women are percentage-wise in podcasting five years later.


September 2007

Hey where are all the Women at?

Surely someone will get their nose out of joint by the title of this article.

“What does he mean by it?”

Well, back in late 2004 I remember reading an article that talked about how 42% of bloggers were women and the author felt that statistic was more important to mainstream acceptance of blogs than the publicity blogs were getting from their coverage of the US presidential election.

The author of the article, and for the life of me I can not remember who wrote it, made the point that passing that 40% mark was somehow a magical event and at that point there would be content available that all could enjoy, not just the techies and political pundits.

This author felt the content would reflect the image of the audience and this would be more inviting to the general population. Word of mouth outside of the internet would then help fuel blog growth even higher.

I have often thought about the message in that article, and as podcasting came into being in late 2004 and as we moved into 2005, I wondered what percentage females made up in the podcasting ranks.

How did Podcasting match up against Blogging?

Then in late 2005 I did not have to wonder anymore.

Monash University released a survey of podcasters in the Fall of 2005 that found only 14.2% of Podcasters were female.

I wish I could say I was shocked, but I figured we were in the early adopter stage and things would work themselves out over time and the number of females would start to rise.

Fast forward to early 2007 and Jacobs University along with the University of Technology Berlin conducted a survey of podcasters, this time with over four times the number surveyed back in 2005.

What they found was that females now represented 13.8% of the podcasting community.

This time I was shocked, I was hoping for 25% and thought it might even be as lows as 20%.  But to see a decline (albeit a very small decline) was not even something I remotely thinking was an option.

I have always made a conscious effort on Podcast411 to get more women on the show as guests. For the life of the Podcast411 – 22.8% of my guests have been female, with 34.3% of my guests in 2007 being female.

I hope someday to not have to make a conscious effort to interview more women and that simply by statistics my interviews will work out to close to 50/50 male to female guests.  But based on the most recent survey we are not just a long way off – there has been no improvement in the situation in the past two years.

Please do not get the message wrong – there are some great individual women in the podcasting world that have been extremely influential and instrumental in helping grow this community, they include.  Mur Lafferty (Geek Fu Action Grip, I Should Be Writing, and co-author of Tricks of the Podcasting Masters) Colette Vogel (Podcasting Legal Guide), Shelly Brisbin (Shelly’s Podcast, Editor Blogger and Podcaster Magazine)  Nicole Simon (Useful Sounds, and lots of other credits), Cali Lewis (GeekBrief.TV, iCali), Violet Blue (Open Source Sex, San Fran Chronicle), Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl, QDNow Network), Carmen Van Kerckhove (Addicted to Race), Gretchen and Paige (The MommyCast), Denise Howell (This Week in Law, Sound Policy) and many others I do not have the space to mention here.

I think the key in the list of women above (beyond me leaving someone out you think I am an idiot for leaving out) is that they for the most part did not come from a media background or a hyper-marketing background.

They are all just everyday people, some have a blogging background, for others podcasting was their first foray into the internet world. In other words, they represent most of the women in the general population and they show that there is no real X chromosome barrier to entry in podcasting.

So like I asked in the title – where are all the women at?  What is it about podcasting that makes it not so attractive or interesting if you are a female?

Honestly I want to know.

I would like to hear what your thoughts are on what I consider to be one of the biggest issues in podcasting.


So where are we at today?

On the blogging side in 2012 there are more women bloggers 50.9% vs Men 49.1%.  This according to Sysomos

But for Podcasting – we just have not seen that increase that blogging has seen – actually we have seen a decrease from the numbers of 2005 and 2007.

In 2012 just 12.5% of Podcasters are Women.

This from info of podcasters using libsyn.com . The data comes from over 10,000 podcasters using our service – so it is more than statistically significant.

Maybe the issue has been all the added tools you need to podcast?

If that is the case – good news – I am doing a presentation at NMX titled – Audio Podcasting – Doing it all from your iPad.  Maybe by showing how easy it is to actually podcast and that you can do it all from your iPad this will help get more women interested in podcasting.

Who knows with a little luck maybe in 2017 I will be able to put up an article titled – Hey were are all the Men at?

Rob Walch


Image credit via CC Women standing in a picket line reading the newspaper PM. by Kheel Center, Cornell University

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