Marketing Strategy

Gender Bias in Online Marketing: Data Shows Women Are Undervalued by 21%

By Larry Kim May 13, 2014 Posted In: Marketing Strategy Comments: 33

Does the internet marketing industry have a gender bias problem? It’s something that’s been talked about before, but too often, those discussions are based almost entirely on speculation, a general sense that women are getting the short end of the stick. And the problem with speculation is that it’s easy to dismiss.

Moz’s recent industry salary survey provided some interesting data; they found that women in online marketing are paid less than their male counterparts, even at the same levels of education and experience. This sparked some really great discussion, but again, some may assume men just get the better jobs because of greater ability, better performance, or more ambition. But is this really the case?

I recently ran across some internal data that really surprised me. I believe it proves that gender bias in our industry is not only real, but measurable. Let’s take a look at the data and talk about what it means and what we can do about it.

Measuring Gender Bias In the Search Marketing Industry

At WordStream, we’re always analyzing data to figure out how to do better. We regularly conduct a 90-day customer satisfaction survey. One of the questions on this survey is, rate your satisfaction level with your client service representative, on a scale of 1-4 (4 = Excellent, 1= Poor).

Last month, we reviewed the responses from all clients who completed the survey in 2014 so far. Then we segmented the data by the customer service representative to get a sense of who our top performing reps are. Here’s what the data looked like (I’ve removed the names of the customer service reps):

gender bias in marketing

I was totally blown away by the results. The mean satisfaction score across all reps, for this time slice and segment of clients, was 3.11. Almost all the men had scores above this group average, and all the women had scores below the group average. Further, the male client service rep with the lowest score still did better on the survey than the female client service rep with the higest score. What the heck?! There’s no interspersion of males and females in the ranking order – all the men came out on top, followed by all the women.

Spider sense tingling. This can’t be right. I would expect to see a mix of some men and women client service reps with scores above the mean, as well as a mix below the mean.

I suspected gender bias at play here. Either that, or all men are better search marketing client sevice managers than women – which seemed a bit dubious. But how to prove it?

Are Men Better Search Marketers than Women?

This is search marketing. Unlike a lot of fields, we can quantify pretty much everything. If men truly are better than women at search engine marketing, then you would expect the accounts that are co-managed/supported by our male client service reps to be doing way better than those being co-managed by the female reps. (Our reps don’t fully manage these accounts, they just provide support and recommendations. It’s up to the owners to do most of the work.)

But how do you measure the success of an AdWords account? That’s when the light bulb went on. We just so happen to have this thing called the AdWords Grader. (Apologies in advance for plugging our own tool here; I promise that’s not what this post is about, it just made it easier for us to analyze the data.) The Grader is a free tool that benchmarks the health/achievement of your AdWords account in a comprehensive way. It analyzes dozens of objective metrics in your account, like click-through rates, conversion rates, Quality Scores, account activity, and use of best practices like conversion tracking and negative keywords. It then benchmarks your level of achievement versus other companies in the same industry as you, with similar budgets (so little guys don’t have to compete with big guys). You then get a percentile score, corresponding to your ranking within your peer group (i.e., a score of 47% means you are beating 47% of other advertisers who are in your industry and are of similar size, and conversely 53% of those advertisers are doing better than you). It’s a lot like Zillow, where you can compare prices for houses in a particular neighborhood and with similar characteristics – the comparisons are valid because you’re comparing like to like.

My idea was to run our AdWords Grader against all of the client accounts from the survey, then figure out if those supported by men fared any better than those supported by women. Since the Grader evaluates accounts consistently and objectively, I knew we wouldn’t be taking either the rep or the account owner at their word on how good the account was doing.

News Flash: Women Are Actually Better at SEM than Men [Data]

We analyzed the AdWords Grader scores of all the accounts for customers who took part in the survey, then split up the accounts supported by men vs. those supported by women. Here’s what that data ended up looking like:

gender bias in search marketing

The AdWords accounts supported by women at WordStream received Grader scores that were on average, 9 points higher than those managed by men! That's right, the software accounts supported by our female reps had a higher overall AdWords performance score than those supported by male reps. (It is, of course, ultimately up to the clients to do the work.) But despite the fact that their clients had slightly better quantitative results, the women still scored lower on subjective customer satisfaction.

Of course, this doesn’t actually mean that women are inherently better than men at managing paid search accounts, but it may mean they have to work harder just to be seen as equals, or even almost as good.

The Worst Gender Discrimination Happens in the Middle

As we were gathering the account performance data, I was surprised by some of the disparity I was seeing.

For example, take a look at this account. It’s doing amazing!

  • Average Quality Score of 7.7/10!
  • Account average CTR of 13.3%
  • Tons of account activity in last 30 and 90 days!
  • Insanely great ads and landing pages!

It scores a 99%. That means that out of 100 accounts, in the same industry and within the similar spend range (in this case approximately $2.7k/month), this account is in the 99% percentile. Seems pretty excellent to me, but this account is co-managed/supported by a woman client service rep, who got just a 3/4 customer satisfaction rating.

That’s just an outlier though. When we looked at all the data together, an uglier picture emerged.

For this part of the analysis, I enlisted the help of our resident data scientist, Mark Irvine, who helped explain what was happening.

Mark broke up our clients into quintiles (i.e., five buckets of equal size, based on their AdWords Grader scores) – and this revealed two alarming findings:

quantifying gender bias

First, female account reps received lower scores then male client service reps regardless of the customer's level of achievement. There’s essentially no winning for the women here.

Second, and more concerning, is that the gap in male and female client service rep score in the middle and 2nd quintiles is almost a full point! Despite those few early outliers, clients at the very top and the very bottom have, on average, predictably good or bad ratings for their rep, and the difference between genders isn’t as bad. However, for this middle tier of clients – clients whose performance is average or slightly below the average in this pool – the scores are uniquely bipolar. These clients give male client service reps their highest ratings, while giving female client service reps their worst ratings.

My take on this phenomenon is that discrimination in our field is of the subtle, pernicious variety - there's no overt sign on the door that says women need not apply - that would be too obvious. Rather, the strongest bias occurred in the "average performing accounts" in our pool of advertisers (i.e. accounts that were neither failing badly, nor succeeding wildly). For these "average performing" accounts, it would seem that that men client service managers more often than not, receive the benefit of the doubt where as women client service managers are far less likely to get a pass.

Women May Be More Susceptible to Gender Bias than Men

We also wanted to know if both male and female clients were impacted by the gender bias we were seeing, or if this was a case of just men putting down women. We can do this kind of analysis, because we know the gender of the client doing the rating. Again, the results were shocking.

The gender bias was actually more dramatic among female clients, who scored female reps by an average of .82 points lower than they would male reps (compared to .43 lower score by male clients). Is it possible female clients are even more demanding of female search marketing reps?

gender gap data

It’s also worth noting that the male client service reps scored considerably higher with their female clients.

Client Service Rep Tenure Doesn’t Matter

Mark took a look to see if there could be other signals at play here which could explain the gender bias we were seeing. The most obvious thing was to look at was the experience level of the client service representative at WordStream.

For example, what if the women client service reps were less experienced than the male client service reps, in terms of number of months on the job – could that explain their lower scores? Here’s what Mark found:

gender bias in customer satisfaction

The research clearly showed that men were favored over women across all levels of experience and seniority. In other words, seniority had no effect on the scores, and experience doesn't explain the discrepancy in scores.

The 21% Gender Valuation Gap: How Much Are Women Undervalued?

Based on our analysis, we believe there's a 21% gender worth gap in the search marketing industry – in other words, women are, on average, viewed as 21% less valuable than their male peers, regardless of experience and other performance metrics.

Getting dinged on a customer satisfaction score is just one example of how this Gender Valuation Gap might play out. I could see this bias having effects in many other areas. For example a 21% handicap might give the man the edge in terms of:

  • Getting a job interview
  • Being hired for the job
  • Getting the raise and/or promotion
  • Getting accepted or being invited to speak at a search marketing conference

And so on and so on. Over time, it compounds and adds up to a lot more men at the top and in high-visibility roles in our industry, even if they started with the same level of ability.

It’s also worth noting that the 21% Gender Valuation Gap aligns remarkably well with the 19.7% average gender pay gap that Moz identified in their recent search industry survey:

gender pay gap

Are female search marketers actually worth less, or is an underlying sexism affecting their perceived value by the rest of the industry? Our research points to the latter.

How Does Gender Bias Affect Morale?

We asked our female client service reps the following questions to get a sense of how this bias might affect them, if they were conscious of it at all:

  1. The data shows that men get higher customer satisfaction scores across the board than women, though men are not delivering better results than women. (In fact, the accounts supported by women had better results.) Why do you think that is?
  2. Were you surprised by your score? How did it make you feel? Does it affect your ability to do your job well?
  3. Have you ever felt that you were discriminated against because of your gender? Can you name an example?
  4. Do you notice any difference in how your male and female clients treat you?
  5. We suspect that gender bias is a pervasive problem in search marketing. How do you think we can address these issues?

I was a little surprised that some of the women on our Customer Success team seemed quick to blame themselves. For example, in response to Question 1, one said:

Often women tend to be more gentle, speak in higher pitched voices, and may not always exude confidence the way a male does. By nature men have deeper pitched voices which I believe leads them to sound more confident, and women sometimes need to work on this. I’m constantly working on my tone and trying to shift towards more definitive language.

The same issue was echoed by another woman on staff:

I think this has a lot to do with the way that men carry themselves and a varying sense of confidence (or perceived confidence) between men and women. The perception is sometimes that men know more simply because they sound more confident … I think men in general are better at just telling people what they want to hear rather than working with them in a more sympathetic manner. 

Both women note that men often sound more confident than women – it’s unclear if they actually are more confident. But this may just be a stereotype with no basis in reality. Another rep told me:

I’ve had numerous situations where clients have asked for a second opinion on the advice that I’ve given them. When this happens, I always ask [redacted] or [redacted] to get on the phone and make the exact same recommendation that I’ve been making. Usually, they are quick to accept it coming from a guy.

So this rep is completely confident in her opinions – her clients just want to hear them coming from a man’s mouth. Since women are born with different vocal cords, it’s hardly fair to judge their confidence levels or the authority of their advice based on the pitch of their voice. It’s probably not that deep voices naturally sound more authoritative, but that we’re all biased toward men, so we’ve learned to “read” deep voices as more trustworthy. (In other words, if men had higher voices, we’d trust higher voices more.)

I know some readers will question whether it’s possible that our male reps are just easier to work with than our female reps, regardless of the performance they’re delivering. But this bias comes before the clients have even met the reps. One rep told us, in response the question “Have you ever felt that you were discriminated against because of your gender?”:

100% yes—by both female and male clients. I’ve actually had cases in which new clients unabashedly have requested new reps specifically because they feel more comfortable working with a male strategist. 

In more heartening news, everyone agreed that “awareness is key” and studies like this are a great first step to fixing the problem. One rep said, “Continuing to educate people on gender bias in the workplace will bring attention to the fact that gender bias IS still indeed a problem that needs to be addressed.” Another said, “Once people start to acknowledge that there is a problem, they will be more cognizant of making non-biased decisions (one would hope…).”

Another:

I think the only real way to address gender bias in any industry is to keep talking about it and keep proving that women are just as capable of excelling in paid search. Case studies, data, valuable information all coming from women is only going to further prove that there should not be any separation between reps of different genders. It’s certainly not something that will be fixed overnight, but as women continue to see success and high performance it will help to make people more aware of what’s going on. Similarly, highlighting women and showing their success will probably give us more confidence, which seems to be a huge factor in how others perceive us.   

Nobody said they were deeply disturbed or offended by the data. The fact that most everyone took the valuation gap in stride may explain why it’s so persistent – it’s subtle enough for most people to ignore.  Or, as Kristen Yerardi, our VP of Customer Success, pointed out, maybe it’s just so commonplace cross-industry that women learn how to deal with it as a matter of course. She said:

In 2014, the American Enterprise Institute studied White House salaries. The median annual salary for women in the White House was $65k, while the same for men was $73.7k. That’s a 13% difference in salary. Whether you like Obama or not, he’s vocal about fixing this issue. Even a President who want to help is starting out with a gap so large, he seemingly can’t overcome it. How can any corporation or government agency close that gap realistically?

What Can We Do To Fix the Gender Bias Issue?

I don’t really know. It’s a complicated issue. The way I look at it, as a founder of an internet marketing company, you can approach the problem from the top down or from the bottom up of your organization.

Can we do better when it comes to hiring? Look at your internet marketing staff – is it 50/50 men/women or way out of balance, more like 80/20? If it’s the latter, you should probably do something about that. As my colleague Elisa Gabbert recently said, “If you’re in a hiring role, examine the hiring process – do you tend to screen out more women? Could you be judging their resumes more harshly? Could your job descriptions even reveal a bias, which might dissuade women from applying?” Addressing these issues could help even the numbers out of the gates. This isn’t “affirmative action” – you don’t need to hire women who are worse at the job than men. What we need to do is question whether we’re overvaluing men that aren’t truly more qualified.

Can industry leaders nurture women within their companies? The 21% Gender Valuation Gap means that men will on average, catch more “lucky breaks” within their career than women. This becomes huge if you keep compounding it over time. So, one of my personal goals is to spend time working with the female staff to help them land a few opportunities of their own. For example, perhaps it could be helping review pitches to land more prominent external-facing gigs. The numbers show they’re doing as well or better than their male colleagues when it comes to managing campaigns, so I’m not suggesting that we need to “save” them or do their work for them. But if gender bias is real, it means we probably (as men) already have an advantage, and we can use it to promote women in our companies. (Or maybe we just need to make sure we’re not standing in their way?)

I’m not saying I’m above any of these problems, and I’m not suggesting others aren’t doing enough either. I’m also not suggesting that our clients have done something wrong. Quite the opposite. I think we’re all complicit here. It’s a systemic problem that manifests in many different subtle, often unconscious ways.

But the first step toward changing things is recognizing there’s a problem, so I wanted to share the data that we discovered in a transparent way. You can draw your own conclusions, but I urge you not to brush them off as flawed or inconsequential. For me, the key takeaway here is that gender bias in search is real and that it impacts us all. I’ve always suspected that this was the case, but didn’t have concrete evidence on how it impacts our collective psyche until now.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to my colleague Elisa and many others in the industry, including Jen Lopez, Lisa Barone, and Megan Williams to name a few, for writing about the issues of gender bias and discrimination in online marketing. Had they not called these issues to my attention repeatedly, I would have never even known to investigate it. Also thanks to Mark Irvine for all the deep data analysis work, Miranda Miller for the input, and Kristen Yerardi for her support in exploring this topic.

AdWords Performance Grader




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Comments

Tuesday July 01, 2014

Kelsey (not verified) Said:

Women these days need to take bigger steps to close the gap between the gender bias. If women don't belive they can do it, then they wont.  Luckily at WomensNet we see many women every day attempting to break the barrier!

Tuesday June 03, 2014

Chris Bawden (not verified) Said:

Stepping outside the relm of digital marketing, but closely related, a recent study suggests that people don't take as much caution when dealing with tropical storms that have been given female names as they do when dealing with similar storms with male names.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/06/02/female-named-hurricanes-kill-more-than-male-because-people-dont-respect-them-study-finds/

I have not analyzed the data of the the study myself, but assuming the study is sound it provides an example of a predisposition to interact with a bias.  This one in interesting becasue instead of analyzing two parties that are both prone to human bias and mistakes, this example removes one human variable entirely.  Considering that this study was done on tropical storms, it would be nice to find an example a little more closely related to online marketing that also minimizes the human variables, but I certainly wouldn't discount the concept.

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Vinod Thomas (not verified) Said:

This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. The article is nice and it’s pleasant to read. I have known very important things over here.

Thursday May 22, 2014

Amy (not verified) Said:

This is a great study, and I'll certainly be keeping it in mind as I progress through my career. I was wondering if you looked at how the ages of clients affected their bias. Not sure if you would have that data, but I'm just hoping that it's an older generation problem, or at least it is improving as clients get younger. 

Thursday May 22, 2014

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Hi Amy, interesting question but we don't ask clients to provide their ages, so we don't currently have access to that information.

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Chicago Internet Marketing (not verified) Said:

It's sad but it seems women are still undervalued in the business world, even to this day. 

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Miranda Miller (not verified) Said:

Thanks for looking into this, Larry & team. It boggles the mind that some people still don't believe there is a gender bias in tech or marketing, or that we just have to try harder, or because there are some token successful women, the rest are just whiners. There are other factors in play and most are beyond our control.

It reminds me of an old joke... "Stop yelling that you're drowning!" "I'd love to... kindly remove your foot from my head."

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Indeed! Also, ever heard that people who are drowning actually don't make noise and thrash around? They can't. They're too busy drowning. Oh, the implications!

Thursday May 22, 2014

Ron (not verified) Said:

Hello Larry

 

Do you think the gender bias is for the reason most of your clients have males, which may find it easier to communicate with the same gender,

or the gender bias is presented also within female clients?

I would expect male having prejudices against female, but maybe also the other way around. the question who the client is. 

Thursday May 22, 2014

Elisa Gabbert Said:

@Ron, take a look at the section titled "Women May Be More Susceptible to Gender Bias than Men." Disappointingly, we found that our female clients were just as likely (if not more likely) to under-rate the women as the men were.

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Doc Sheldon (not verified) Said:

Excellent piece, Larry and a great analysis! It certainly lends some credence to what I think many of us realized is true to some degree. I'd be interested in knowing the total size of the sample. I have to assume it wasn't extremely large.

I'm not sure what sort of "solution" can be implemented, beyond shining a continuous light on the issue. Sadly, I don't think it's realistic to expect the majority of males to contribute to helping their female counterparts - but some certainly will. With more awareness, perhaps more will. But it's not something that can be forced, or it won't take hold. It needs to be voluntary, IMO.

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Larry Kim Said:

Hi Doc Sheldon -- The analysis was based on approximately three hundred survey responses that we have received so far. I have high confidence in the study data for reasons and analysis presented in the article. For me, the key takeaway here is that gender bias in search is real and that it impacts us all.

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Miranda Miller (not verified) Said:

Hi Doc! You're right, shining a light on the issue helps.  Women in tech and business don't need their male counterparts to help them out, though. I mean it's always nice when someone helps you out, but as an entire group of people, women aren't waiting around for someone to give us a hand up. What needs to happen is both men and women in business (because as Larry pointed out, women can judge one another even more harshly) need to learn to recognize their personal biases.

It seems like such a big, longlasting, overwhelming problem when we think of it on an industry level. Fact is, the only way it's ever going to change is if everyone stops thinking "There's nothing I can do about it," and starts doing something about it, even if that something is only a conscious effort on their part not to be sexist.

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Louise McCartan (not verified) Said:

The most striking part for me is that women under-rate other women. I've heard of this being the case across many situations and workplaces. Perhaps it comes back to evolutionary psychology. I'd be all ears if others have any suggestions for the reasoning of this. Thanks.

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Louise, maybe competition increases within the population because they are fighting harder for fewer resources than men are?

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Larry Kim Said:

Lauren had an interesting comment regarding this phenomenon. https://twitter.com/hallstigerts/status/466492565630758912

She said that "Men have their club while most women are more familiar with scarcity. Creates an unsupportive environ."

If that is indeed the cause of the problem, then it could theoretically be mitigated by reducing the scarcity of opportunities and success for women in online marketing.

 

 

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Sarah B Danks (not verified) Said:

Thank you, thank you for writing this. As a female search marketer who's been on the not-so-fun end of gender bias, I wasn't *shocked* at the data, but rather saddened that it wasn't just me who's had to deal with this. It's somewhat disheartening to read what other females have said in response, "well, maybe it's because we don't speak with enough confidence..." Well, then you need to start being sure of yourself. KNOW that you are good at what you do -- it'll come across just fine without having to deepen your voice. Hopefully everyone will start to realize gender bias is an extremely antiquated method of thinking.

 

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Tikaani (not verified) Said:

Helpful article. Makes me want to change many things on my marketing strategy for my trademark and image. Perhaps a more male approach would be better.

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Sheconomy (not verified) Said:

I find the data fascinating and the depth of your assesments validating. Unfortunately, gender bias is not limited to search marketing. As the owner of a small ad agency for more than 30 years, it is typical. I completely relate to one of your employees who said:

"I’ve had numerous situations where clients have asked for a second opinion on the advice that I’ve given them. When this happens, I always ask [redacted] or [redacted] to get on the phone and make the exact same recommendation that I’ve been making. Usually, they are quick to accept it coming from a guy."

I must confess that in my earlier days I took male employees to creative pitches merely to test whether it enhanced the confidence of the client. Nevermind, that he may have been the accountant or an intern, once "he" spoke or gave "his" approval, you could literally feel a shift in attitude and willingness on the client's part to yield to our recommendations. (Keeping in mind, I had told him what to say) This was just as prevalent with the female client than the male client.

Thank you for being open enough to investigating this issue and for sharing the results. I would love to share it on my blog, She-conomy.com, unless you object.

Thanks again, 

Stephanie Holland

 

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Larry Kim Said:

Hi Stephanie, thanks for stopping by and sharing your stories. I'm sorry that you had to endure that kind of behavior. This has been pretty eye-opening for me.

And by all means, free to share the story on your blog.

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Jordan (not verified) Said:

Wow. A sample of 9 employees. This must be a very authoritative "study". Here's an example of writing blog posts for the sake of writing blog posts.

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Larry Kim Said:

Hi "Jordan", thanks for the comment. just to clarify it was a study of our customer base. The analysis was based on approximately three hundred survey responses that we have received so far, which we segmented in varous ways, including by client service rep, by experience level, by client gender, etc.

Though it is generally its true that larger studies are better than smaller ones, i have high confidence in this data/analysis -- because the numbers weren't even close. As an example, you don't need a massive sample to call an election outcome if the early returns aren't even close. (and btw, a gallup poll for even a tight US presidential race typically has around just 800 respondents to get within +/- 2%). Respectfully, i think the data/analysis is not so easily dismissed.
 

Thursday May 15, 2014

Dana Tan (not verified) Said:

Wow, wow, wow. All  can say without saying too much is this is INCREDIBLY ACCURATE

...and the next post should be a tutorial that teaches women like me how to successfully ask for a 10K a year raise. I can guaranteed you how that conversation will go:  :Show me the ROI. Where's the ROI? - yet I work with men every single day who never have to prove a gosh-darned thing.

#frustrated

Thursday May 15, 2014

Jen (not verified) Said:

Thank you so much for writing this! Absoulutely amazing post with so much work going into it. I have to tell you that it was totally worth it. Even if we perceive there's a gender bias without people taking the time to do the research, it's all just assumptions. We need more education on this. Going to share.

Thursday May 15, 2014

Lizzy (not verified) Said:

Interesting and disappointing to read.

I have encountered the same response asking for second opinions regarding (general) marketing.

I am more academically qualified and commercially experienced in marketing than those giving the second opinions!

Encountering it most from sales (egos), technical disciplines (of the view that they know everything) and older men (1950s belief that women should be tied to the kitchen sink)..

Has made me question on a number of occasions whether I want to remain in marketing.

Thursday May 15, 2014

Tim (not verified) Said:

It's sad to say but there will always be gender biases. Just like there will all be racism and prejudices. 

Thanks for writing this article.

Friday May 16, 2014

Arianne Donoghue (not verified) Said:

Fantastic post. It does sadden me to see that the experiences I've had in our industry aren't unique to me and that it is a problem on a large scale. Isn't it depressing to see that women can be discriminated against by their own? The previous commenter had it spot on when she talks about men having their clubs - but women have always been set up to compete against each other to the detriment of other women.

 

As for how we go about fixing it? Who knows. Hopefully increasing the volume of female speakers at events and showing that they can make an authoritative contribution will help. But will it ever really change? I hope it does but don't believe that it's likely without a significant change in the status quo.

Saturday May 17, 2014

Emma North (not verified) Said:

Great study and post Larry with some really interesting findings.

As a woman in the industry I feel I have been extremely lucky to have avoided any noticeable discrimitation from clients, coworkers, superiors and in terms of salary.

It is a real shame that the same cannot be said for all women in our industry and studies like this do a good job of highlighting the evidence surrounding the subject. Hopefully it will help ensure that things become more balanced in coming years.

Saturday May 17, 2014

Anonymous (not verified) Said:

The modern bias here is that women are told that they are naturally too gentle, soft and lacking confidence (not true). And they should push for overconfidence and bossiness. Then it has quite the opposite effect on the perception by customers - that men are more caring, gentle and deserve more trust. Who really likes arrogant and patronizing customer support? Worse, it makes the entire female gender look entitled, hysterical and not trustworthy. But not lacking confidence. 

As for the research, this is all around "*I think*, *I believe* etc customers like confidence". No customers were asked what they prefer, right? "Comfortable" is the word they use, not "I want somebody more confident". 

Monday May 19, 2014

Gareth Mailer (not verified) Said:

 
Why is everything a gender issue these days? What's with the constant victim mentality permeating throughout all society? 

Pay gap. Yes, there is disparity in pay between men and women. All over The EU, women are paid less than men. On the face of it - which is how posts such as these operate - it's wrong. But it's also wrong that in the UK young professional men are paid on average £600 per year LESS than young professional women (yes, that is happening, right now - it's a fact). It's never talked about. 

Does that statistic about men's disadvantage tell the whole story? No, of course not. There is ALWAYS more to it. 

As for this: 'some may assume men just get the better jobs because of greater ability, better performance, or more ambition. But is this really the case?'

Have you read much about WHY women MAY be paid less than men on average? How about this post http://www.partisans.org/2012/05/how-i-learned-to-love-the-pay-gap - written by a woman - on the subject which states men are typically a lot more likely to relocate, place less priority on family and work longer hours. Does that apply to all men? No. Are all women paid less than men? No. The issue is far more complex than this, but I'd encourage you to read up on it i.e. Warren Farrell, Karen Straughan etc. 

The subtext in posts such as these always concerns me because they appear to want to fulfil or create a notion of systemic disadvantage without considering all of the societal, economic and political factors behind WHY disparities exist.

I could equally question why 93% of workplace deaths are men, why male suicide rate is 4x that of women, why girls regularly outperform boys in school, why 58% of University applications (in the UK) last year were made by women and why, despite TONS of empirical research indicating gender symmetry in domestic violence, prevailing perception suggests men are always the aggressors. << I could go on and on. 

The point is, I don't put any of that down to systemic discrimination or demonisation of men, but rather a wide range of very complex issues which we can't resolve from analysing a dataset. The implication of this post is that 'women are discriminated against in the SEM community'; for me, like with all arguments on perceived gender discrimination, it's a bit simplistic. 

In this post it's being treated like purely a data issue, which is very far from the case. 

Monday May 19, 2014

Elisa Gabbert Said:

For those who are interested (you sound like the kind of guy who will never, ever change his mind), here's some interesting data from the Department of Labor that debunks many of the myths about the pay gap (for example, that it disappears once you account for education, interest, etc.: http://social.dol.gov/blog/myth-busting-the-pay-gap/

Monday May 19, 2014

Gareth Mailer (not verified) Said:

Is the implication you are making - you aren't speaking directly - that I'm stubborn? Have I not raised valid points? 

I don't doubt discrimination against women exists. I don't doubt discrimination against men exists, either. I don't doubt misogyny and misandry exist, I don't doubt sexualisation of people exists (to use an example from 'popular culture' you only have to look at the recent MTV Awards where Rita Ora ripped Zac Efron's shirt from his back while hundreds of women around the stage yelled 'take it off'; if a man had done that, it would have - rightly - been called 'sexual assault') .

However, too often these arguments tackle the face of the issue (this post has adopted a very data driven approach, which is the mindset of most talented search marketers) and so very rarely address the underlying root of the problems (they are also very one-sided, mainly because society lacks empathy for males in just about every context and has empathy for women in just about every context; it's often colloquially referred to as 'chivalry privilege'). 

Just because young professional men are paid £600 per year less than young professional women, doesn't mean there's systemic discrimination against men. Likewise, with the above. With all due respect to Larry Kim (and I mean that), data doesn't tell the full story here, far from it. 

Lastly, I wonder whether Wordstream would be brave enough to post about gender disparities in pay where men are disadvantaged? I could point some out - I could probably point out instances of longer working hours, greater risks and greater sacrifices taken, on AVERAGE, by men.

Some have mentioned that this post is 'brave', but I don't really see it as such - I see it as an easy conclusion and great brand building. It's not going to prove contentious for the vast majority of people because the vast majority of people find it easy to extend empathy to women. 

What do I really want? Equality. Not 'feminist' equality, TRUE equality. We won't ever achieve that while all that's ever discussed, talked about or publicised is one perspective of 'gender discrimination'. 

Thursday May 22, 2014

Larry Kim Said:

Hi, Gareth. honnestly i think you completely missed the point of this article. I didn't do a study on pay gaps. that was an external study conducted by another company that i just referenced. the point of this article was to use data (rather than speculation) to characterize a gender bias pertaining to *customer satisfaction* (not pay gaps). it might be worth reading the thing before commenting :)

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