Feckin' Women's Knickers! Girls! and SEO

With a name like SEO Chicks, I think it’s obvious that we’re trying to capitalize on being female in this industry. As some people have said, we’re not baby chickens. Sure some of them are blonde, like Lisa, but still…

Here are three reasons why I think that’s completely okay (to capitalize on the girl thing, not to be blonde like baby chickens)…

1. We happen to be biologically female and therefore entitled to use that however we want or need to, even if it means that people envision us having tickle fights in cheerleading outfits once the conferences are over. For the record, that has only happened twice.

2. We’re currently a minority in this industry, even if that’s slowly changing.

3. I got paid $20k less than my husband did for an agency we used to work for and we did the same damn thing AND I HAD MORE EXPERIENCE.

That being said, I’d like to address the topic of being a woman in SEO.

There is currently a ton of great dialog out there on the issue of being female in our industry. I’d like to point you to two particularly interesting pieces on this that my fellow SEO Chick Lisa showed me:

Sugarrae’s A Note To My Fellow Women of SEO
Kim Krause Berg’s Finding The Women in Tech and Women in Search

Both of these are really well-written and quite on point about all this, and I have to say that I agree with both points of view. I do wish that women never had to think of themselves as needing to prove something, but I also think that only a very small percentage of women have never had to do this, have never had to work harder for less money than a man would make or to prove their intelligence.

I like Rae’s point about not being impressed by someone just because she’s female. I’m not either. I like Kim’s point about how many companies will grab women employees because they can pay them less money though. I LOVE the fact that we have women who write really well putting their opinions out there, most of all. Like Rae, I don’t respect these women only because they’re women, but there’s a part of me that is a bit more proud of that fact. So throw a tomato at me when you see me. I can’t help it. I’m also proud when Sparklehorse sells a song to Volvo for a commercial. They’re such underdogs.

This is a really difficult topic for me to choose sides on, so I’m not going to, because I seriously do not currently feel that anyone I work with at the moment has any less regard for what I can offer just because I’m female. However, I think that is in large part due to the fact that I work with some incredibly fantastic people (except for Rob Kerry and his “little lady makes a good cup of tea” antics.) In my current state of employment (I co-own an SEO consulting firm with my husband and work closely with some amazing people over in London) I can safely say that I’ve never once felt that anything work-related with them had ANYTHING to do with my gender.

In a previous job, however, it was a very different story. As I mentioned above, I was more experienced in SEO AND the leader of the team yet I made quite a bit less than my husband made, working alongside me. I never made a huge deal out of it because the money was all coming into our household and I didn’t want to create problems by seeming like I was whining.

I hope that things like this aren’t going to continue happening. With all the people I know in this industry, I don’t think it will. I don’t want anyone to give me anything because I’m a woman, but I don’t want everyone to ignore the fact that even though they may not personally be the victim of gender bias, it still exists. I’m sensitive to the idea that if women do complain that they’re treated unfairly, it sheds a poor light on them, and it should be a last resort. Things aren’t always about gender, but you can’t assume that gender plays no role either. I’m also sensitive about being mistaken for a midget, though, and if I could get more money by being classified as one, I sure as hell would do it.

[Note: being a good girl and not wanting to deeply offend anyone, I’ve edited this piece after initially publishing a nastier draft of it. Pointing fingers really isn’t nice even if it IS deserved. ]