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Being a Woman in a Technology Niche

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I am a woman in a tech niche… Is that good? Is it bad? Is it weird? Or… is it an advantage? Women in technology industries and niches aren’t all that uncommon, but when a member of the Video Pursuit Membership asked me about it, I thought it would make a great podcast episode and blog post. 

Listen to Episode 29: Being a Woman in a Technology Niche

Being a Woman in a Tech Niche

There are several nuances to being a woman in a technology niche. But, I have always been interested in careers that one might think of as being male-dominated.

I wanted to be a pilot when I was in middle school. I actually took flying lessons in a Cessna when I was 14. I learned a lot, like… I learned that I really didn’t want to be a pilot after all. My flight instructor went a little “acrobatic” during our lesson on day and I was done. That was the end of my aviation career!

So, I’ve never really been one to be put off by whether or not a career or hobby is typically seen as a female thing or a male thing.

So when Stacey, a Video Pursuit Member, mentioned being a mom in a tech space on YouTube and in blogging, at first I thought, “eh, what’s special about that? That’s totally normal… right?” But on second thought, I can definitely see that this is a topic worthy of discussing.

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For readers who (specifically talking to bloggers, content creators, YouTubers here) felt you are, in some way, the odd ball of your niche, this episode is for you.

Is Being a Woman in Technology an Advantage or a Disadvantage?

Back when I was a fairly new YouTuber (2015), I got a Facebook message from a guy who wrote, “Hi Meredith, I saw that you’re part of GoPro’s influencer program. Can I ask how you applied or what the process was to become part of their program?”

And I responded that I didn’t apply for anything, GoPro had simply emailed me and asked. I went on to explain that I create a lot of GoPro-related content, publishing every week on my blog and YouTube channel. I told him that many people are creating YouTube videos with a GoPro camera, but they’re not necessarily creating content that teaches and inspires people to use a GoPro, and I think that’s why I was on GoPro’s radar.

His response was, “You use a GoPro and you’re not a guy, but a mom… Moms in technology are like goldmines for influencer programs.” 
At first I laughed and I responded, “yeah maybe that had something to do with it…” and then it kinda sunk in that he was suggesting that nothing I created on my blog or my YouTube channel, the content I had created, the community I had built… none of that mattered. What mattered was my gender (and not even my gender, but my childbearing status). He had essentially written off all the work I had done–any value I may have created–and replaced it with ‘you must have an advantage because you’re a woman who has children.’

Related: 10 Things I wish Bloggers Know about YouTube

Then, about a year ago, I was talking to a male friend of mine who asked me how my channel was doing. We had a good conversation but then he said, “it must be hard being a woman in the tech industry.”

Before I could respond he started listing reasons why ‘it must be hard.’ 
I thought this was interesting because, he wasn’t asking me if is it hard, he was telling me, it MUST be hard and he had lots of reasons why he thought it must be hard.

So, he was claiming the exact opposite… that if you’re a woman in technology, you’re at a disadvantage.

So… which is it, gentlemen… Are woman at an advantage or a disadvantage?

Is there a shortage of female influencers in the technology space?

I don’t know if it’s true or false that tech companies are desperate for mom or female influencers.

But I choose to believe that brands and companies choose who they work with based on the quality of content and audience connection. We talked a little bit about that in the previous episode #28 with Jenny Melrose. Ultimately, it’s not really so much about YOU as a creator, it’s about your audience.

The way I feel about it is that if being a female puts me at an advantage, then so be it. If being a mom helps me to make an impact in other people’s lives, then I’m ok with that.

I have said before that I believe in some ways being a woman doing GoPro tutorials is a little bit of an advantage when it comes to things like thumbnails. Because if my face or even my hands (my painted fingernails are in my video thumbnails), they’re going to stand out as being different in a sea of men. It’s not a gender thing, it’s about being different in a sea of sameness. I’m ok with that! It doesn’t matter what the niche is and what the advantage is… you need to stand out and be unique in a sea of sameness to get people’s attention.

So it’s a bit of a double edged sword. If you feel you have an unfair advantage in your niche or your industry, you should be using it to impact other people in a positive way. And if you are someone who feels that you have a limitation or a disadvantage in your niche or industry, whether it’s for gender reasons or how you look or talk or what your opinions and beliefs are, the point I want to make here, is that I think you need to look at it differently.

Remember: Limitations are like ghosts. They only exist if you believe in them.

And I would like to hear from you on this topic… are you in a niche where you’re kind of different than the other creators? Tell me about it by shooting me a DM on Instagram or come into the Video for Bloggers and Content Creators FB group and sound off with us in there as well.

To listen in on this entire episode, please listen to episode 29 of the Video Pursuit Podcast in iTunes, or your favorite podcast player. 

Women In Technology