Seven Reasons Why Women Are Winning the Internet
1. Women are winning at education. As educational achievement increases across the U.S., women’s achievement growth is exceeding that of men in every demographic group—most notably at the highest income levels. Women are reaching adulthood better-equipped with the knowledge and experience to succeed at the wonky Web.
2. Women write differently than men. Women write longer, and more emotional, e-mails than men do. While that’s caused some credibility issues in male-dominated workplaces, it may give women an advantage as the social Web gains in importance in both the professional and personal worlds. A social media presence that people connect with empathetically may be more effective than a blandly functional one.
3. Women are more relational. The psychologist Carol Gilligan has documented how women approach moral decisions in relational terms, while men tend to make rule-driven decisions. If one group is better at detecting situation-specific relational cues than another, that group is going to do better in a medium defined by webs of relationships.
4. Women are better multi-taskers than men are. TweetDeck, Facebook, Tumblr, Gchat, all at once. Can’t handle it, dude? Too bad, so sad.
5. Women’s visual thinking is different than men’s. Though men on average test higher at spatial thinking than women do, women’s spatial intelligence—unlike men’s—is coordinated with verbal intelligence. Even if a guy might on average be better able to find his way out of a maze, a woman might be better at using images to communicate—an essential skill online.
6. Women are savvier consumers. Women’s decisions determine how the majority of disposable income in the U.S. is spent, and women are less easily persuaded by advertising than men are. As the consumer market moves online, women are keeping companies on their toes.
7. Women use the Internet more. Women spend 30% more time on the social Web than men do. You snooze, bros, and you lose.
Illustration by Mike Licht (Creative Commons)