By Skye Gilkeson
“Who run the world? Girls!” - Beyonce
Media is a funny business to be in. For a woman, it can be a world littered with contradictions. You report on game changing female leaders one minute, Kim Kardashian's selfie technique the next, and then there's the perennial gender inequality stories. As a female journalist, you enter this world with eyes wide open. In the traditional sense it’s still a very male dominated environment. Some female journalists become disillusioned by that, some chip away at the glass ceiling, and the rest work within the bounds. But this isn't another one of those articles.
Instead, I wanted to share my excitement about the opportunities for all journalists, particularly women, in the online space. There’s no rule book in the blogosphere. You can be judged on your looks here, but only if you choose to be. Body proud? Throw up a bikini selfie. Great writer? Write about anything you like (as a journalist, I ask that you do your research first). It seems there are a lot of people out there with something to say (Wordpress alone grew by almost 120% last year). This brave new world of blogging is dominated by women. Most are aged 18-35, many are mums and most have tertiary qualifications. So, often it’s a case of women writing for women. Why is that? Marketers have been targeting the grocery buyer for years. But these days the grocery buyer is often also the career woman, carer, mother, wife, fitness enthusiast, cook or business owner. They are also facing a lot of common issues. The internet is often the fastest way the busy modern woman can discuss those issues, access health advice, buy clothes, do the grocery shopping and run a business, from the one spot. It’s all about working smarter.
With so many women online It’s also the perfect space to build the so-called sisterhood. I’ve worked in a number of different work environments and I have had incredible female mentors and some nasty female combatants. But like queen Beyonce herself, I would love to see girls run the world one day and perhaps we can spark that change online.
One woman who arguably runs the online world and understands the web economy better then most is Arianna Huffington. She created The Huffington Post in 2005. The site remains one of the most read in the US - overwhelmingly by women. AOL acquired the Post for more than $350 million in 2011. Huffington remains President & Editor-in-Chief and this year was named by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world.
Our own Sarah Wilson is also proof that both a blog and a journalist can now become a brand. A career print journalist, Wilson took the precarious step from magazine editor, to blogger and has since established herself as a best-selling author since she “quit sugar” and wrote all about it on her website. So why do women have so much appeal on the internet? Well, it really is a different interface. Blogging opens a dialogue, it’s not a one-sided discussion like conventional media. Women have opinions, they have questions and they want to be heard. A big factor in Wilson’s success has been through the very personal story she shares with the reader; on her health battles, on sugar and even her love of bike riding. Her message resonates with everyday women; from the A-type career woman, to a busy mum battling with balancing her diet. Most importantly, she’s honest.
It’s with the same enthusiasm that I am embarking on a dual-career of sorts. I recently launched a website. It allows me to share my love of health, wellness, travel and extraordinary people. We know the online world is a playground for the passionate, so I am hoping the journey gives me the same feeling of fulfilment as it has to so many others.
Skye Gilkeson is an award-winning journalist who has worked at top Australian media outlets including 60 Minutes and Sunrise. She is also the creator of health, wellness and travel hub, The Fit Traveller. She loves healthy food, exploring exotic destinations, running and she is a strong advocate for sarcasm.