As a white cis man what International Women’s Day needs is me wading in with my size 10s!
Let me start by helping those who say “But when’s International Men’s Day?” – its the 19th November. You can find out more about that here.
#ChooseToChallenge – The Theme for IWD2021
This year’s theme is very pertinent to as it is an area where I can help to make a difference in all aspects of my life. I hope to outline in this blog-post things that I can do and hopefully you’ll be able to find ideas that support #IWD2021.
Challenging The Blogging World
The internet has been both a blessing and a curse for women. It has given a level playing field as anyone can set up a blog/youtube channel/podcast/Instagram account. On-line you can choose whether you want to identify yourself and it allows you to self-identify with nothing more than you ‘saying’ it. Unfortunately the level of anonymity can give some users a feeling of safety where they feel able to attack women for no reason except they are women.
One of the things I do when I see it is report ‘troll’ accounts. I do it without commenting or retweeting and move on. I can imagine that if women tried to report all the harassment they experience online they would spend the whole day doing it. Its a small task I can complete that hopefully the social media companies (as well as other platforms) take action on and it helps make the internet a better place for everyone.
Challenging the Workplace
Always a hard one for some people because workplaces are often thought of as a ‘gladiatorial-type’ location where you have to ‘beat’ other people if you want to progress. In my professional realm (outside of blogging) I work in an industry that appears to have a good split between men and women. This is based on attending industry events but also looking at the Industry Body; where out of 24 positions that can be held, 15 of them are held by women – including the president.
It is great that my industry not only feels inclusive but also can be seen to all members that it is not a ‘boys club’. Are there things you could do to help encourage and support inclusiveness but, more importantly, challenge areas where it would appear that inclusiveness hasn’t been ‘included’?
Areas where you can easily make a difference in an office is by making sure that everyone’s voice is heard and listened to, ensuring that gender stereotypes are not re-enforced, and raising to higher management where there is a gender imbalance.
Blogging For Everyone
Blogs can be anonymous but a review of the blogs that I follow show a fairly even split with it a bit more weighted toward women bloggers. My blog has a ‘blog roll’ that sits on the front page of the blog and links to 4 blogs that I follow. 3 of them are women and only 1 is a man. They are blogs I’ve enjoyed reading and so added them to the front page of my blog as a way of showing my support. Have you checked out who you follow online?
The Money Blogging world is a rich tapestry of lots of different bloggers. There are niches if you want niches and there are general money bloggers if that is your thing. One of the great things is that there are no barriers to entry and there are multiple entry points. There are people who just publish on YouTube, those who have their own self-hosted blogs, those who use hosted sites and people who only blog via Instagram. None of these have a male/female block at the start which prevents you from starting up.
My Blogging Luminaries
Whether they know it or not, a number of people have inspired me on my blogging journey. Some inspired me to take my first step in blogging, some have helped to keep me motivated on the way, and some have helped me focus what it is I want from my blog. I’m going to recognise some of those people now;-
My First Blogging Step
A few bloggers helped to convince me to take that first step into the blogging world. Today I’d like to publicly say thank you to Katy from Katy Kicker. I ‘met’ her on a forum, after I was introduced to that forum by following another money-making forum member on MSE – Skinny Latte. There was a whole money-related-online-world that I had no idea about. Katy was very kind, honest, and open about her experiences being a blogger. Her encouragement made me feel like the low cost of investment to start up a blog would be easy to recoup and could grow loads.
Branching Out – YouTube
Once I felt my blog had become established I looked for a community that wasn’t about ‘money making’ but about ‘blogging about money’. Eventually I landed at the UK Money Bloggers Network. This community has been very welcoming and has had a good mix of established and new blogs (such as mine). I really wanted to try other media as part of my blog and Jennifer from MamaFurFur was sharing some of her hints and tips about getting into YouTube. I’ve always had a face for radio however the encouragement from Jen to ‘just start’ convinced me to start filming my own YouTube videos.
The blogging world is both very populated and very lonely! Being part of communities helps but I do reach out to other bloggers for support when I have questions or want to talk through things. A friendly ear has been Chammy from ChammyIRL who I’ve been able to chat about all sorts of things.
Outside the Money World
I’ve always enjoyed using Twitter to chat with people. When I moved to London I did a search for ‘South London Bloggers’ and came across a user called ‘NerdAboutTown’ that sounded cool so I gave them a follow. Stephanie Yaboah has moved away from that Twitter Handle to her actual name – @Stephanie Yaboah – and last year published a book! Occasionally we chat about South London things on twitter, be it a restaurant recommendation or discussions about why the Brixton line doesn’t go further south.
Responsibility in Blogging (and life)
When I started my blog it was just about making money online and over the years it has grown into what you see before you. During that time I’ve changed and I wanted to make sure my blog reflected me. Sara from The Debt Camel is a member of the UK MoneyBloggers community and her focus on debt, and the support of people in debt, helped me re-evaluate what I wanted from my blog. Her blog has topics that help loads of people who can be at various stages of their debt journey. Sara also gives her readers the content they are looking for – a simple premise but forgotten by many.
Now this section could be massive but I’d like to call out a couple of bloggers I met at the Shomos (UK Money Bloggers Awards). Marie from Broke Girl in the City introduced herself to me and we had a good chat about blogging in London and the rewards/challenges that come with that. Randomly Marie, Sara and I appeared together on Andy Webb’s CashChats podcast. I didn’t know that Sara/Marie would be there so it was great to see them and catch up.
We All Rise Together
The final blogger I’d like to recognise on International Women’s Day 2021 is Maria from The Money Principle. I met Maria as part of the UK Money Bloggers network and it is always fascinating listening to her speak. She has live a life so the stories and tales will keep you engaged! Most importantly, Maria has a passion for furthering the discussions around money and the relationship people have with money. During the Corona Virus pandemic she also released a book – Never Bet on Red – and discussed with the UK Money Bloggers community how she wrote it and, more importantly, WHY she wrote it.
What Next For International Womens Day?
From a personal perspective I need to continue to look for areas where I can help promote greater equality for women. Approximately half the population of the world is female but if you took a snap-shot of society in general, you’d certainly not think that is the case. As much as it is important to recognise the role-models that the media shares, we should also look to support those around us in less public places.
I’m reminded of this exchange between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence. Has an old white man NEVER thought his opinion is the most important one in the room? I’m not sure he expected to be ‘reminded’ by Kamala that she was speaking and it is rude to interupt her but it was, and she did. And did it so excellently that some people have said this cost him greatly in the VP debate.
We aren’t all Kamala Harris or Mike Pence but we can make sure that every future Kamala is given the oppertunity to speak and be heard and listened to. #ChooseToChallenge is pushing back to make sure that women’s voices are heard, listened to, and respected. If you work in a male dominated industry then perhaps you’ve seen a ‘Mike Pence’. The Patriachy has existed for more generations than you can count because it has remained unchallenged in the majority of situations. As an Ally I commit to #ChooseToChallenge where women aren’t being given greater equality – both in the blogging world and my corporate work. Hopefully you can join me to make all spaces inclusive and challenging when that is not the case.