Hashtag Feminism Putting #WomenontheMap


These days, social conversations reverberate quickly around the globe on social media, spawning the term “hashtag activism.” Within that genre, hashtag feminism is alive and well (there’s even a web site, hashtagfeminism.com, that comments on the most viral tags). Earlier this month, I pointed out that the #internationalwomensday theme for 2015 was #MakeItHappen, which thus allowed people to search for this tag to learn about what events were taking place on IWD2015 around the world.

Some of the most popular recent women’s empowerment hashtags have been protests against misogyny (#NotBuyingIt, #GirlsCount, #WomenShould, #YesAllWomen and its corollary #AllMenCan) or calls to support and amplify female voices and change agents (#AllinforHer and #ChangetheRatio are two of the most well-known).

There are three new hashtags, though, that I’d like to point out – as they have the potential to dominate the “airwaves” in the months to come:

1. @UN_Women’s #HeforShe, a call for men to rally and join in on the fight for gender equality. This hashtag campaign was launched by Gen Y’s feminist heroine, Emma Watson. (Check out her eloquent address at a recent United Nations event below.)

2. The Clinton and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations’ recent launch of the No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project report, a data- and video-driven web portal (and, oh yes, a report) launched with great fanfare at a splashy event on March 9, with its accompanying #NotThere social media campaign featuring well-known portraits, magazine covers etc. with women missing – making the point that we’re not there yet with respect to gender equality. Check out the humorous short video illustrating that point.

3. A grassroots, youth-led effort by SPARK Movement to put #WomenontheMap – literally. This group has partnered with Google to map the locations of important women in history around the work on Google’s FieldTrip app. The app will notify users when they are near a landmark location. What a fantastic concept – and there’s room for more. SPARK asks for our help in sharing with them important women (no longer living) to add to the app. Let’s let them have it, shall we? Learn more here.

Women Business Owners Embrace Social Media Marketing

A new survey from the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute shows that women business owners place higher value and are significantly more likely to embrace social media marketing tools than are their male counterparts. The newly-released research report, “Prioritizing the Value of Technology to America’s Small Business Owners: Assessing the Importance of Software, Company Websites and Social Media,” finds that:

“Gender differences regarding the importance of technology are striking. According to The Guardian Life Index, women small business owners are far more likely to embrace technology in all its forms and applications than their male counterparts. Significantly, women entrepreneurs value social media at three times the level of male small business owners. The Institute’s research has previously shown that women entrepreneurs are more customer-focused and more likely to incorporate community into their business plans than male small business owners. These traits may explain why women small business owners are more inclined to embrace new tools like social media to engage with customers and build communities of interest.”

The study also finds that use of social media tools is much higher among younger business owners, and declines with age, and that usage rises along with company size.

Here are some of the most striking gender differences uncovered in the survey. Respondents were given a list of items and asked to rate them on a scale from -10 to +10. When asked “What matters most to you in business when it comes to technology, such as software your company uses and its websites, as well as what is commonly called “social media”?

Statement Total Avg. Men Women
Using ‘social media’ as a tool for communicating about our company 0.8 0.5 1.6
Using ‘social media’ as a way to find out about prospective clients or prospects 0.8 0.5 1.6
Using ‘social media’ as a business building tool 0.7 0.4 1.4
Using ‘social media’ as a means of personal growth and development 0.7 0.5 1.3
Using ‘social media’ as a way to find out more about the marketplace 0.6 0.4 1.2
Using ‘social media’ as a way to learn more about our competitors 0.5 0.3 1.0

And, speaking of social media, the study release was accompanied by a YouTube video (click on link below) profiling how one woman business owner is using technology tools in her business, as well as a podcast interview with Institute director Mark Wolf.

To learn more about the study, CLICK HERE to read the news release, CLICK HERE to read a brief executive summary of the study, or CLICK HERE to download the 12-page survey summary report.

The research was conducted online in June 2010 among 1,200 small business owners with between 2 and 99 employees, and focusing on 12 industry sectors, 9 regions and 4 key states. The sample was pulled from a Harris Interactive panel pool of respondents, so the sample is likely not representative of all small business owners – it is likely to be more tech-savvy than average. Nonetheless, the differences seen within this sample are quite noteworthy.