South Africa dedicated the month of August to women in order to remember all those women who marched to the Union Buildings on the 9th of August in 1956 in order to protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women, and fight for their freedom and equal rights!

Why women rule the webSo, with the ‘Month of Women’ almost at an end, I thought it was only appropriate to dedicate an article to the wonderful gender that I’m lucky to be a part of!

With all the amazing statistics and numbers we see concerning the web and social media, no-one ever really questions the battle of the social sexes and who actually wins! One would think that, because the internet was started by the male of the species, it would remain to be dominated by them, right? Wrong!

Women – kings of the worldwide social web

As TechCrunch put it, “female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest growing, and most valuable consumer internet and e-commerce companies. Especially when it comes to social and shopping, women rule the Internet.

According to statistics, 57% of Twitter users and 60% of Facebook users are women, and 68.2% of users on Pinterest are female as well; while men tend to dominate sites like LinkedIn by 55% to 45%.

It’s said that women spend 30% more time on social platforms and 55% of mobile social network usage is by women as well. Women also seem to keep the ‘e-conomy’ going as they spend the most on e-commerce sites like Groupon, Zappos, and Amazon!

Male-Female Ratio online


Women drive online activity

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, also stated that women “drive 62% of activity in terms of messages, updates and comments, and 71% of the daily fan activity”. She even goes as far as saying that “if females had not adopted it in the early days, [she] wonders if Facebook would be what it is today”!

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO
Sheryl Sandberg on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek

And what about the social gaming world? … Yip, you guessed it – women!

This serves as a friendly prediction and warning to all those male-oriented and dominated companies out there: the desire to get women involved in the high-tech industry is not slowing down – and we seem to be catching up rather quickly too! Prime examples include:

1. Yahoo’s new female CEO, Marisa Mayers.

2. The successful Girl Geek Dinners founder, Sarah Blow.

3. Leading lass and founder of Lifehacker, Gina Trapani, who also founded a social media insights engine called ThinkUp, a text-based task manager called Todo.txt apps, and a data-driven website about the gender pay gap called Narrow the Gapp! As if that’s not enough, Gina also hosts a podcast called In Beta, which is about open source, web-based, mobile and social apps, AND she has a web show called This Week in Google, which covers the latest news about the cloud and Google!

Gina Trapani, Lifehacker
Gina Trapani and Lifehacker featured in WIRED magazine.

4. BlogHer is one of the biggest blogging communities that create opportunities for more than 40 million women who blog about anything and everything – and women in South Africa are slowly catching onto the trend as Women24 is South Africa’s largest online women’s community!

Women more social than men?

Women can thank their ‘womanly-ways’ as being the reason for taking to social media more than men. Women are seen to be more social, more concerned with relationships and connections; we tend to be better at multi-tasking, and prefer researching – or window-shopping – more before making that final decision!

Social media is built on sharing so it only makes sense that women accepted it so readily. Women feel more connected to the rest of the world when spending time on these platforms and turn to social media for decision making due to the fact that we’re able to see reviews and recommendations made by people that we usually know (or have heard of).

Recommendations are always seen to be more valuable when it comes from someone we know. Women are also turning to the web more often as we’re able to get information and tips on just about anything – from friends and family, as well as industry experts! Let’s face it, what woman wouldn’t buy jeans that Heidi Klum recommended, or what family wouldn’t want their mom to cook a ‘Gordon Ramsay-inspired’ meal for dinner!?

Women online consumersHow to reach that untapped market

So the next time you think about who you should be directing your marketing campaign to, consider women – if they fit into your overall target market. Ensure that you understand our complexities, by taking the time to learn how we use the internet, what we use it for, and where we go online to get what we want.

For example, it’s stated that the top five topics that women search for online are Health, Apparel, Family/Parenting, Food, and Beauty/Fashion. If you sell or address any of these topics, then it would be to your advantage to get online asap!

I’m guessing that the creators of social media were listening rather closely when the author Harriet Beecher Stowe said that “Women are the real architects of society” … perhaps the rest of society should be listening too.