Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to expand my business to include working with a Fortune 500 Company, an outspoken celebrity and numerous bloggers and speakers. I’ve had the chance to work on new things that were outside of my comfort zone, from creating my first wine, to coding a new website to keynoting a conference – and yes, I’ve had a ball doing it.
But, you know what? I never once felt lucky because these great opportunities fell on my lap.
Because luck had nothing to do with it.
In fact, the only good fortune that I was blessed with was my classic overachiever personality, tenacity and the fact that I have such a hard time acknowledging that I might just possibly have limitations.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been disappointments along the way. No one is impervious to defeat. But at no point during any of the last 25+ years of my career have I ever felt that I was held back because I was a woman, nor do I feel like I’ve been rewarded for it either.
But lately, it seems that women are using their gender as an excuse for failure with so many of the “Woe is me, I’m a woman” articles and comments that are popping up in my “cyber-space”.
It pains me to see women choose to stereotype themselves — or worse, allow others to do it for them. It also surprises me that I still run into women that would rather perpetuate the male-female divide rather than support each other.
As an example, most recently, (and ironically), after delivering a keynote session at a women’s blogging conference, an attendee asked me if I thought my children suffered because I traveled quite a bit; with my son (who she was introduced to) standing right next to me. I’ve also been asked how I can live with myself leaving my children at home while I travel.
These are the types of questions that would have not likely been asked of me if I were a man and the type of comments that make it so very easy to preserve the inequalities that women have fought long and hard to end.
Now, I’m not saying that discrimination doesn’t exist at all. I’m simply saying that it’s negligible when it comes to business success or failure of the women in my circle — and dare I say affiliate marketing overall.
When I first started Affiliate Summit with Shawn Collins back in 2003, it definitely looked like an old boys club. But over the years, I’ve seen the audience evolve with more and more women playing key roles in the industry and within Affiliate Summit.
When I checked recently, I also found that our representation of women speakers directly correlates to the number of female attendees at Affiliate Summit. And, that’s a credit to the industry, as the speakers are voted in by their peers.
There are a lot more interesting statistics about the number of women and women-owned businesses in affiliate marketing located in the AffStat: Women in Affiliate Marketing report, we just released.
It is exciting to see that the affiliate marketing industry is much more evolved than others when it comes to celebrating skills and passion, regardless of gender.
Let’s keep it that way. OK?
[This blog post originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of FeedFront Magazine as the Editor's Note]