It takes a courageous man to tackle gender issues. It’s even more courageous when he does so in terms of how women could possibly be better writers than men. Our chum Jake Poinier dives in with a style that is, well, purely Jake, which is to say purely entertaining and thought-provoking. Jake, you have moxie. And thank you for your fearless entry into gender-related waters.
By Jake Poinier
What I’m reading: The Ebony Tower by John Fowles
What’s on the iPod: “Guys Like Me” by Aimee Mann
Note: The following post contains generalizations, leaps of faith, stereotypes, and unscientific assumptions, does not necessarily reflect the views of management, and should be used for entertainment purposes only. Guest blogger Jake Poinier runs Boomvang Creative Group to pay the bills, the Dear Dr. Freelance advice column for fun, and trusts Lori is having a blast away from the daily grind.
As a guy freelance writer, it can seem somewhat lonely. I realize full well that “data” isn’t the plural of “anecdote,” but the fact is that I can count my male freelance writer/editor friends on two hands, whereas my female friends and acquaintances who freelance number into the dozens, maybe triple digits. About three-quarters of the respondents to the 2010 “Freelance Forecast” survey were identifiable as women.
Which brings me to the question: Are women better at freelance writing?
As an editor, I started out in the golf industry, which heavily skewed toward male editors hiring male writers. When my career later diversified into healthcare, business, and other custom publishing topics, my freelance stable diversified, too. It was an eye-opening experience, from which I drew a couple of conclusions about why women are often well-suited to the profession:
Better communicators. Yeah, I know — it’s trite. But it’s true. My experience is that women do a better job of listening, follow-up, etc.
More skilled writers. Perhaps the best way I can visualize the male/female divide here is that they exist in two separate bell curves. It’s not that all women are better, but it’s a larger talent pool and on average it’s easier to find a skilled writer. (Clearly, those results will vary based on topic matter.)
Deadline adherence. Women care more about this. As an editor, it’s valuable.
Learning from each other. Our very own Words on the Page is a great example of sharing ideas that can help us do our jobs better. Again, 100% anecdotally speaking, it seems like more women blog about writing and participate in discussions about it.
As entrepreneurs, we have a lot more in common than we do differences. Our field of freelancing requires a balance between the savvy to get the business, and the writing and editing skill to retain it. That, of course, transcends gender…and I’ll confess, I don’t mind being outnumbered.
Do you think that women are generally more suited to freelancing? Or do you think there’s another explanation for the female/male ratio that I’ve described? If there are any guys out there, please de-lurk and comment!