This International Women’s Day, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are top of mind.
Why? Well, women are expected to make up 47.2% of the workforce by 2024.
Yet even still, the gender pay gap still has a long way to go. Women’s wages were only 82.6% of the average man’s as of Q1 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
International Women’s Day focuses on a specific message each year, and this time it’s #BreakTheBias.
Employers cannot rely on their teams to naturally promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on their own.
It’s up to each and every one of us, from the front lines to leadership, to actively call out gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping where and when we see it.
What else can you do to nurture an inclusive culture in your organization – especially if it hasn’t been an area of focus before?
And how can you, as a woman in the industry, combat bias in their working relationships and situations?
These women in SEO and marketing have some tips to share with you.
Some are from the recent ‘Showstopping SEO: Women Making Waves‘ panel talk I attended, while others were shared with SEJ by email.
I hope each one inspires you to find creative ways to break the bias when you see it – and to recognize it more often as it happens.
Know The Value Of Your Skills
Julie Adams, Affiliate SEO
“Sometimes women are used as a buffer in the industry or in meetings.
Sometimes women are seen as the note-takers or a body double without providing any value to a conversation.
I busted my butt for 5-6 years learning SEO at an agency, managing 80-90 clients. Affiliate marketing was my way of making money without having to deal with clients.
I’m able to make money based on my skills and not my skills at keeping clients.
You have to exude confidence.”
You Determine What You Think You’re Worth. Then Double It.
Bibi Raven, Bibibuzz
Do you get nervous about asking for an increase or a rate you worry may scare off a prospective client?
“When showcasing your work to potential clients, try to be as transparent as possible. Show them, ‘This is how I work, this is what you’re getting, and manage expectations from there’.
I keep everything on my website so potential clients know what to expect. From there, I send them a questionnaire to see if they’d be a good fit.
You determine what you think you’re worth, then double it.
People sometimes see raising rates as a life or death situation. Surprisingly, if you raise your rate, you get better clients.”
Know Your Non-Negotiables
Cassandra Le, The Quirky Pineapple Studio
“Removing gender is a great start to inclusiveness when you’re writing. Refer to people as people.
With the way the world is currently moving, it’s better to be inclusive. There are a lot of people who identify with different genders, are more in tune with their identity.
The more inclusive you are, the wider the audience you can reach.
If you are a freelancer, sometimes your values don’t match your clients’ ideology or language. So think about what your non-negotiables are.
Sometimes, there are values that can be negotiated or flexible based on the situation.
Sometimes, it’s best to end a relationship with a client if they breach your non-negotiables.”
Get Used To Women In SEO Taking Space
Marie Ysais, Rule Your Rankings
“To be successful in SEO, being consistent is key.
Stubbornness is another quality to have. You can’t give up and have to want to keep going, no matter what.
Having a support system is so beneficial in this industry because you have a safe group of people to talk to, who you know will have your back.
Sometimes clients feel they know more than you do, yet they hire you. If I can’t run the show because they’re getting in their own way, I part ways with them immediately.
We need to speak up and be ourselves. Let’s get used to women in these positions and taking up space.”
Speak Up & Share Your Expertise
Kayle Larkin, Marketing Analytics Consultant
“I used a male pseudonym earlier in my career. I was a young woman in the space and it was challenging.
I also hid behind my agency name. When I started my own business, I didn’t want to be the face of the business.
The people I work with now want to work with me because of my skills. My alter-ego at the beginning of my own business was not respected as much as I am today.
Sometimes, what you think you’re getting out of doing actually provides the opposite effect.
Don’t be the note-taker. Be the speaker.
You’re going to be shaky, your heart will be pounding, but the more you speak up and show your expertise, the more people start to trust you and stop questioning everything you have to say.”
Challenge Your Own Biases – We All Have Them
Chiara D’Ambra, Clearpier
“Having gender balance and a diverse workforce is important, because the more diverse the group is, the more wisdom it contains.
Everyone has assumptions and biases, it is human nature. Unfortunately, they are not healthy and helpful.
That’s why awareness is so important.
Whenever I get caught in a bias, I try to switch perspectives and have a rational view of things.
Whenever someone is having a bias about me, I’m trying to not take it personally.”
Own Your Mistakes & Actively Move Your Career Forward
Alina Dobrzinsky, Spyke Media GmbH
“If you stand behind your work with passion and creativity you can achieve anything. Always follow your goals.
When we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses we can adapt better to different circumstances and positions.
We can only fully exploit our potential if we dare and aren’t afraid to take on responsibility.
Every woman should actively influence her career instead of waiting for others to do so. We do not have to be perfect as long as we do our best.
Don’t let setbacks or bad decisions lower your self-esteem. Everyone makes mistakes, including men.
Stand by your decisions and show passion for the job.
Be self-confident and open to learning new things, because, to continue to be successful in marketing, you should consider that technical understanding is increasingly required.
Always create an overview and stay ‘on top of things,’ and don’t be afraid of confrontation.”
Find Your Mentors
Iuliana Popa, Ads and More
“If you want a career in the tech industry, start as soon as possible. Be flexible and do the best you can.
Chase your idea no matter what and seek advice from people who started something similar or from those who achieved what you want to achieve.
And always remember nothing is perfect and you should not be too: problems happen, good things too.
Having someone who knows tech on your side is always a clever idea: it can be a tech person you hire, a good tech solution, or a tech advisor.
This is the industry of the present and because of that, it is very volatile.”
Go Where Your Talents Are Appreciated
Oleksandra Gipsh, Apptrust
I believe the best advice I could have given to my younger self is – don’t be afraid to speak up.
So often, our fears of being judged or misunderstood stop us from contributing with our opinion. I think this advice comes along with ‘don’t doubt yourself,’ as well.
All ideas are valuable and all ideas are worth hearing – and if your work environment doesn’t appreciate your input – you probably are in the wrong place.
I am happy & proud to be working in an environment where ideas are welcome – processes are there to be changed and developed.
My source of energy at work is people.
Seeing our team succeed, seeing our interns growing professionally – is what gives me joy at work.
I believe the main priority for me was building a true team and I love seeing how people connect and create true bonds at work.
Shatter Your Own Glass Ceiling
Yogeeta Chainani, Swaarm
“Confidence and self-trust are key qualities that I would attribute to success in any industry.
Women can be held back for a variety of reasons, including a lack of recognition and trust from colleagues and peers – but also by their self-doubt.
My most important piece of advice to them would be to shatter the glass ceiling of social norms and mindsets and to flaunt their self-assurance.
No one else will believe in them if they do not believe in themselves.
Thank you to each of the above women for their participation in this campaign and advocacy for DEI in the workplace!
We have a lot more work to do together.
IWD 2022 organizers ask that women do the following this year:
“Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources, presentation or articles on social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.”
You can learn more about IWD-approved charities, fundraising activities, and cause-related marketing on the official website.
- Women in SEO: How to Know Your Worth, Negotiate Raises & More
- I am a Woman in SEO: How I Create My Own Seat at the Table
- Link Building Q&A with Expert Women in Marketing & SEO
Featured image: Shutterstock/Southworks