This is a guest post by SEOBitch
So all the buzz about SMX Advanced was about how dark it was. But there was another thing extremely noticeable to me too, and that is how seriously under-represented women were at the conference. Someone pointed out a few weeks before we all made our second annual pilgrimage to Seattle that there were hardly any women listed on the panels on the SMX agenda. Now, we all know how things change and like half the speakers end up not being added until the week before. So I kinda filed it away with the things that make you go hmmmmm and promptly forgot about it. Forgot about it, that is, until the conference was underway and it was like stepping back in time. Where were the chicks?
It seems that Danny Sullivan believes there are no women capable of speaking on Advanced SEO. Looking at the schedule, there are about five women panelists (not including the moderators, which were mostly SMX/SearchEngineLand/Sphinn peeps anyway) and most of the female speakers who were asked to speak presented about advanced advertising not advanced SEO.
So where the hell were the women? Is this 1970 when women stayed home with the kids while they lovingly sent their husbands off to work? Should we go put on our aprons and dust the countertops with flour for bread making? Because Danny must not think women are capable of breadwinning in the SEO world since none of the top SEO women I know were asked to speak.
Even the audience was skewed way more to the male side (although granted, some of them do look asleep). Heck, SEOMoz accounted for most of the hot chicks in attendance. At previous conferences in the SEO conference circuit it has felt much more gender even, while at SMX Advanced they were far and few between, if you didnâ€™t count the booth babe types loitering around the expo hall with their botox and silicone. Heck, even Matt Cutts was surrounded solely by men.
Then you have Gray Wolf who was criticizing BlogHer for the fact you have to be a chick to speak, going so far as to call it sexual discrimination. Well, it is any surprise when you have supposed industry leading conferences like SMX which is really more like Search Male Experts than Search Marketing Experts? What SMX did is far worse than a conference that has openly called itself a conference for women. I am not a â€œgirls rule, boys droolâ€ female by any stretch of the imagination. But when Danny Sullivan is making it rather clear through his choice of speakers that when it comes to SEO that males are far superior to females, why shouldnâ€™t there be a BlogHer to counter balance that just a bit?
To be fair, sure, maybe there was a whole crew of women who were asked to speak at Seattle but for whatever reason couldnâ€™t make it. And I am not asking anyone to pick a girl based upon the fact she has boobs instead of a dick, base it on skill level. But I heard from many who werenâ€™t even asked to speak in the first place, women who I consider to be top SEOs in the industry and the same women that many males consistently talk about as being the best of the best. I am not going to call any names out because a quick Google/Yahoo/Live search will show who people feel are the top females in the industry but letâ€™s just say I was rather surprised.
Will the next Advanced Search Male Expo be as skewed towards being an Old Boyâ€™s Club with the girls on the outside looking in? Only Danny Sullivanâ€™s glass ceiling knows that. But it is a sad state of internet marketing when one of the most respected and recognized people in the industry obviously feels that women just arenâ€™t cutting it in the world of SEO.