just the facts ma'am

Allseeing EyeI’d like to add a few observations based on my last piece of detective work, and other similar projects I’ve tackled regarding re-adjusting the representation of women in creative fields.

I’ve often been frustrated at how difficult it is to discover basic information like how many women work in a certain field with any accuracy. Wikipedia, for instance, is very inconsistent with its category listings, and more importantly:

Women creators are often not listed in Wikipedia, or their entries are insubstantial.

This exacerbates the perceived ‘lack’ of women in a field. If someone can’t Google the information and get a quick answer in the top ten entries then an assumption arises that women are not present in the industry.

Equally, I’ve noticed that women exhibit a marked reticence on their own web sites to supply a simple biography that clearly states the projects they have completed and are working on. (A huge Thank You to those who do.)

I understand artists and writers are busy, but it’s worthwhile remembering that web sites and blogs must be kept up-to-date.

There’s nothing wrong with writing an amusing, whimsical bio, but please also supply a few words about your background and work. Seriously, it’s a huge help when a complete stranger comes to your site looking for basic information.

If you are too embarrassed to write a straightforward biography (it’s my least favourite task) then ask a trusted, articulate friend to write it for you.

In general I’ve noticed that women are often uncomfortable stating their achievements, and either laugh it off or play it down. Of course, some men feel this way too, but it’s a trait far more prevalent in women. Most men are happy to list everything they’ve ever done on their web sites. And why not? It’s part of the purpose of the web site.

If you’d like a piece of homework then please make sure you have a clear About/Bio section on your site, and the information on it is current and straightforward.

Artists: I know you love your Flash sites, but consider also supplying a simple text bullet list of your projects that’s easy to read (and copy and paste). It’s a bit annoying to have ‘roll-over’ icons that are not clearly identified. It’s especially frustrating if the web site reader is trying to collect information across a number of locations (as I just had to do).

Everyone: consider putting your information together for a Wikipedia entry. It’s not a sign that you’ve sold out or you have a runaway ego. Keep it simple and factual, but get the information out there.

This is the part women have within their power. Grasp it and use it to its most mighty effect!