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We’re surely sailing through a raving sea that has lately been churning the ugly sides of sexism at work. It’s not really new to square up to the monumental wage gap in traditional jobs & business structures based on gender. But, what’s particularly interesting is how the perception behind designating freelance content creators plays out sometimes; the silent gender bias in the freelance industry. How we’re sort of cool when, regardless of the type of content they develop, women creators are callously labelled as just ‘bloggers‘ & men exactingly, as ‘content creators’.

Is there a silent yet strong gender bias in the freelance industry

Well, if you landed on this post as a freelance professional, welcome! And sit back with me as I share a tiny strand of perceptions in the burgeoning, ultra-competitive content industry. I thought of writing this from the space of my profession as a content creator than the wellness-driven individual you reckon with as the face of FitbeWell.

A Prelude to my freelancing journey

And if you’ve followed my work since over the past 2 years, you know that FitbeWell, is what I primarily stand by, as a person. It is a testament that I dedicate to creating discussions & awareness with my audience, who really think or want to think & act along my idea of health & wellness.

Nevertheless, over 4 and a half years ago, I decided to quit my full-time corporate job as a Software Trainer to just break out of the rut that I didn’t really want to be part of, for the next couple of years. Despite the salary hikes I could be expecting with time.

Not that I didn’t enjoy my job. But, you see, when at the end of every day, your mind starts to confront you for not exploring the other ‘skill’ you have, your nucleus does start to look blurred. Our daughter was still a toddler for whom I had thoughtfully delegated my parents to help us look after, as long as I had a regular job.

Within a year of blogging with a purpose & cumulating a decent readership, I also landed my first freelance writing gig offered at a rate that was pretty up to par for a beginner like me. And that occurred through a referral. So, I was probably in the better bracket for negotiating the fees towards my expectation (Well, that was my first, so I was merry!)

The Gender-induced Stereotype of Negotiation

While this went on for another few gigs, there was this one time when I was told the following after gently putting forward my pricing structure. Verbatim:

Oh, that’s way too much for a regular mom blogger. We’ve got people who are ready to do this for “__ INR”. Come on, all we are looking at, is a draft with a few color-coordinated creatives.

Appallingly, this had no premise of any ‘blog collaboration’ with me.

The personal brand was looking to hire freelance writers to write articles and design social creatives in-tandem for a quarter. No bylines & hence, no scope for the banal ‘exposure’ that they would offer me (with a smirk!). And yet, there was this pigeon-holing in action trying to codify me into just a blogger by virtue of being a mom.

Let me clarify that I’m specifically referencing experiences of female content writers (mums, specially); and not bloggers. Sadly, some brands & content hiring agencies try to instill a subconscious compartmentalization of women writers. This intends to exile them into the option of charging ridiculously less for any kind of services. Whether they’re doing it through their personal branding or not; regardless.

Is there gender bias against women freelance writers in pay gap

Mindset: the gender bias in the freelance industry

I’ve had my women peers sharing their account of gender bias in the freelance industry on a few occasions too.

For instance, quite a lot of content marketing businesses conveniently ignore the otherwise hyphenated job profiles a woman freelancer identifies with. She may be a freelance writer-content strategist-VA-influencer & potentially capable of handling multiple roles that the business would intend to hire her for. But all of it gets clubbed under a rather trivial moniker, “Mom-Blogger” or just “Blogger”.

Given that it’s not 2001 anymore, the perception about blogging being a parochial term for fancy- or hobby-blogging is questionable.

The Internet has gone through a billow of changes & evolution at the front of B2B & B2C marketing since the mid 2010’s. But dismally, it would be fair to say that the gender-based perception & wage-gap in freelancing is, more or less, similar across the Asian subcontinent. Specially, with respect to female freelance writers.

Oddly, their male counterparts are rightfully approached with the role they offer to the project & negotiated reasonably through their media kits.

the perception behind payment for women freelance content creators

The Mindset that SHOULD be

This gender bias in the freelance industry largely arises from a subliminal impulse that ‘assumes’ of women freelancers to generate income as:

  1. purely a side-kick or a ‘part-time’ passive income;
  2. an aspirational effort to supplement their full-time job income; or that of their spouse;
  3. the want of distinction by creating content via the feminine, AKA unapologetically sentimental way of storytelling for a brand.

BTW, look at this interesting POV too!

How a well-known productivity coach shares a clean & chip time-blocking chart for his followers on LinkedIn that has every other task of a freelancer’s day listed. WITHOUT a single chunk dedicated to planning household chores.

Well, that IS a subtle hint at the privelege that, sometimes, seems evasive to the women freelancing workforce. Isn’t it?

Crisply speaking, for a professional, freelance writing/content creation & blogging may be mutally exclusive or inclusive. And that definitely is not an artifice to any kind of bias based on gender. Unless there are professional incompetencies.

Gender Bias in the freelance industry is something that will continue to persist, should we keep balking that there is nothing beyond the intricate axis of both – writing & digital marketing.

Therefore, if you’re a freelance content creator, avoid putting your foot down at stubby pays or downplaying nature of work. Settle for nothing less than what you deserve for your quality. And you’re going to be the maestro of your art.

Blogger, Writer or a Fitness/Food Buddy; whatever you know me as, I’m just a comment away & am always keen to hear whatever you have to say or ask me! 😀

This post is part of #CauseAChatter for Gender Equality with Blogchatter

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