The Workplace of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is about treating all groups fairly and supporting equal pay for equal work. Can we also open a gender equality dialogue in the rising self-media field and strive for fair treatment for all?

Before 2020, we loved physical events, listening to lectures, seeing exhibitions, and listening to sharing. When the epidemic arrived in 2020, we couldn't go out and had to keep our distance, so our fingers slipped and we came online to see the lives and creations of others.

But do you know what the gender ratio is for KOLs or self-media creators (hereinafter collectively referred to as self-media creators) who share content with audience listeners on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Spotify, or Instagram?

In this industry, it is actually mostly women.

In February 2019, European and American data showed that 77% of self-media creators were women and 23% were men; after one year, the proportion of women increased to 84% (Klear, 2020). In the "2021 Top 100 Influential Influencers Data Insight Report" released in August last year, the questionnaire survey also found that most of The Taiwan internet celebrities were women (62.6%).

If the above data is used as a basis, add what you have seen and heard in the past: when some companies or fields are dominated by men, men's salaries will always be higher than women's. Since women account for more women than men in the field of self-media creation, can we boldly assume that women's salaries in this field are higher than men's?

Not really.

European and American data show that although the return on investment promoted by self-media creators is high, the salary of female creators in 2020 is still less than $128 for men, and even compared with 2019, the gap between men and women has increased to 18% (Klear, 2020).

(Same scene plus: Michelle Williams moving speech: I am not talking about equal pay for equal work, but a real respect)

Analyze the reasons for compensation variances from the extrinsic and intrinsic contexts

Isn't it true that no one notices the data, and no one wants to stand up and say something?

In 2018, when the world's highest-paid YouTubers were all led by men, and the list was mostly male-majority, voices emerged to argue that the phenomenon was unhealthy and began to worry about the collective plight of women (Bergman, 2018). But four years later, there is still only one girl on the list (Brown & Freeman, 2022).

You can't help but wonder, where are the other girls?

Let's turn to the study data to find the answer.

A 2019 study conducted in the UK found that pay differences between genders can be attributed to two aspects, extrinsic and intrinsic (Josa, 2019a):

1. External state

  • Leadership culture
  • Inflexible working patterns within the enterprise

2. Intrinsic state

  • Imposter syndrome

The working mode of self-media creators is defined by themselves, excluding the flexible working mode, the external state is the environment in which they are located, as well as psychological factors or potential reasons.

(Recommended reading: Oprah is quite equal pay for equal work: either for women to raise wages, or I do not host )

Are society's requirements for female creators more stringent?

Self-media creators are facing the general public.

The success of their creation is often determined by whether the public likes it or not; the so-called performance evaluation is also defined by the public's rating in front of the keyboard.

Many times, society's standards for female creators are more stringent. Sociologists have also proposed research explanations for this phenomenon, which can focus on the following 2 phenomena attribution: the vision of the external environment and the recognition of their own value.

First, sociologist Brown (2019) found that people's judgments about whether works are creative or not also have gender errors.

Perhaps because of underlying gender stereotypes, the study found that a large number of men's ideas or their creative works were more creative, even the women involved in the study (Adams, 2015; Proudfoot, Kay, & Koval, 2015)。

Again, research has found that female self-media creators are more vulnerable to online criticism and harassment (Duffy & Hund, 2019).

According to a Cornell University study, 25 female Instagram creators in the United States and Canada often move carefully between "perceived as too real" and "different in reality and on Instagram."

This fear makes them cautious about promoting themselves online while also being careful to protect themselves (Duffy & Hund, 2019).

Like those female entrepreneurs or politicians in the male-dominated field, the image of creators working in self-media in front of everyone needs to meet the expectations of women in society, such as: works should not be too bold, low-key on social platforms, and the photos and texts uploaded must meet social expectations, etc., in fact, these expectations will stifle women's creativity (Eckert, 2018; Duffy & Hund, 2019)。

Finally, in the face of attacks and insults in the online world, women are more inclined to reduce the situation of being attacked by reducing exposure and contact.

These studies, which focused on female journalists, found that women turn on "evasion mode" to respond to online criticism and attacks, such as reducing their social contact with readers, changing the way they report or deliberately not choosing a topic, and considering quitting the press to reduce the number of online harassment and attacks (Carlson & Witt, 2020; Stahel & Schön, 2020)。

In summary, we can observe that female creators in the field of self-media, have to face the more stringent vision of women under the framework of gender.

The higher cost of women making mistakes, the need to be perfect, and always receiving the strict standard of "you are not good enough" also affects the perception of the value of female creators.

When the environment is more inclined to recognize the creativity of men's works, when women may internalize the value judgment that "they are not good enough", the pay gap between the sexes may widen as a result.

Imposter Syndrome: How good do you have to be to qualify for the salary you deserve?

Returning to the inner state, the "imposter syndrome" leads everyone to the painful pay gap between the sexes no matter what field they are in (Josa, 2019b; Young, 2020)。

2019 research data shows that women feel like they are not good enough or qualified enough (Josa, 2019a):

  • 37% of women would not offer a raise, even if it was what they deserved;
  • 51% of women, when faced with success in the workplace, attribute it to the strength of the team and directly ignore their own contributions;
  • 61% of women are afraid to come up with their ideas or speak up for fear of being criticized or finding out they're not that good.

These fears continue to overwhelm women's contributions and abilities.

When the results of the data analysis come out at the end of the year, the pay difference will be even greater.

And this phenomenon is a cycle that doesn't end: if we don't see representative figures or success models in our field who are similar in appearance, background, or personality, we continue to shrink ourselves down, continuing to doubt that we are not entitled to more or what we deserve (Nance-Nash, 2020).

This cycle, which has been going on for more than a century, has not ended.

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In the online world, let's roll up our sleeves and fight for pay differentials

And how do we close the pay gap we see?

Self-media creation is a career choice, so should we follow the corporate practices and promote the "equal pay for equal work" policy in the field of self-media? Or let corporate brands develop a habit of looking for self-media creators to assist in brand promotion, only look at their ability - their brand exposure and promotion price, and gender should have nothing to do with it.

If you want to completely fill this gap, you can also start with education.

In the cultivation of women, let them know that they really deserve the best treatment and treatment, and also encourage them to fight for their own interests.

At the same time, all genders are also trained to reduce "unconscious bias". Let them grow up from an early age and consciously observe whether their judgment is affected by gender.

The so-called Internet celebrities or self-media creators are the career choices that have become familiar in recent years. Like many new things, it takes time to grind and grow new attitudes.

Like the gender equality movement that has been walking, we thought that we had arrived at other sides and began to talk about more diverse gender identities, but when we came to new areas, we knew that there was still a long way to go.

So we need to be in the new world online, roll up our sleeves, prepare to fight, so that everyone who wants to become a self-media creator in the future can walk more comfortably on this road, feel their belonging here, and bravely propose "all they deserve"!