False is my answer to this question, but I think we have some work to do to raise the profile of women podcasters.
Here's why: I just read Steve Friess' report for Wired News. In "Women Warm the Podcast Bench," Friess reports from the Portable Media Expo and Podcasting Conference that women were missing in action there and, some men suggest, throughout the podcasting space:
"...Just 15 percent of the 2,000 attendees were women, show organizer Tim Bourquin said.
It turns out even the president of Women in Technology International, which had a booth at the show, is a man. David Leighton said his mother founded the group, and he has since taken over.
Leighton said he believes the male skew is largely due to the newness of the medium and the fact that many of the most popular podcasts focus on, uh, podcasting.Any of these new, cool mediums tend to attract guys at first," he said. "Right now, it's technology for technology's sake. Once we see more practical uses, we'll start seeing more women. It was that way with the internet and e-mail usage, too."
Some startling statistics reported at the conference bore out this suggestion. Leo LaPorte, host of one of the most popular podcasts, This Week in Tech, said in a keynote address that his audience is 97 percent male, according to market research. Yahoo senior product manager Joe Hayashi said 85 percent of folks who use the search engine's recently released podcast directory are men."
Now, I'm not surprised that LaPorte's audience is primarily guys and I don't know where Yahoo has advertised their podcast directory or how they guesstimate traffic by gender. And don't get me started on how often women attendees and speakers are outnumbered by men at tech conferences, or the rude snub Podcaster Wendy Malley describes in Friess' lede. Finally, I know plenty of women who, contrary to Leighton's assertion, embrace technology for technology's sake. <Sigh> Let's move on.
What worries me is that just because women didn't show up on that radar at podcasting's inaugural conference doesn't mean we aren't podcasting. It means the guys at that conference don't know us. And Friess cannot report what he doesn't hear or doesn't know.
I think it's time for BlogHers to add to the record, as two woman have already done at the bottom of Friess' article. "That may have been the representation from the conference, but I for one have seen many, many female-hosted and produced shows," writes Commenter graytmiller. "Last time I checked, I was female, and I have a podcast (via http://descriptionto.blogspot.com) that I put together by myself, and while Quirky Nomads (http://quirkynomads.com) is about a family, the mother, Sage, podcasts solo most of the time," writes Commenter valerieto. (Read their whole comments here.)
Amen. I feel I know of and listen to many, many women working in the pod- or audiocasting space. For example, I strongly recommend Amy Gahran's Women in Podcasting: The List, where she describes and links more than 100 women. A handful of these women do shows with male partners, but only a handful.
And, hey, I owe Amy an email, since she doesn't have some podcasts I recommend, such as Audible Althouse, Supreme Court Watch Podcast and Weezy and the Swish. Fortunately, Friess himself recommends the newly sponsored Mommycast by Paige and Gretchen, as well as Malley's GabberJaw.
Can you help add to this list with your favorites? Better yet, can you share any additional stats about women and podcasting? What do you think of this article?
UDPATED: BlogHer Jan Kabili also picks apart some of the data represented in Friess' article in this post. Not only that, she uses BlogHer's attendance as evidence that women are indeed "interested in and participating in blogging." Keep stirring the pot, Jan.