Aug 19, 2009

Where are Australia’s female political bloggers?

Something Crikey Editor Jonathan Green asked this morning on Twitter got me thinking. He asked: serious question: why don't women (proportionally the unbalance is weird) su

Possum Comitatus — Editor of Pollytics

Possum Comitatus

Editor of Pollytics

Something Crikey Editor Jonathan Green asked this morning on Twitter got me thinking. He asked:

serious question: why don’t women (proportionally the unbalance is weird) subscribe to crikey?

We see the same things with political blogs in Australia – the ratio of male to female comments here ranges between about 4 to 1 on a good day, through to 10 to 1 depending on the topic.

Pollbludger is similar.

Over at Catallaxy it’s nearly all male, Tallyroom is nearly all male – the only place on the Australian political net where the gender balance seems to be a little more equal is with some threads at Larvatus Prodeo.

So the big question is “Why?”

With your standard IP address not having a gender identification component, it’s impossible to tell if the skewed comment ratio is reflective of the broader readership, or whether females are just more likely to lurk rather than comment? Although, with Crikey having the same imbalance with their subs, it’s probably not the latter.

Something that has surprised me for a while on the gender balance of the Australian political net is the lack of big female political bloggers. We have Kim and Anna over at LP as a group blog, while Tigtog and Lauredhel at Hoyden touch on politics occasionally and do it well – but where are the dedicated Australian political bloggers of the likes of Wonkette or Pandagon that we see in the US?

Let’s do our bit to find them. Know any female political bloggers in Australia? If so, drop a link in comments and we’ll list them here – big or small, old or new – and hopefully give them some exposure. If you’re an Australian female political blogger, don’t be shy – tell us about your blog. I for one would like to see far more female political voices in Australia’s new media.

The place is getting a little too blokey.


Larvatus Prodeo has a related thread going, as has Hoyden. Fuck Politeness has joined the fray, as has Memes of Production. Anti Social Butterfly has also joined the debate in a rather unique way.


Having just experienced a rather large lesson in the art of political definition over at Hoydens, and how different political subcultures and communities give far different political meanings and nuance to words like “politics”, to better explain what I was trying to get at with the original question and title of the post, let me rephrase the last part of the above question in a way that I hope will clarify what I mean to a wider audience that seems to be dropping by.

What I was effectively asking was “Where are the dedicated Australian political bloggers of the likes of Wonkette or Pandagon that we see in the US? Where is the Oz female blogging equivalent of Laura Tingle? Or Lenore Taylor? Or Adele Ferguson?

There are plenty of Oz female bloggers that exist across every other part of the political spectrum, but the absence of that core mainstream political angle in the Australian blogosphere seems to be an almost uniquely Australian experience.

The list of Australian female political bloggers – as they come in, we’ll put them here:

The Kings Tribune




North Coast Voices

Bernice Balconey

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115 thoughts on “Where are Australia’s female political bloggers?

  1. The Gender Balance at LP – a question? « Qed

    […] was referring to this post over at the Crikey blog Pollytics where Possum Comitatus offered this insight – We see the same […]

  2. Venise Alstergren

    GHOST WHO VOTES: Thank you for this information. It will be remembered in future. I am always grateful to people who have something instructive to say. Far better than the lunatic snuffles of the hyper-sensitive and patronizing brigade. The ones who claim to anyone who will listen about their great respect for women. Who, of course, are the same ones who are tunneling under the ground in order to undermine the very women they profess to admire.

  3. GhostWhoVotes


    Venise, the “@86” that is in newcoin’s comment is a reference to the 86th comment in this thread.

  4. Venise Alstergren

    NICK CALDWELL: Sex/sexism. It’s your problem honey, not mine. And you really do not like women who can bite back. Thank you for underlining my hypothesis.

  5. Venise Alstergren

    NICK CALDWELL: There is nothing in my comment to suggest that I’m querying your sex. What is the matter with you; can’t you even read my comments before flying off the handle? If you are that fucking sensitive I suggest you give up infesting the pages of Crikey.
    Invitation declined. I retract nothing!

    My abject apologies to Poss.

  6. Venise Alstergren

    NEW COIN: I’m just coming out of a deep faint. WTF did you imagine that I’d put @86 after my name? Thankfully I can say with total honesty I’m nowhere near that age. Perhaps it was Victoria Collins. She is a very interesting person indeed; I think she was the first Aussie female blogger. And it is well worth reading her main comment in this blogfest.



  7. Nick Caldwell

    Venise, I’m sorry that I cannot “really read” your commentary as I find it to be almost completely incoherent and what little is coherent is probably actionably defamatory.

    In any case, I invite you to retract your repugnant implication of sexism on my part.

  8. Venise Alstergren

    NICK CALDWELL: I was just about to nail you for the constant misspelling of my name. Admittedly, both words mean the same thing.
    If you had taken the trouble to really read my comments you would have realized my main gripe is against women wanting special recognition just because of their gender. Their femaleness isn’t what gives them a unique understanding. Everyone has a unique perspective, irrespective of gender. And part of that gripe is encapsulated by women coming out with statements that they are too weighed down with housework to be able to comment on a subject. A subject which they profess to be interested in.
    As a writer/editor yourself, I can imagine your enthusiasm, not to mention the expression on your face if a male writer/blogger/commenter/farmer came up to you saying, “I really wanted to write my opinion on you last column, but I was too busy shoveling shit in the cow-shed”.
    The nasty put-down, and I’m damned if I am going to go back to look at it, seemed to me to be written by a man assuming a Deep South of the USA accent. Perhaps he was merely being avuncular.
    I’ll take your word, I think, if you say your readership has a roughly even split between the sexes. It’s just that it seems more heavily weighted towards women.
    It was your writer Lisa Gunder who set the tone in your latest? issue, with a long whine about being too busy with housework, to write. As she did write the article I can only assume she was playing to her audience.
    Positively gleaming with self-satisfaction, you promptly indulged in a nauseating bit of journalese with the following self-insertive quote. “We’re” ¿are you a woman? “Working on parents committees and progress associations and community groups. We’re working on stalls and at working bees.” This is unctuous tripe, and incredibly patronizing. Anyway, WTF do you live; Oyen? Or are indulging in a bit of bucolic whimsy?
    You are encouraging your female readers not to have a shot at commenting. With the result of merely re-enforcing the stereotype. That’s not editing that is butchery. Subtle butchery, but butchery nevertheless. Perhaps a Judas-goat would be a better analogy?
    I don’t know if Margaret Bourke White had a family or not, and the point is irrelevant. She was not a woman to be sitting around moaning. She was a woman of action, an achiever. And somehow or other I get the feeling that women plus achievement aren’t uppermost in your mind.
    If I am wrong, then I will, of course, grovel.

  9. Sarah Stokely

    Hi Possum,
    I think this point was made earlier in the comments, but I have to weigh in.
    The question really needs to be “Why can’t we *see* the female political bloggers?” not “Where are the female political bloggers”.
    I’d refer you this wonderful post on the Geek Feminism blog: Where are all the men bloggers?

    But I think that’s sidestepped the original question, which is why are relatively few women subscribing to Crikey. I believe you end up with the readership or the online community you create. And while it’s much easier to build one than change one, I’d like to see Crikey asking what it can do differently to attract more female editors, writers, bloggers, readers and commenters, and then maybe the subscriptions would follow. But that question presupposes Crikey’s interested in making changes to its product. *shrug*

    Hope all is well in Possumland. 🙂


  10. Aristotle

    And there’s an edit function!

  11. Aristotle

    Harry “Snapper” Organs, I think I worked on that computer with you.

    SPSS on punchcards – ah that brings back memories – none of them good!

    This is how it was when I studied:

    First, you had to write all your data on some 50 metre by 50 metre data entry sheet. Then, you had to enter all your data into a machine that cut pieces out of about 8 million little cards. There was a job card, a user card, some other #%[email protected]& type of card and a host of data cards. You kept them in an old shoe box with elastic bands around them to hold them in place. And boy were you in trouble if you got the @#$%^ things out of order.

    Then to run your program, you’d enter the cards into this little machine that ran the cards across some @#$%! reading thingy. The data would then be sent electronically to the top of the library building – the 16th floor (this was at UNSW) where the superduper computer was, to crunch the numbers. Then, you had wait in queue for your data to be calculated – there was a big demand – it usually took about 30 mins before anything came out.

    Then, the “icing on the cake” – the printing machine (and it was a machine, about 5 metres by 5 metres) would start chugging away – chugg, chugg, chugg, chugg. At least then we thought, OK, now we can read the results. NO @#$%^[email protected] WAY! What was often printed out were the dreaded words SYNTAX ERROR please re-enter the data!

    Ah happy days.

    As for the discussion at hand, I’ve found it helpful not to know the gender or the age of any of my fellow bloggers as it allows you to focus on what being written only. Often, it’s a bit of a surprise when that information becomes known re age or gender.

    Why there are fewer women? I have little to add what has been said, but I would like to reinforce the view that there is a lot of writing without thinking, without fact, and without consideration of other bloggers. There is far too many angry attacks on others with a different point of view. Rather than try to reason with someone, by offering some facts or other evidence, the “discussion” can degenerate into pointless, and seemingly, endless slanging matches.

    This is what shutdown Bryan Palmer’s site back in 2007 and continues to infect the Pollbludger site now, despite William’s best efforts. I can’t speak for too many other sites, LP perhaps.

    This kind of behaviour doesn’t encourage new entrants to have a say, whether they are female or male.

    Personally, I prefer OzForums.

    It allows you post any topic on which you wish to start a discussion and is self moderated by four of the particpating bloggers and there is much, much less anger.

  12. Nick Caldwell

    Venise, not Venice. Gee, it’s annoying when someone gets your name wrong, isn’t it?

    Still, I’ll take my lumps for that.

  13. Nick Caldwell

    As the boy who created The Memes of Production, I’d like the opportunity to correct one or two of Venice’s more amusingly self-important misapprehensions.

    Memes, which is spelt m e m e s, by the way, is not specifically “written for a female audience”, whatever that might mean. In fact, what does that mean? I have a strong feeling Venice thinks a “female audience” consists of people who are in it for the scone recipes. A cursory overview of our readers’ comments would tell a very different story, I feel.

    I’d also like Venice to be more specific in her claims about the “nasty putdown” and I also wonder how she knows the majority of our commentators are women? Looking at the database, I see a pretty even split, frankly.

    And I’m not sure Margaret Bourke White even had a family to feed, did she?

  14. jen

    Oh ffs, really – is the Gender Issue in the “First World” truly a legitimate question anymore??
    Most women i know enjoy the company of other adults of both genders – as do men, lesbians and gay men. If men blog more on pseph sites then perhaps they enjoy the number-crunching thing more than most women. And if women Raise the Social Issues more, then good for us. Both are interesting and both are legitimate. And in my experience both are fodder for thought, analysis and comment.
    In a time of global warming, financial crisis, religious -based terrorism and general mayhem, do we really need to snark at each other over “female/woman” and play the victim?
    I don’t like being bullied . neither do the males I know that have encountered it.

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