I just checked my Google Reader: male authors outnumber females roughly 2 to 1.
The question of why women don't appear to participate in the blogosphere as much as men arose when Dr. Schaff and I appeared on South Dakota Public Radio a couple years ago. It continues to occur to me as I look at what I read in the South Dakota blogosphere, what's available to read, and what I see in my comment box: generally more guys than gals.
I've hypothesized that women just aren't as interested in what often feels like the verbal equivalent of marking trees (while mocking dead-tree journalism... mix that metaphor!).
But danah boyd, one my favorite smart bloggers (Joe Bartmann likes her, too!), suggests a sexual double standard may push women out of the often assertive push and shove of blog discourse:
Amidst the questions of women's assertiveness, we must also call into questions our interpretations of the messages they put forward. Cuz many women are immediately labeled "bitch" the moment they speak with the kind of assertiveness that would be considered average for men. And that double standard also sucks. If I'm honest with myself, I've definitely gone out of my way to look young and cute and fuzzy and lovable in order to avoid that label. And to smile even when I don't feel like smiling. Because, in many environments, if I look as serious as I feel, my message does not get across. Of course, this can also be a costly signal because plenty of other folks have dismissed me for being young. I've found that it's a sin to be young in academia while it's a sin to be a serious woman in the tech industry. Needless to say, my identity development is mighty confused [danah boyd, "whose voice do you hear? gender issues and success," apophenia, 2010.01.19].
boyd notes that she has always been assertive with her opinions, and has "never deflated them with "I may be wrong but I think...'" (the same German-Norwegian-Lutheran self-deprecation I tell my speech students to avoid). Everyone should aspire to boyd's confidence, but we need to make room for that confidence in civil discourse by not branding women as arrogant just for speaking the same way men do.
Read boyd, read the Clay Shirky article that got her thinking, then tell me—unapologetically—what you think.