Thursday's NYTimes has an article on women and blogging: Telling All Online: It's a Man's World (Isn't It?). Features Jeneane Sessum and Elaine Kalilily, as well as BlogSisters.
I took a look at my own blogroll. Out of twenty-four blogs (not counting group-authored blogs), six are by women. That's 25%. Pretty close to the % of women in professional computer positions in 2001 (28%, down from 36% in 1990).
But those raw numbers are not a clear indicator of my blog reading habits. Of those twenty-four I count seven that I always read, and that have a significant imact on my own thinking and writing. Of those, three are by men, and four are by women. And as my blogroll has morphed over the past few weeks, I have added more women, and dropped more men. Not because of their gender...but because of their voice.
The article puts it this way:
People who track blogs hate to make generalizations, but many acknowledged that female bloggers often have more of an inward focus, keeping personal diaries about their daily lives.
If that is the case, the Venus-Mars divide has made its way into Blogville. Women want to talk about their personal lives. Men want to talk about anything but. So far the people who have received the most publicity (often courtesy of male journalists) appear to be the latter.
I think this is close to the mark, but not exactly right. The "inward focus" rings true, but the "personal diaries" does not. The women whose blogs I read seem to speak with more of a personal and recognizable voice. But what they write goes far beyond a personal diary. They write about research, about law, about information architecture, about copyright, about gender, and about blogs themselves. But they write about them with grace and style, with a voice that is unmistakably theirs, unmistakably personal. I like that.