It used to be that if you listened to a podcast, you could bet that the host would be male. Nowadays, while there are still approximately double the number of men than women in podcasting, there has been a shift toward women having successful and popular podcasts.
The reasons may be as varied as the women themselves; there does not seem to be a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to who is successful and who isn’t when it comes to podcasting. With a wide variety of listeners, it makes sense that the “best” podcasts are in the eye — err, the ear — of the beholder.
Let’s take a look at some of the women who have enjoyed success, as well as what makes these podcasts appealing, why the industry is beginning to incorporate more women, and how you can boost your own chances of success.
Who are these female podcasters?
A quick Google search will bring up lists of popular, influential and interesting female podcasters. Approximately 70 percent of podcasts are hosted by men, according to Transom.com, but there are quite a few great podcasts currently being hosted by women. Here are a few to consider checking out.:
- Serial: Sarah Koenig is the host of Serial, which is a serial story of true events pertaining to a murder. The show is produced by Chicago Public Radio, the same people who co-produce This American Life, a popular weekly podcast and radio show. Serial has won several awards and has become one of the most popular downloaded podcasts in iTunes.
- Hidden Kitchens: The producers of this show, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva, use their airtime to tell the previously untold stories of American tradition and culture. “The Kitchen Sisters,” also have two NPR series, Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project.
- Death, Sex & Money: The host of Death, Sex & Money, Anna Sale, does not stick to what most would consider polite conversation, but instead focuses on the topics that people really wonder about.
- Call Your Girlfriend: Sometimes you just want to kick back, relax, and chat with a friend who knows what it’s like to be a woman, with all of its serious and ridiculous implications. The hosts of Call Your Girlfriend are real-life long-distance friends, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow.
- Nerdette: If you’re up for something more serious and, well, nerdy, check out Nerdette. The hosts, Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda, discuss literature, history, technology and science. One caveat: They give out homework to their listeners!
So, How are Women Changing Podcasting in 2016?
As a traditionally male-dominated industry, the tides do seem to be turning. There are many reasons why this might be. Here are a few of them:
- The audience is shifting. It was once said that women didn’t listen to podcasts, but Maximize Social Business reports that now just under half of listeners are female. Also, fully half of all listeners are under 35; it would make sense that the Millennials and Gen-Zers would be more open to not only taking women in podcasting seriously, but also in questioning a lack of female influences and gender equality than their older counterparts. These factors create not only an audience for female podcasters, but also a demand for them and niches to fill, leaving plenty of opportunity for smart, savvy women to step in and become successful.
- Women can be more relatable. Quartz points out that people want to listen to relatable interviewers who can admit when they are trying to work out solutions to their questions. It’s no secret that women and men communicate differently; women are generally more intimate, more honest in terms of how they represent themselves, and better at recognizing social cues than men are, and this is appealing to listeners.
- More women are becoming podcasters, which leads to more women becoming podcasters. As more women gaining success through podcasting, other women pick up on that and want to try it out for themselves, points out BitchMedia. It’s difficult to be a pioneer, but once a trend is established, in this case the trend of females producing and hosting podcasts, others are inspired to follow suit.
What can you do if you, as a woman, want to get started in podcasting?
The good news is that the time is perfect for women to get a jumpstart on their careers in podcasting. Just about anyone can get started with very little money (if you already have the right equipment); tutorials and articles abound. You can read a technical how-to article on Lifehacker or check out a good overview on Mashable for free.
Also, here’s a list of 100 tips (and a ton of informative links!) from The Audacity to Podcast.
As a group at PodcastMotor we have worked with some really elite podcasters and have compiled a lot of the best practices from the customers we’ve worked with as well into a 7-part email series. You can grab all of this knowledge for Free by just dropping your email in the form below.
If you are able to make an investment, however, ShePodcasts has the Podcasting School for Women, which, as the name would imply, is geared specifically to women who want to get into podcasting. It’s an eight-week DIY course that can walk you through everything from developing your idea, to getting the right technology, driving traffic to your podcast, making money, and getting over the hurdles of fear and uncertainty that can get in your way.
Whether you’re a woman who is interested in podcasting or anyone who is supportive of more women producing or hosting their own podcasts, be sure to check out some of the podcasts hosted by women. They’re on a wide variety of topics, just like the podcasts hosted by men, and they can appeal to everyone.