Depiction of gender gapIt’s not good to start with an apology, but I am sorry that my women readers may be somewhat upset by my suggestion that they know less than men about politics. But, ladies, stick with me – the gentlemen might not be so smug by the time they get to the end of the article….!

New research conducted at the University of London, but looking at several different countries worldwide, has found that everywhere you look around the world, women have less political knowledge than men. Even in countries with high levels of equality, such as Norway, the difference in political knowledge between the genders is the same as in nations that have far less gender equality, like South Korea. Across the world, women know less about politics than men.

Interestingly, this new research comes at the same time as another study in America which looked at the portrayal of politicians in the media. That study found that stories about male politicians focus on issues, whereas stories about female politicians focus on their personality.

Is it any wonder that women don’t engage with politics as much as they might and therefore don’t know as much. The studies confirm that media coverage of politics is dominated by men. More male politicians appear on TV an radio talking about politics than women. Similarly, the newspapers are filled with men talking politics, only giving scant attention to women doing the same.

Women are surrounded by middle aged men talking politics and – almost certainly – being very “alpha male” about it, discussing things competitively, rather than cooperatively.

The reason women know less about politics than men is because the men don’t bother to make it relevant to them – and neither do the men writing and editing newspapers and broadcasts. Women just can’t be that bothered to watch or read much about politics because it does not reflect them and their world. It simply lacks relevance.

So rather than suggesting that women should learn more about politics, these studies suggest that men should learn how to make themselves relevant and interesting.

And that is the lesson for your web business. The vast majority of websites are invisible. They are ignored by the masses. Even relatively popular websites, those in the top 10% of the rankings only get a trickle of traffic compared with the top handful in each sector. Why? Because only the top sites have made themselves truly relevant to their audience. Far too many website owners have no idea as to what their audience wants and therefore do not know how to make themselves relevant.

If these studies on women and politics tell us anything it is the fact that relevance matters. So the question remains – how relevant is your website to your audience? Do you know? Have you really checked? Or are you like those male politicians, producing loads of stuff that gets talked about but missing a great big slice of your target audience?

Call Graham Jones Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist

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