The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to confront the reality that we are far from living in a gender-equal world. Despite only making up only 39% of the global workforce, women accounted for 54% of the total job losses during the pandemic.

This is largely due to the fact that women overwhelmingly carry the burden of domestic responsibilities. As a result, many women were forced to choose between employment and taking care of their families during the pandemic.

We now find ourselves in a concerning scenario where global gender parity actually worsened between 2020 and 2021.

Highlighting the importance of achieving gender parity, this year’s International Women’s Day is centred on #BreakTheBias. The theme emphasises the importance of overcoming gender bias, stereotyping, and discrimination in order to create a more equitable society.

The Influencer Industry Today

In light of this theme, we reflected on the influencer marketing industry and the space it is has created for women. And while there is of course progress to be made, this reflection made us appreciate that the influencer industry is one of the few that is unabashedly women-led and women-dominant.

The traditional route to entrepreneurship is not exactly female-friendly. In 2021, just 2% of venture capital was secured by women. This was the second year in a row that women’s share of venture capital funding decreased. In the influencer industry, comparatively, the market is steadily growing and set to reach 16.4 billion dollars by the end of the year. The importance of this number comes into focus when you note that women account for 84% of social media influencers.

Not only has the influencer industry created an entirely new career path for women, but it has also allowed them to do it on their own terms. In Brittany Hennessy’s book INFLUENCER, beauty influencer Teni Ponasian puts it this way:

“We’ve created a space where we’ve taken our respective leads in our careers, each in our own way, and that’s extremely rare. This line of work allows content creators to do practically anything we want; we make decisions that determine where our careers go…what other industry do you know of that allows women to make the kind of living that we do?”

Although it hasn’t always been this way, today’s influencer industry rewards authenticity and self-expression to an extent that would be unfathomable for previous generations of women. This new value system has encouraged women to oust oppressive beauty standards in favour of new inclusive communities where people of all cultures, ethnicities and body sizes are made to feel beautiful.

The proliferation of these communities has changed the business world for the better. Over time, influencers and their highly engaged followers have pushed brands to change the way they think about marketing and advertising. While there is still a lot of work to be done, influencers’ transparency with their audiences means brands have to do the same if they want to remain relevant.

Influencers’ impact goes beyond the surface when it comes to breaking gender biases and stereotypes. Whether their niche is tech, fashion, or photography, influencers across the world show their audiences that there is no “right way” to look when pursuing your passion, that all industries should be open to all genders, and that it is worthwhile and possible to make a living doing what you love.

Confronting Bias in the Industry