A while back there was a huge debate about women in search. The topic being whether or not there were enough of us and some statements that women in search tend to be more geared towards search engine marketing rather than search engine optimization.

I was surprised to get emails from people waiting to hear my viewpoint on the topic. I’m not sure why they were curious on mine, but I never did respond to the topic, because I couldn’t figure out a way to put my opinions into words.

When Li Evans interviewed me for her women in search series, she asked me what women bloggers I was reading, but the question and my answer didn’t make the final interview. My answer was longwinded as usual, but I ended it by stating that I’d like to think that many women marketers are like me. I’d rather be known as a kick ass Internet marketer and search engine optimization professional, regardless of whether or not I wear a bra.

Being a woman is something I’m proud of, and I’m not blind to the ratio of women to men – especially among those with widely heard voices – within this industry. But being a successful woman in this industry doesn’t mean you’ve “overcome” some kind of odds. There are many successful women in search engine optimization. Two in the immediate forefront of my mind are Christine Churchill and Anne Kennedy.

For the record, I don’t respect either of them for being a “woman” in this industry. I respect them for their business sense, knowledge and contributions to search engine optimization. And that is why you should respect them too.

I catch some flack sometimes for being outspoken, perceived as “one of the boys” and for not being willing to conform – but I have to be “me” and take what comes with it. To others like me, and to women still trying to find their inner confidence to be themselves and take the opportunities they make in life, rather than those simply “presented” to them, I share a quote with you: “Women who behave rarely make history.”

Which is a modernized version of the original: “Well behaved women rarely make history” and sometimes also quoted as: “Well behaved women seldom make history” by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Be yourselves, never see being a woman as a disadvantage, an advantage or above all, an excuse.

Yes, I’m representing two sides of the same coin. Be proud of being a woman and representing women well. But don’t feel the need to be acknowledged for being a successful woman. Look to derive your satisfaction from being a success, period.

And in the spirit of never conforming, my response on the matter is simply this: For those looking for validation as a successful woman in this industry, get over it. For those who take their validation from spanking ass in the serps without needing their sex acknowledged along with it, rock on ladies.

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