I was one of thousands of women to attend the annual Blogher Conference in San Francisco this past July. From mommy bloggers and passionate politicos to foodies and open source programmers, web-savvy women of every kind gathered to share their passion for writing, social media and the Internet. And boy, was it packed. After having to fight for a spot on the floor at the first two panels, I planned ahead and arrived five minutes early for my third session of the day, the Personal Finance, Business and Career Meet Up. Ten minutes later, only eight more people had arrived
Where most of Blogher’s panels were literally overflowing, with people craning their necks around doors to learn how to improve their SEO skills or about issues that arise when blogging about sex, the personal finance, business and career panel was practically empty. Initially when reading over the various panels at Blogher, I was quite surprised that three such distinct, major topics were crammed into a “meet-up” (in contrast to a panel which featured well known speakers) and figured it would be brimming with bloggers of all sorts. Many bloggers are, in essence, small business owners (their product being their blog) or hoping to be, thus making all of these issues of key concern. Not so much.
At the meet up, we spent the hour pondering these issues, focusing especially on the question, where were all the personal finance bloggers? Our answers covered a wide gamut of reasons, including the unsexy sound of “personal finance,” the feelings of inadequacy and fear that “managing your money” arouses, and the inaccessible nature of much financial information. Whatever the reason, it became clear that the term “personal finance” was in dire need of a facelift. Elena Centor, the moderator and Blogher’s contributing editor to the Personal Finance, Business and Career section, put it well when she said:
“I don’t like to talk about money. Truth be told, I avoid the topic at all costs. I hate money. Yes, I like to use money. But I hate what it does to people. It divides. It judges. It makes people who have great personal success feel like failures. Money causes insomnia, tears, heartbreak and humiliation… (however) given the economy, given that money is often at the root of marital stress, given that decisions to stay at a job, leave a job, or start a business all center around MONEY, it’s ironic that so few people want to talk about it.” Read the synopsis on Blogher here.
After Blogher, I started looking at major websites dealing with women’s issues and more specifically, finance. There wasn’t much to see. Though finance is a crucial subject, most thriving, web-based female communities tend to leave it out. For example, iVillage, a dominantly female website that boasts more than 30 million unique views a month, lacks not only a personal finance section, but a business and career one as well. I did find a few gems: Divine Caroline has plenty of thoughtful, intelligent discussions occurring in their Career and Money Section; Wisebread has offers an entire list of female personal finance bloggers; and finally, the Sugar Network has a site, SavvySugar, solely focused on presenting financial/career information to women in their twenties and rousing up lively discussion surrounding these subjects.
Thus, I am very pleased to announce that there is now a SavvySugar Group on Wesabe. While Wesabe has a great community for money issues across all consumers, I and the Wesabe team believe that a group focused on women’s finance issues would be a great addition, and we wanted to draw from the wide range of experiences and awesome members SavvySugar has today. We think that the Wesabe community — especially the way everyone in Groups supports each other and provides fantastic suggestions for people facing financial issues — has a huge amount to offer SavvySugar. So, think of this like a dinner party introducing two groups of friends we know will get along brilliantly. Welcome, SavvySugar, and thank you for giving a much-needed voice to young women and the money and career issues they face.