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The Internet News

Women Now Outnumber Men Online 255

miller60 writes "There are now more American women than men using the Internet, according to a new study from the Pew Center on the Internet and American Life on gender and use of the Net. While a slightly larger percentage of men than women are online (68 percent vs 66 percent), the larger population of American women tips the balance. Other findings: younger women and black women outpace their male peers by larger margins than the wider population."
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Women Now Outnumber Men Online

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  • "Pew Internet Project surveys between January and June in 2005 show that 67 percent of the adult American population goes online".

    No it doesn't, what it shows is that 67% of the 6,403 people surveyed go online - not the whole population (280,000,000+) of America.

    This is almost as flawed as running a survey on Slashdot and concluding that 91% of the American population have never had a girlfriend.

    Quote from the Methodology section of the PDF: [pewtrusts.org]
    "The total number of respondents included in the 2002 fin
  • Surging (Score:5, Funny)

    by wombatmobile ( 623057 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:49AM (#14357265)

    black women have surged online in the last three years

    All kinds of women have been "surging" on the internet for a lot more than three years.

    Well, certain types of women.

    • And a certain type of surging.
    • The reason why there are more married women online is because they all signed up for www.iwantanaffair.com. All the single men online are paying $30/month to www.iwantanaffair.com to meet these married women for affairs. But, then later they find out that all these hot women wanting an affair is actually Alan Ralsky and Scott Alan Bradley sitting in there underwear typing these adds and making a living at spamming (or at least until the FBI raided their houses and took there computers).
    • Re:Surging (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kalyanbk ( 942014 )
      More people are finding out about the anonymity the internet is providing and women have an opportunity to thrive in a situation where they can have as many relationships that they would be unable or afraid to have in real life without pressure from society's norms (I am not talking about just women in the US who may already have this freedom but other countries too). You will soon find that what makes a man different from a woman will change soon as both of them get similar exposure, outdoor life and acces
    • Don't worry, the majority of women online are actually men in disquise.

      How true this cartoon is [suso.org]

  • Of course women will gather when a whole new world of "Shopping!!!!" is at their fingertips.

    __
    Funny adult videos [laughdaily.com]
    • > Of course women will gather when a whole new world of "Shopping!!!!" is at their fingertips.

      And the corollary would be:

      Of course men will gather when a whole new world of "Pr0n!!!!" is at their uhhhh.... fingertips.

    • Of course women will gather when a whole new world of "Shopping!!!!" is at their fingertips.

      Yes, and never underestimate the testicular fortitude of a dolls'-house enthusiast granny armed with an Internet connection and an account on eBay. They way they snipe, they should be working for MI6.

  • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:53AM (#14357276) Journal
    "I am a...

    o woman
    o man
    o geek
    o Cowboy Neal"
  • Percentage (Score:3, Informative)

    by HishamMuhammad ( 553916 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:55AM (#14357277) Homepage Journal
    Before somebody says "68+66 does not add up to 100%" I suppose the submitter meant "While the percentage of men who are internet users (68%) is slightly larger than that of women (66%)"...

    • Re:Percentage (Score:2, Interesting)

      by grunfeld ( 913835 )
      Goes to show more women are spending time on the internet, be it as a stay at home mom or from their offices in the ivory towers...... The real question is do people actually pay for survey results like this ...????
  • Yeah! (Score:2, Funny)

    by dalmiroy2k ( 768278 )
    With more Women online, my chances of getting laid are now bigger! Nah, who I'm kidding.... :(
    • Re:Yeah! (Score:5, Funny)

      by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:36AM (#14357533) Homepage Journal
      With more Women online, my chances of getting laid are now bigger!
      You got it wrong man! We gotta stop this! How long until your next deathmatch is spent camping the catering talking to chix? How long until your HUD has smart looking drapes? I tell you, the internet was made by the military to let us men blow shit up virtually and they can pry my mouse from my cold dead hands when women...

      Good point. Ok, we'll let the cute ones use it. And the ones who put out. But that's it! Oh, and Sal's girlfriend too. Sorry Sal.

      • How long until your next deathmatch is spent camping the catering talking to chix? How long until your HUD has smart looking drapes? I tell you, the internet was made by the military to let us men blow shit up virtually

        The best Quake2 sniper I ever knew was an old girlfriend of mine. I'll freely admit I wasn't the best Q2 player in the world, but I was far from the worst, too. In a one-on-one game she took me out 93 to 17. I was using every weapon at my disposal. She used nothing but the damn railgun. Eve
  • ... those women on dating sites were fake. So finally, I get a chance?
  • It's true! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:57AM (#14357284)
    Just write word 'sex' to google, and you can see by the links women outnumbering men easily.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:58AM (#14357293)
    Oh sure, they say they're women.
  • Not Quite (Score:5, Funny)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @05:59AM (#14357295) Homepage Journal
    This is the internet, the place where women are women, and some men are women too.
  • by shreevatsa ( 845645 ) <shreevatsa.slash ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:01AM (#14357301)
    What the summary doesn't point out is that women and men seem to view the internet differently.
    the research found that men value the net for the freedom it gives them to try new ways of doing things. By contrast women like the opportunities the net gives them to make and maintain human connections.
    (Look at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4555370.stm [bbc.co.uk]. )

    However, I have my own doubts about correct this research is --
    The Pew report also found that men are more likely to use the net to get at all kinds of information about sports results, weather, news, job offers and consumer ratings for goods and services. Men were also more likely to use the net for recreation and to listen to music, gather information for hobbies and take part in online fantasy sports leagues.
    All that is fine, but any research that doesn't mention porn must be flawed ;)
    • it does mention porn (Score:3, Informative)

      by welcher ( 850511 )
      and they say:
      We have occasionally asked users about visiting adult websites. The overall participation rates have remained constant, from about 13% - 15%. Traditionally, three to five times as many men as women have responded positively to this question.
      The numbers they give are 21% of online men saying they visit adult websites and 5% of women.
    • by dheltzel ( 558802 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:23AM (#14357656)
      All that is fine, but any research that doesn't mention porn must be flawed ;)

      Umm, what part of "Men were also more likely to use the net for recreation" didn't you understand?

    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:29AM (#14357671) Journal
      All that is fine, but any research that doesn't mention porn must be flawed ;)
      Your last comment was meant, I suppose, to be tongue in cheek. I don't think it's wrong, however. Anyone who has 'existed' online since the early days of the WWW *knows* that pr0n has not only been endemic to the 'net experience' but has in fact driven many of its key technologies - audio, then video streaming for example.

      I understand that many people are squeamish about the subject, but if we're making a serious survey of net use, you're right - to entirely OMIT pr0n as a subject leaves an, er, gaping hole in the data.

      It would be practically like a survey of automobile use without referring to commuting.
  • what a stupid poll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sl8r ( 104278 )
    I love these utterly useless, US-centric "internet polls". They make it sound like the net stops at the borders. Ignorant people will be quoting these numbers for years to come, omitting the crucial "american" part.
    • by HermanAB ( 661181 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:57AM (#14357755)
      Nevermind the net - the whole world stops a short distance beyond the USA borders and if you would try to go beyond, you'll fall off the edge. Here, there be dragons...
      • Nevermind the net - the whole world stops a short distance beyond the USA borders and if you would try to go beyond, you'll fall off the edge. Here, there be dragons...

        Now now, Canada and Mexico are real, if not quite as large as the "atlases make them out to be

        When you fly "internationally", the plane really loops back around and heads to Alaska, which is not really cold but actually a huge series of "studio sets" to fake various locations.

  • by venicebeach ( 702856 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:07AM (#14357313) Homepage Journal
    These results might have caught my eye more if phrased in the reverse:

    About a third of the population does not ever use the internet.

    Even in the 18-29 age range its about 1 in 5 who are not online.
    • by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:57AM (#14357583)
      It's interesting to scan down the list of titles different sources gave this same basic story. They all basically parrot back the headline the report used, but lots don't even get that right.

      While several of the stories (like this one on /.) are saying a slightly higher percentage of women now use the 'net, the first bullet point on The Pew site [pewinternet.org] says "The percentage of women using the internet still lags slightly behind the percentage of men." Later in their summary Pew gives the bland tag news sources probably reacted to: "In most categories of internet activity, more men than women are participants, but women are catching up. "

      The report itself [pewinternet.org] is far more wide-ranging, and most of its interesting content gets left out of the usual suspects. I mean, parents are more likely to be online than nonparents -- 80% to 60%, which is a BIG difference. And so on. Even dramatic stuff gets discarded in favor of a horse-race-between-the-sexes thing, here. And I'll bet Pew phrased their own headline as a gender gap thing as a way of getting the attention of news sources, too -- the problem perpetuates itself.

      Why is it that general news sources touch on only one or two aspects of something like this, but the original source's press release is much richer in the same space? It's like the whole "force a dialectic on the story even if there isn't one" thing is causing reporters to discard tons of primary information to sell a faked-up conflict that isn't there. (The more tabloid a source is, the worse it gets, too. Fox makes a hell of a living pimping every story up like this.)

      In a reporting world like that, reporters aren't being asked to turn stories on their heads. They're just regurgitating press releases and reinforcing stereotypes.

    • They won't be online because they cannot read.

      Shameless plagarism courtesy of wikipedia:

      "In the United States alone, one in seven persons (i.e., over 40 million people) can barely read a job offer or utility bill..."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literacy [wikipedia.org]

      Read this report for more: about 14% of US adults have a below Basic literacy level for prose/documents (can't read a TV program or jury instructions), another fifth have only a "Basic" literacy level for prose/documents (cannot consult documents to find what
  • by Hitto ( 913085 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:12AM (#14357324)
    There are *billions* of women on the internet.
    The catch is, their names all end in .jpg ...
    • by tuomasr ( 721846 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:03AM (#14357444)

      The catch is, their names all end in .jpg ...

      No way! That's where you're wrong, I've met a lot of nice women on the internet whose name didn't end in .jpg. Let's see, there was Ms. Mpg, Ms. Png, Ms. Avi and so forth.

      They must've been poor though, all wanted my credit card number, but of course I feel bad for them since they apparently couldn't even afford clothes...

    • by Zwets ( 645911 ) <jan.niestadtNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:34AM (#14357527) Homepage

      Hey, I come from a proud line of .JPGs you insensitive clod! I resent your insinuations regarding the virtues of the women in my family!

      Our family name dates all the way back to 17th century Dutch merchants. Originally we were called "Punt-Jan-Pieters' Grootvaeder" ("Dot-Jan-Pieters' Grandfather", in a mysterious reversal of the normal practice of naming people "so-and-so's son or daughter")). It later got shortened to .JPG by a lazy government administrator.

      Sincerely,

      Hendrik Olivier Thomas .JPG

    • 1999 phone call home:

      Mom: "Son, I'm online!"

      Me: "Mom, you just bought the computer yesterday and don't even have a ISP yet. How is that possible?"

      Mom: "No, I'm doing it. I'm playing this game called Minesweeper right now."

      -Eric

  • by Gr1mm-R34p3r ( 312932 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:18AM (#14357341)
    According to CNN this wonderfully unbiased article's research was scientifically conducted in an IRC sex chat channel over a period of six months only on Friday nights.
  • by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:29AM (#14357363)
    Polls comparing the average behaviour of men and women are boring and useless. Frankly, who gives a damn what the differences between the average man and average woman is? Someone who is average, I guess...

    What a pity someone doesn't look at the differences in the distribution of how men and women use the net. Here's my guess: the distibution of men who use the net is probably much wider than the distribution of women, that is, there are probably more male the female total power net geeks, and also more men than women who never use the net at all.
    • Perhaps if you had read the article rather than the extremely poor slashdot summary you would have realized that they DID study the distribution. This may surprise you, but the paper is 55 pages long and contains more than a single headline.
    • Insightfull, wtf, as the other poster suggests, go and look at the study it contains the distributions you are guessing about. Also I'm not sure why you are interested if you don't "give a damm".

      "Polls comparing the average behaviour of men and women are boring and useless. Frankly, who gives a damn what the differences between the average man and average woman is?"

      No, Viva-la-differance!

      (apologies to any one who can spell in either french or english)
  • by CrimsonScythe ( 876496 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:49AM (#14357402)
    "...the larger population of American women tips the balance."

    But does this mean that there are more of them numerically, or that they're so large that they just tip the balance easier? This was rather ambiguous, and I refuse to read TFA to find the answer.
  • by StonePiano ( 871363 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:57AM (#14357421) Homepage
    Check this BBC article.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4555370.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    Apparently men and women use the Internet for different priorities.

    Could this suggest that there is actually a difference in the genders?
    The mystery thickens...
    • Or simply that a higher percentage of women have office-jobs ?
      • Correction to self, Women are roughly as likely to access internet from home or the internet.

        The assumption of the report seems to be more that the general statement isn't as general in the article, and only goes for certain categories, like health and religion, none of which surprise me much, (see e.g. contents and subjects of women's magazines)

    • Could this suggest that there is actually a difference in the genders?

      I initially started wondering "why bother with this trivia about who uses the internet" but then I realized why such research is done. Marketing. So, the real purpose isn't about differences in the sexes. The real purpose is to find new demographics to market crap to.

    • "This moment in internet history will be gone in a blink," said Deborah Fallows, senior research fellow at Pew who wrote the report."We may soon look back on it as a charming, even quaint moment, when men reached for the farthest corners of the internet, trying and experimenting with whatever came along, and when women held the internet closer and tried to keep it a bit more under control."

      It looks like the pew report was written by a woman .. hence the skew

      I think it's the same obvious reaction to most dev
  • by kwoff ( 516741 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @06:57AM (#14357422)

    The blurb was misleading. I think they're actually referring to the mass of women online, not the number. I'll clarify by slightly editing the quote. ObFatties:

    There are now more [of] American women than men using the Internet ... the larger population of American women tips the balance ... larger margins than the wider population.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:09AM (#14357465)
    The least likely to go on line were young and single. The most likely to go on line were married people with children. So: if you aren't tied down, there are better things to do with your life than going on the internet. Once you are tied down then the internet is a viable alternative to having a life.
    • Having a life? Sounds like you either don't have kids or didn't get that young single lifestyle out of your system before you did. When I had my first child, I was a person who spent a lot of time away from home. I went out frequently to bars, malls, etc. When my daughter was born, I quickly lost interest in the bars and I tended to spend a lot less time at malls. The time I did spend at malls was spend mostly at toy stores, book stores, and Chuck E Cheese. I still interact with adults on a regular ba
  • Rise of the nerds! It's finally happened!
    Goes and buys some breath freshner
  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:37AM (#14357537) Homepage Journal
    The adult websites statistic should give you a view that this survey was not very accurate, but it's interesting to see women taking more of a view in the internet nowdays compared to a few years back (even if the numbers are exaggerated). You can't help but wonder wether this will change the marketing approach of some online businesses as they adapt to the growing number of females that they can sell to.
    • You can't help but wonder wether this will change the marketing approach of some online businesses as they adapt to the growing number of females that they can sell to.
      Oh great !

      Flash demos with wings ...

  • "the larger population of American women tips the balance."

    or...

    "the larger American women tip the balance." ?
  • by GrnArmadillo ( 697378 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @07:50AM (#14357560)
    That the "hot 18 y/o girl" they were talking to online may not be exactly what they're expecting.... :)
  • The report is based on what people said to questioners on the phone.
    They don't really know if the people were telling the truth.

    People have a variety of reasons to stretch the truth in phone interviews.

    A better methodology is to watch people (without them knowing that you watch) -- then you get a better idea.

    So if the Pew foundation wanted to see what folks do online, working with ISPs or botnet operators to spy on internet use would give a more accurate view of things.

    Another option would be to use Alexas'
    • Another option would be to use Alexas's browser plugin.

      That would then be a self-selecting sample, generally a very bad idea in the wonderful world of statistics.

      The report is based on what people said to questioners on the phone. They don't really know if the people were telling the truth.

      Actually, telephone interviews have been proven to be very honest, and those that aren't can be weeded out by asking a number of control questions.

      • Only asking folks what they do won't help if people are systematically underreporting. And in this case, if men or women under/over report at different rates, you may come to wrong conclusions about who does something more/less than the other.

        E.g. people will tend to underreport the "vice time" they spend online. Perhaps men grossly underreport, while women are more honest.

        You might think women spend more time on vice, when in reality they don't.

        You can get a better idea by spying on some people, and pollin
  • I think this is only natural - as time passes the net will reflect the demographic of the outside world. More and more non-tech types will join the net. The fact is most IT, and developers are still men. These were the first people to start using the net.
  • by HikingStick ( 878216 ) <{z01riemer} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @08:50AM (#14357728)
    I don't intend this as a flame, but give me a break. In nearly every area of life women differ from men. This is not a bad thing (I can't imagine being married to someone like me!), but it flies in the face of a segment of society that wants to believe that all gender differences are learned behavior and have no basis in genetics (nurture over nature).

    Anyone who has both sons and daughters knows they are different, no matter how hard you try to androgenize them.

    We need to get over ourselves and realize that difference does not equate to inferiority.
  • Quoth the report: "Some 94% of online women and 88% of online men use email."

    And just how big is the rock that the rest of these people are living under?

    • by Anthony Liguori ( 820979 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @09:02AM (#14357785) Homepage
      And just how big is the rock that the rest of these people are living under?

      I think e-mail is slowly dying actually. A lot of kids don't really use it instead preferring to use instant messenger. If a kid has their own computer with broadband access, that stays on 24x7, why not just use IM?

      Spam really hurts the usefulness of e-mail for a lot of users. Personally, I've reduced my personal e-mail account to just notification from various things I'm involved in (school, bills, etc.).

      The thing I like so much about IM is that only people who I've explicitly allowed to contact me can actually contact me. This means no spam. With logging, and grep, it's just as useful a communications history as e-mail.
  • How many random "A/S/L????" IM's did it take to reach this conclusion?
  • ...there's such an explosion in blogs and fora with these.. social bounding babbling creatures..
    (I hope my gf doesn't read this. That's girlfriend, not gif.)

  • by drasfr ( 219085 ) <revedemoi@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @09:26AM (#14357870)
    Am I the only that is amazed? (or read the full survey!) at this line that says:

    Order from Spam: 6% of online men. 5% of online women.

    5%, even with a margin of error is still a lot. But i know that it is probably true. At a previous business that wasn't doing spam but were sending small email campaigns we were estimating a return rate of about 3%.

    I just think this number is scaringly high... the reason spam works, spammers still have work, and my 6 years old email address receives over 500 spams a day!

    so, yes, am I the only one amazed by this? I would have like to have more question on this topic, like what do you buy from spam? Are you satisfied with it? How often do you buy from spam? etc...
  • And yet my own studies indicate there are fewer women on the internet dating sites.
  • That can't be right... It's either: A) More bots posing to be chicks. B) More desperate older, fat and ugly chicks. C) Tranies screwing up the numbers. D) A scientific study done by a bunch of guys trying to get chicks to believe its ok to use the internet without the usual stigma being pinned to them so these same guys have an easier time finding dates and move out of their mom's basement.

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