“Whatever could this industry be?” I wondered excitedly in the .3 seconds it took the article to load. “Has there been a sudden reversal in the fortunes of women in tech? Perhaps women engineers have experienced a recent breakthrough, or maybe there’s been an inexplicable rise in the demand for female prosthodontists?”
Imagine, then, how flat my face fell when I learned the artfully teased pro-woman industry at hand was… Instagram influencing.
At least, that’s the case in the U.K. A study conducted by marketing agency Influencer found that Insta-famous women are out-earning their male peers in the U.K. by more than 35 percent, thanks to better paid sponsored content and brand collaborations. According to the agency’s data, a female influencer with at least 100,000 followers can earn up to £41,600 (or, about $53,300) for just two sponsored posts a week. Male influencers, on the other hand, earn on average only £31,200 (about $40,000) for the same efforts. Of course, there’s no limit to the amount of sponsored content one can post weekly (look to the Kardashian Klan for proof of that), so it’s reasonable to say these earning estimates err on the demure side.
Honestly, my take on the situation is a bit torn. On the one hand, it’s sad to think that the only “industry” where women are financially valued more than men is one largely centered on superficiality, particularly when it comes to women’s looks (hello, #fitspiration and #transformationtuesday). More often than not, women who’ve reached Insta-fame reflect traditionally held and restrictive beauty norms (with the help of plenty of apps), and several studies have shown that women are more and more turning to social media as their body image benchmark (as opposed to TV, magazines, and billboards). It’s sad that a platform in many ways tied to women’s reported rates of low self-esteem is the same platform that’s financially rewarding us the most.
On the other hand — financial empowerment is still empowerment. According to this study’s data, women influencers with a following of 100K and two sponsored posts a week are earning 50 percent more than the average salary of full-time employees in the U.K. When the country’s gender pay gap isn’t estimated to close until 2041, can you really fault women for grabbing at prosperity where they can find it? Nope. Not really. (And of course, there are also plenty of rad, progressive, and diverse women doing cool things on Instagram — and getting paid for it! — too.)
What are your thoughts on this unusual, yet super well-paying gig for women? Leave a comment on our discussion board!
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