Women readers of the site

Written By: - Date published: 11:25 pm, September 18th, 2017 - 49 comments
Categories: admin, gender, jacinda ardern, Metiria Turei, The Standard - Tags: ,

I finally had some time to delve into recent statistics for the site. Apart from the usual election year rise of the readership, the demographics have been moving a lot.

The most noticeable statistic in the recent months has been to do with gender. Google Analytics has an limited ability to match the stated gender of some of our users. Typically this is between 40% and 65% of our readers. Not particularly accurate, but certainly of interest in how it changes.

As part of my normal duties to keeping an eye on the site health, I normally tend to watch the percentage of female readers every few weeks. For me it serves as a pretty good surrogate for how inclusive and accessible this site is. When it drops I start hunting for dirty socks and smelly jockstraps who have started to infest the place. But in recent months I have been somewhat remiss because of excessive work hours. As a percentage of sessions it seems to normally live at around 25% to 30% and fluctuates according to the types of stories and depth of the locker room foolishness in the comments section. I am not sure what I would have to look forward to if the site ever started to reach gender parity.

I’ve grabbed some of the weeks from earlier in the year to give context, and sampled progressively more in the weeks heading up into August and September. Because of the variability of the sample population, I’ve only put in the percentages of the sampled population to make it easier to see the trends. And I like to read numbers, so I am a bit lazy to make graphs today. I have highlighted the periods of interest and put my interpretation down below the table.

Week starting % Sessions % New

Sessions

New Users Bounce

Rate

Pages per
Session
Avg Session

Duration

 13th Mar  26.5%  25.9%  50.3%  28.6%  3.8  6:32
 10th Apr  24.7%  20.2%  42.1%  28.5%  3.7  6:41
 15th May  27.9%  21.2%  46.1%  29.4%  3.4  5:52
 12th June  24.5%  19.9%  40.9%  26.4%  3.7  6:37
 26th June  27.5%  18.8%  41.8%  26.2%  3.9  6:28
 10th July  26.6%  33.2%  40.8%  32.7%  3.0  4:37
 17th July  37.7%  61.6%  43.6%  41.5%  2.1  1:39
 24th July  34.8%  58.8%  43.7%  38.5%  2.5  2:21
31st July 26.4% 26.2% 40.8% 25.6% 3.7 5:42
7th Aug 27.9% 29.7% 48.3% 27.4% 3.6 5:11
14th Aug 30.6% 31.9% 60.5% 28.0% 3.4 4:56
21st Aug 27.4% 23.1% 46.1% 26.9% 3.7 5:53
28th Aug 29.2% 26.4% 46.3% 28.2% 3.6 5:21
4th Sept 38.2% 57.2% 52.8% 38.1% 2.5 2:18
11th Sept 39.0% 43.9% 55.5% 27.8% 3.3 4:47

Analysis:

We have increased the percentage of women readers from about a quarter earlier in the year to just under 40% in recent weeks. The majority of new readers (people that haven’t seen the site previously) are now women.

Now this kind of interest swing isn’t abnormal. But I’d have to say that in the 3 years since this facility has become available, I’ve only seen seen our readership of women rise above 34% of the sessions once. In the available data that was in the election week in 2014 when it hit 42%

It appears to have started with Metiria Turei’s revelations about dealing with WINZ back in July. We had a sudden spike in interest from what looks like mostly the existing women readers of the site in the days.

Surprisingly, to me at least, the site didn’t get a big bump in the readership of women when Jacinda Arden became leader of parliamentary Labour in early August. I suspect that the volume of interest on that day was more normally spread.

What we did get was a strong spike of new women reader interest shortly after Metiria Turei announced her resignation from the Greens leadership and in the subsequent social media storm over that. The spike at 60.5% of new readers, mostly in one day, was only matched by election week in 2014.

The last few weeks of the election campaign has been seen a steady rise in the readership of women. A lot more new women readers with more arriving all of the time. The last few weeks have almost put the site at election 2014 level already and is far higher than it was in 2014 when it was 33% and 29% of sessions in the same two weeks before the final week. It will be interesting seeing what this week does and if it is higher then the 42% of 2014.

But I suspect that we have far more interest in this election by women than we did in 2014.


The generational stats are also showing quite a lot of change since 2014. I’ll look at them later in the week.

 

This site: Just under 90% of this site’s readers are from New Zealand and most of the overseas visitors come from places that kiwis like to frequent, mostly Aussie, US and the UK. This seldom changes very much. In the last 30 days we have more than 55 thousand unique users. This year to date more than 386 thousand unique users have been on the site. 

Users: Google has a pretty good grasp on who different people are. This is based largely on google cookies being set by web sites like ours and net utilities like facebook and gmail. Since cookies are used for all types of purposes like keeping track of logins, and filling in fields few people try to evade them. These are the unique users that google can identify. It will be slightly inaccurate because sometimes it cannot detect of the same person is accessing from different devices. But it is pretty accurate at detecting unique users.

Bounce Rate: Effectively this is the percentage of readers who read a single page and who jump away virtually immediately. This is usually low on this site but jumps sharply with social media and net search spikes.

Sessions: This is a pretty arbitrary measurement that attempts to figure out how long someone remains glued to a website. It typically has a timeout of no activity in the order of a number of minutes. Used in conjunction with % New Sessions, New Users, Pages per Session and Average Session Duration, it gives a good indications of where a surge in readers is coming from.

For instance, if you see lots of New Users and a small number of pages with a short reading time, then it generally indicates either social media or web searches from outside the usual readership reading a single page. Lots of New Sessions with similar page count and time reading tend to indicate more occasional readers popping in. High bounce rates often indicate social media or web searches on specific topics. There are a number of other combinations worth looking for. 

 

49 comments on “Women readers of the site”

  1. Hoi ! ,… well if they are all too shy to comment ,… I will.

    We need more women to get stuck into politics and have their say. You know you’ve got every right, and its time you got militant and said so. You’ve got a bloody right to say.

    Bloody Well Right – YouTube

  2. Oh , and how do we feel about this ? :

    New swamp kauri claims over ruptured pipeline – they were ‘digging …
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz › Business

    Oravida anyone ?

    Seems some women in politics are way ahead of the pack in sniffing out lucrative opportunity’s,…. doubles up on the distractions for election day I would hazard a guess,… but alas , … too late to save their skins !!!!

  3. Incognito 3

    Interesting numbers. They may be new to TS but they may have come from elsewhere (‘migration’). I also wonder whether the lower Bloke Influence Quotient (BIQ) has been tempered here on TS by the increased (for want of a better word) moderation and this, in turn, makes it more appealing for women to return to the site after their first visit. All speculation on my behalf, of course.

    • Lara 3.1

      I think you’re onto something there Incognito.

      I’m a woman (as my name suggests) and I will not engage in a site with no moderation. Because it quickly turns into a slanging match of the worst kind.

      I’m pretty tough, but I have zero tolerance for being called the kinds of names women get called… just because gender. And I have no tolerance for having my lived experience disbelieved, or being told I’m playing a “gender card” or worse “victim card”.*

      When that shit happens I leave. And I’m pretty typical of women in general with that tendency.

      And so unmoderated websites tend to be dominated by the loudest and nastiest commentators. There’s nothing much of value or interest to read. And it certainly does push women out.

      *I’m still yet to receive either a gender or victim card. Does this entitle me to a discount on public transport or something? Free eggs? What is this card?

      • Tracey 3.1.1

        You are not alone. Most blogs’ comments run by the unwritten rule of how men argue is how it is done…

  4. weka 4

    Great to have this up on Women’s Suffrage Day, thanks Lynn.

    • lprent 4.1

      I hate to say this – but it is?

      I ignore all special days including birthdays, Xmas, etc. Mostly because I hate shopping. But also because then I have to focus on things other than what I am working on.

      One of the joys of being a devout computer programmer with no kids is that most of the time I can largely ignore most things apart from the JIra – which is my list of tasks to do and the few people with priority access to me. I can just focus on the tasks at hand and the design and run automatically through household stuff like cleanjng cooking and getting the rego for the car,

      It was one of the main reasons to drop out of being a manager.

      I notice elections, when projects of various times are meant to end.

  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    Thanks for this info.

    Very interesting that the measured numbers of women readers went up after Metiria Turei talked about her historical dealings with WINZ.

    The MSM treated Turei exceedingly badly after that, while the Māori media gave the fairest coverage, and also followed Turei’s lead in focusing on the plight of beneficiaries.

    Since the so-called neoliberal revolution in the 1980s-90s, it has been particularly noticeable that low income women have suffered the most, and especially Māori and Pacific women. Middle class women have done OK, albeit, overall not as well as equivalent men.

    As reinforced to me at the rally against poverty in Otara at the weekend, it is brown women who are most likely to seek help from a AAAP advocate in dealing with W&I.

    Single mothers have been treated appallingly by the punitive approach of W&I under the NACT government.

    It would be interesting to know the breakdown of Pākehā, Māori and Pacific readers of TS – though that is not possible, and probably not desirable in these days of the surveillance state.

    • lprent 5.1

      Definitely not possible at present. The most common information requested on online sign ups is effectively your age, gender, and location.

      But since it is correlation info for marketing, I am pretty sure that either that where available or a surrogate will be being used. You don’t need to be accurate to target or even have a causation. You just need a significant correlation.

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    A really interesting post

  7. Pete 7

    Of more importance is the percentage of women who vote.

  8. Pacific princess 8

    I’m a woman and Samoan and I’ve been reading posts on TS since before the 2014 election. I was fedup with mainstream media reporting (I still am ha!) and wanted to read other points of view on issues from more critical perspectives. I value all the contributions, comments and debates here and I know many friends who cruise in to read do too!

    • JanM 8.1

      I do the same, Pacific Princess, and I comment way less than I read. Sometimes it’s because it’s all getting a bit ‘blokey’, but sometimes it’s because I want to stay out of the line of fire of one or two women commentators who tend to breath fire and brimstone! Fire and brimstone is all very well in its place, but it tends to stop conversation in its tracks.

      • tracey 8.1.1

        Oh my, is that me? I do get passionate but do not want to drive people into silence. I can take it. Please let me know.

      • weka 8.1.2

        I think (and hope) that over time there will be enough of a cultural change that we can have robust debate without quite so much of the intimidation.

        But I know what you mean. TS brings out the best in me and the worst. I like arguing, but it’s very easy for me to get caught up in the macho stuff and punch back.

        After the election I’d like to run some posts/threads asking women what they want here.

  9. Jum 9

    Farmers show their misogyny once again in their attack on first Helen Clark and now Jacinda Ardern. As did Bill English.

    Werewolf: ‘Besides all this, English also used his position to try and foist anti-abortion propaganda on the public. A practising Catholic, English told attendees at a pro-life function at the close of 1997 that he would look at cutting the funding to doctors certified to assess women for abortions,’

    http://werewolf.co.nz/2017/08/bill-english-the-forgotten-history/

    Given The Standard has followed politics for such a long time, and politicians in all their flawed lives, I hope they get their choice of Prime Minister that stands up for all New Zealanders. (As long as it is NOT National; that would be an oxymoron 🙂 )

    Good luck and don’t forget to vote, especially women. All children deserve food in their bellies and a home to feel safe in.

    • tracey 9.1

      I note in the twitter thread there is a photo of the current PM on a tractor holding up a sign calling Clark a mad cow.

  10. Kay 10

    Female reader here too, for some years now, but although I would like to participate more in some of the debates I’ve always felt quite intimidated by the much more advanced articulation on the subject from the others (my training was in fine arts!) . You may have noticed I tend to join in threads when it’s Welfare related topics, unfortunatley a bit of a long-term expert on it from the receiving end, so I feel I have something I can offer the discussion there.

    Also, having long given up on the MSM for political news, I find myself following this site to keep up with what’s going on, even during my frequent media blackouts which are periodically needed to maintain sanity. It may well be considered an “echo chamber” for most of my views, but it’s intelligent reading and my horizons have been widened greatly.

    • tracey 10.1

      Thanks for speaking up today. I hope you will keep diping your toes in comments. Your perspective is important

    • weka 10.2

      I love your comments Kay. If you ever want to Guest Post, let us know. I’ve seen comments of yours that would work as posts without too much extra work. You’d also be welcome to post under a pseudonym and have some tailored moderation in the comments.

      • Kay 10.2.1

        Thank you Weka, I’m quite surprised you think I’d be up to a GP here. I can put together a pretty decent essay and articulate resonably well in writing (guess my degree wasn’t a total waste of time!) but like I said before, I’ve always felt quite intimidated by the high level of political writing on this blog. But I’d certainly be willing to give it a go sometime, how does one go about making that happen?
        PS already using a pseudonym- no way on earth could I ever have my real name online anywhere. Not even on FB.

        • weka 10.2.1.1

          Let’s check in a couple of weeks after the election. I need a bit of a break probably next week, but then I can talk you through the process. Are you ok with me emailing you? (I can get your email from the back end).

          • Kay 10.2.1.1.1

            No worries weka. But I’ll have to change the email you can see here to one I’m more likely to look at. I’ve just done that now for this post, so I assume that’s the one you’ll be able to read? (Sorry, completely ignorant about these tech things)

          • Kay 10.2.1.1.2

            No worries weka. I think we’ll all be needing time off! Hear from you when I hear from you 🙂

          • Kay 10.2.1.1.3

            That’ll be fine weka. I think we’ll all be needing a break for a while!

            The email I use for this site is one I rarely use routinely so if for any reason you don’t get a reply it’s simply because my shot memory has meant I’ve forgotten to check that inbox! If so, just put something on an Open Mike to remind me please? I’ve just tried to change the email for this site but it won’t let me post anything so not going to make myself all flustered over that.

            • weka 10.2.1.1.3.1

              Sounds good. If you change your email when commenting, the first comment goes to Moderation to be released because the system thinks you are a new commenter. We can sort it out in a few weeks 🙂

      • tracey 10.2.2

        I second this

  11. patricia bremner 11

    Hello everyone, I enjoy reading the different points of view. My Dad and I had debates and threw ideas about. Mum called it arguing for the sake of it.

    So how you discuss begins early I guess. I was lucky my Dad discussed ideas, and didn’t think they had a gender.

    I thank the moderators, and the participants. I enjoy throwing my thoughts in.

    There are some very erudite people on this site. They have not belittled anyone, just the occasional daft piece of logic.

    We are all guilty of generalisations and bias at times, and it is enjoyable to stretch.

    It is easy to become hidebound. So thanks Iprent and others. We need this.

  12. A new world-wide definition of stupidity “a NZ dairy farmer’.

    I too, as a female person, read the excellent Standard every morning – and often check in several times during the day.

    • tracey 12.1

      Thanks tomorrow. I do want to question the generalisation. Only 600 farmers, friends, family, fed farmers and some NZF and National activists. I suspect many farmers will be embarassed by some of those signs yesterday. We all need to take a deep breath, townies and cockies all, abd not fall into English’s trap to make us angry at each other. Farmers have been manipulated by half truths and lies by Joyce and English.

  13. Firepig 13

    I resolved some years ago, after a miserable experience commenting here, never to do it again. It’s too much of a male bear-pit for me. Good on the brave women, though. (I will now continue to follow my resolve.)

    • r0b 13.1

      Very sorry that you had a bad experience here. I think we’re going to see more women writing here in future, and hopefully a change in culture.

    • tracey 13.2

      Thanks for stating this.

    • Siobhan 13.3

      I can’t say your wrong, thats for sure. But if it makes you feel better, I know a bunch of men who don’t comment on the Standard for similar reasons.
      And its not just the regulars putting the boot in, its the confrontational style of some moderators.
      There are times when I see someone being dealt to and I question being here myself. Am I enabling what could be seen as bullying by even being here?

      I console myself with the knowledge, that this is an invaluable forum for political stories and insight, and that ‘robust conversation’ (ha!) is probably the best way to fine tune, and possibly even revise, your own political views.

      On balance, I think TS is an important part of the political landscape in NZ. And some days, well, it just pays to keep your head below the parapet!

      • greywarshark 13.3.1

        TS should encourage a review of one’s own opinions and to balance them against the known factors. Holding back on criticising others because they are flavour of the month or the decade shouldn’t be forced. Fair criticism should be the rule, and not be allowed to continue for too long. Being beaten over the head with a handbag or a baseball bat give very different outcomes, but both are negative and so it is good if TS can allow tolerance of robust expression that has a natural limit and if not an imposed one.

  14. Cinny 14

    Cool post, I’m fascinated by politics and read a variety of blogs.

    I’m grateful to TS for the information and comments I discover here, but even more grateful for the lack of bullshit old boys club crap which puts one off from commenting (rightwing blogs are riddled with that kind of dark ages crap)

    Big up’s to all those who contribute to TS, thanks for making us feel welcome, I thoroughly enjoy the engagement on TS

  15. Andre 15

    If it’s worth anything to the likes of Kay, Karen, Firepig and other women hesitant to comment: when I scroll down the list of comments I have a lot more “what’s she got to say?” moments than I have “what’s he got to say?” or “what’s it got to say?”.

  16. Vaughan Little 16

    i walked away from this website a few years back cos the comments sections often had a way too aggro element. plus the partisanship got a bit tiring ~ by which i mean being partisan as much as reading partisan content.

    back when i was following the standard, low female participation rates were sometimes discussed. i think the buzz was that some regular female contributors had been chased off by pretty nasty commenters. but beside the gender specific stuff, there was some sentiment that things were just too intense for a lot of women to feel comfortable, and that was my experience also.

    from my limited use of the site over the past few months, it does seem as though there is a better vibe than i remember before. maybe cos one or two pretty negative people have moved on, maybe cos things were rougher for the left around 2014.

    • lprent 16.1

      We had some authors who were most notable for fighting with each other got downgraded and left last year which helped a lot.

      Part of it is simply because we looked at it earlier in the year and decided that due to workload we’d start handing out post-election bans for anyone who had behaviour that caused moderators too much work.

      It seems to have shifted the balance.

  17. Delia 17

    I was bought up in a home where my young parents talked politics at the table as a normal part of conversation and it was the same at my grandmothers. I have always talked politics and I believe it is because of this early influence as a small child. My extended family still talk politics as a natural part of conversation, we are all seniors now.

  18. eco Maori/kiwi 18

    Good work Iprent And Its assume to see all the proud lady’s standing up for them selves and for there rights one of our main sports lady Lydia has got her game on the up and our net ball team have got there winning team and management sorted as i have said before they all make great roll models for our young girls in NZ and around the world to aspire and hopefully some will become leaders of our world.
    I say leaders because women are more humane and have advanced view on reality than men.
    And this is a logical opinion because over the century Women have not had the strength of a man to win there battles Women have to out wit out think men to survive
    and that is the reason that Women are smarter than men In my view.
    Big upps to these great ladies
    Robyn Lane of Gisborne
    Janette Walker Labour Kaikoura candidate and many more great women fighting for there rights and a future for our children.
    When I have examined my past there are a lot of times I wished I listened to my wife so I am now and that is the reason I am making a stand for me and my family

  19. I love eco Maori/kiwi and his comments and I wish the men in my family were as kind and him and my splendid sisters !

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