A few months ago, I talked about inspirational speakers in my newsletter, The Science of Speaking. I quickly realized that most of the inspirational speakers I liked were men. The names of Martin Luther King, Les Brown, Joel Osteen popped into my mind immediately. But I was hard pressed to come up with as many women. I'm a fan of Lisa Nichols. Who else? I started to pull names like Oprah. Although she's a good speaker, she's a major celebrity and not primarily a motivational speaker. The same is true for Suze Orman and Jillian Michaels. Barbara DeAngelis was one of the few names that was up there in status with the men. I don't count women celebrities who get paid to speak; it's about authors and speakers who become a mainstream brand.
As a long time member of National Speakers Association, I know there is a plethora of women speakers. The membership is 52% female and 48% male. But it seems that the most successful or celebrated speakers are men. Even on a smaller scale, it seems like the men are more visible. Then, there are the industry level celebrities such as Brendon Burchard, Yanik Silver, and James Malinchak. Another example is a successful internet marketer and speaker who sponsors a few webinars of other speakers which he then promotes to his list. So far, these sponsored webinars have been given by male speakers.
So the question remains. Is the professional speaking industry a male-dominated field? Why would that be when so many speakers are women? When I was a graduate student at Columbia University I noticed this same pattern. My field of speech pathology was concentrated with women. Yet, most (not all) of the professors were men. And there was only one woman department head at the time of my graduation.
Is it that men are more aggressive or more focused? Is there a media bias toward male celebrity speakers? Do men take more risks in their careers? Are they better marketers? When it comes to celebrity motivational speakers why aren't there more women on top? What is your opinion?