The US is approaching gender equality—on social media

Statistically speaking, this could be anyone.
Statistically speaking, this could be anyone.
Image: Reuters/Ricardo Moraes
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American women still face an uphill battle in the workplace, but there’s one setting in which they have had the upper hand: social media.

But now, men are catching up there. In the past, data from the Pew Research Center found that there were significant gender gaps in US social media use—with a higher proportion of women on the internet using social media. In November 2010, the gap was as high as 15%.

That gap appears to be closing. The center reported Friday that 73% of adult men who are online say that they use social media platforms—not far from the 80% of online women who say that they do so.

Yet, despite the narrowing overall gap, the researchers found that there are still gendered patterns and preferences, which vary by social media platform. The picture-sharing sites Pinterest and Instagram have a larger female user base, as does Facebook; while the discussion forums Reddit, Digg, and Slashdot attract a more male user base. When it comes to Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn, the gender gaps are not as significant.