Self-Help Industry Targets Women, but is Dominated by Men

The self-help industry targets women, but is totally dominated by (aging) white men.

Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Zig Zigler, Wayne DryerFor days I’ve researched, trying to find anything that addressed this problem, and nothing. How is that possible?

When I Google: “women in the self-help industry,” I get books that women should read, or other random articles about the industry. I DON’T get a list of women who top the charts, or are household names. In fact, when I google: “top earning self-help gurus” I get list, after list of (mostly aging, white) men like Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer and Zig Zigler. In fact Dr. Laura and Rhonda Byrne are the only women on these top lists, and several don’t even show them. 


WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN in self-help? 

This industry is worth $11 plus BILLION dollars a year in America alone, and 70-80% of the target market is women, yet we are not being led by one of us! I first noticed this when I attended the Tony Robbins Success Resources event this past spring. I was shocked that no women were booked to speak at the day long multi-speaker conference. 

Why are we getting our “motivation,” and strategies for “how to be successful,” from men?

If a man is telling ME (a woman) how to climb the corporate ladder to success, he is not speaking from experience. His opportunities as a white man, are much different from mine as a women. He does NOT know my point of view. He has never been the only woman at a company, or a minority working in a white male dominated industry. He has never been a mother (or God forbid a single mom of multiple kids) having to balance career, with being female, and full-time parent. He is therefore, speaking from a very limited (and privileged) viewpoint. It’s easy for him to say all the things we should do to become successful because he does not face many of the challenges and obstacles that the majority of the world’s population face. He is part of an élite class. The challenges are different. What worked for him may or may not work for me. 

Why has this industry left so little space for the women’s voice? 

Where is our point of view? Why are we not teaching each other what works in the real world? Why aren’t we giving other women examples, strategies and tips for how to get results? We are the ones who find and create strategies that are effective for us. Why are we listening to men telling us what to do, and how to do it? Have they lived one day in our life? 

Let me just say that I’m not playing the “poor women,” card here at all. Trust me feminism hasn’t been my shtick. I’ve worked with all men my entire corporate career. I’ve fought for a seat at the table and I’ve played with the big boys, I never let it stop me. I didn’t take it as a disadvantage, but as a challenge. Yet still, it was NOT the same experience that a white man would have. As a women I have to make different choices, do more, over compensate, deal with constant inappropriate behavior… the list goes on. So if the only advice I’m getting for how to succeed is from a man who knows non of this, how useful is that? 

Sure, there are universal truths. Such as our thoughts predict our future, and basic concepts that apply to all, but the real world experience is lacking, and I guess for me… that’s what I need. I want to hear from someone who’s walked in my shoes and made it, or is trying to make it. I want to learn from the wisdom and mistakes of someone who knows my struggle and can relate to my life. I want to know that something works in PRACTICE not just in THEORY. 

I don’t know how to change all this, it seems an impossible task, but i can’t believe that I am the only one who is ready for a change. I refuse to believe that there is no room at the top for a woman to make what a man makes in this industry, or MORE. I refuse to believe that a women can’t reach millions the way a man does. I chose to ignore the lists that say men make the best motivational speakers. 

How can we change this? 

Step up. It is our time. If you are a women and/or a minority in the self-help industry, it’s time for us to step up our game, let’s take this industry by storm! Let’s bring diverse voices to an industry that has the potential to change millions of lives around the world, but desperately NEEDS our diverse voices to collectively rise. Let’s impact people like US, leading through example, to show EVERYONE that anything is possible. 

Put our money where our mouth is. Maybe the biggest way we can quickly and effectively make a statement is to support the women who ARE making a name for themselves in the industry. We can buy their books, subscribe to their lists, listen to their podcasts and share them on social media. That is the POWER we all hold at our fingertips to effect major change. We can help these women reach the levels of success the men have achieved. 

Top female self-help gurus

Oprah! The queen herself. Without her there would be no Hustle Believe Receive, or any of what I’ve been working on these last 8 years. It’s been her inspiration, motivation and programing that has encouraged my journey and helped me take major steps toward following my dream. What I’ve learned from her is priceless. 

Top women in self-help Louise HayLouise HayYou Can Heal Your Life I love this book, it’s been a great resource for me both in the start of my journey and throughout. She’s been around in the industry for a long time and is well-loved. I first heard of her on Oprah and her comments about changing our thoughts have been pivotal in my transformation. 

Sheryl SandbergLean In This is another book that’s on my list, but I’ve loved watching her interviews with Oprah. I love that she brings the corporate perspective to self-help.

Top women in self-help Jen SinceroJill SinceroYou are a Badass Great book by a real chick in a real voice that us regular people can relate to and dig! Love that this book has become a best-seller and that she’s been creating so much buz, she is part of this fresh voice that the industry needs!

Gabrielle BernsteinThe Universe Has Your Back I haven’t read this one yet but it’s on my list. I saw her on Oprah and loved her style and what she’s all about. She is definitely part of this next women in self-help Gretchen Rubin The Happiness Project

Gretchen RubinThe Happiness Project Loved this book! It’s refreshing, easy reading and helps us remember what truly matters. This was a book I could relate to on many levels. 

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