Quote This Woman+
In South Africa, less than 20% of sources quoted in the news are women: our online database of woman+ experts is working to change that.
Why the + after Woman? Because our database is open to any expert in any field from any part of our society who identifies their voice with the project’s values and aims.
If you believe you belong on our database, then you probably do – so join us now!
Who we are
Our aim is to contribute to gender transformation of the media landscape through the use of woman+ voices and narratives that better correlate to South African demographics.
We are building a body of woman+ experts in traditionally male-dominated fields to appear on panels and in the news, and we’re collating new narratives from this database with the aim of broadening the news agenda.
What we do
We run an online database of experts from unheard and under-represented groups in society who have stories to tell that that they believe can deepen the news narratives in our society.
We lobby media decision-makers and journalists to broaden the pool of experts and sources with whom they engage, and we curate and co-create news content to get women+ voices heard.
We also offer media and communication training for our database members.
Why we care
There is much happening, both in South Africa and the rest of the world, that convinces us that democracy will be deepened if more voices talk more publically on a greater variety of topics.
With general elections in the near future, we’d like our database to enable the media to easily represent a diversity of voices in political news. We believe that a fairer coverage of gender issues in the 2019 elections[i] can shift the current dominant perception that the participation of women+ in politics is not as valuable as that of men.
[i] Research conducted by Media Monitoring Africa looking at media coverage of elections shows ongoing persistent biases towards male sources and on historically identified “male” issues. See these reports for further information: https://www.mediamonitoringafrica.org/democracyandgovernance/elections/
What YOU can do
Journalists: Sign up for our newsletter.
This option is open to students and freelancers, too. We will ask you a few simple questions to verify your credentials, and then we look forward to sharing our growing database of experts with you.
Experts and voices: Join our database & encourage your brilliant Woman+ peers to join, too.
A few easy steps will get you set up on our Woman+ database, and there are options to upload photos, videos & documents to promote your voice even more. And you can add more info as it becomes available.
Project supporters: Sign our Pledge.
If you’re lucky enough to have a voice that is currently listened to in mainstream media, we’d love you to show our support by signing our pledge: to encourage journalists and news curators to include a Woman+ opinion as well as yours in the stories that they write.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you have a + sign after Women?
Is this project limited to experts relevant to media in South Africa?
What areas is QW+ looking for Woman+ experts in?
Activism and Advocacy
Addiction / drugs
Agriculture & food security
Arts and culture
Circumcision and Initiation
Death and palliative care
Digital and mobile
Energy and ESKOM
Gender based violence
Law and legal
NGOs and non-profits
Nuclear – ENERGY / WAR
Plastics and pollution
Religion – Christian, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Other
Religious holidays and observances
Sexual violence and rape
Traffic and roads
Violence against women
Women in business
Women in politics
Women in STEM
You do not list my area of expertise - what must I do?
How do we know that this project isn’t duplicating something similar in South Africa?
- It covers all areas of expertise that the media require
- It can plug into existing newsroom databases
How do I know that my info is secure on this website?
What if a journalist wants a comment on something and I am unable to respond for some reason?
If you cannot respond because you’ve been asked a question beyond your area of expertise, please let the journalist know ASAP and again, if you can, suggest somebody else they can speak to instead.
I would love to join this website but my employer does not allow me to speak to the media? What should I do?
What do I do if a journalist harasses me or if I feel that my information on this website has been abused in any way?
Why are there so few women sources?
What counts as a source in the eyes of the media?
If you can answer these questions regarding a trending news item, you’re likely to be a valued source.
A quick whip around the web highlights the following points as far as what makes a good media expert:
- Someone who has knowledge, authority and experience – either because they have conducted academic research in an area or they have hands-on work or other related experience in that area
- Someone who can be relied upon not to say exactly the same thing as everybody else
- Someone who thinks ahead of the story -someone with relevant insight who can offer suggestions on the pertinent issues being missed by the media, and the questions that journalists should be asking in order to get the missing perspective.
I have some names to suggest to you for voices - what should I do?
What will you do if there is poor media uptake?
Quote This Woman+ is a learning project that will continually work with media both large and small to make sure this project actively supports their needs. One of the factors of which we are critically aware, is that newsrooms today are under-resourced and time-constrained. We will highlight those stories where our agenda, and the agenda of our media, overlap, and supply the media with news in the form of expert quotes, infographics, press releases, and comment/analysis pieces that help lessen he burden on the newsroom and encourage the new narratives to which we aspire.
What will you do if there is poor expert uptake?
We have a policy of asking those experts who are suggested to us, and who would rather not participate in this project, to let us know what about the database makes them uncomfortable, so that we can learn from their experiences, and adapt / amend Quote This Woman+ as we progress.
What can I do to prepare myself as a potential news source?
It’s also a good idea to think beforehand about what kind of audiences you’re best suited to talking to: would you be comfortable going on TV/radio; are you better speaking, or at writing?
Almost all journalists will agree that the best sources are those that are available at short notice, and who are able to view an interview as a good conversation rather than just the delivery of hard facts. Relax, share your passion, and be yourself.
I’ve never spoken to journalists before, what should I expect?
Can you help me with media training or speech writing / public speaking tips?
For now, here are out top tips:
- Offer to provide additional resources (related data, useful links and reports)
- Ask that your website and/or contact details are included wherever this could be of benefit to you, and check that journalists know the correct spellings, links, phone numbers, etc. It’s probably best not to assume that these details will be included in your article unless you do this. And conversely, don’t assume that they won’t, if that’s what you prefer, unless you clarify that beforehand too.
- Remember to use plain language and avoid jargon – it’s the best way to capture your audience’s attention and make your story interesting.
- Ask yourself: are you choosing language that could write off the people who would disagree with you? Could you use more empathy and respect in the pursuit of changing minds?
- Develop several short, topical quotes that encapsulate the key issue.
- Try to anticipate negative themes and prepare answers.
- If you are unable to comment on a particular situation, explain why; journalists will be much more sympathetic if they understand why you are withholding the information and when it will be available.
- Always ask the journalist what their deadline is to allow you enough time to respond appropriately.
- It is always safe to assume that nothing you say is ‘off the record’. If you don’t want to see your comments published, then rather don’t say anything.