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 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
We believe that often, the voices and narratives of women+, are very different from those of men and that gender transformation will lead to a media landscape that is a richer, deeper, and more robust.
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.
We’d like our database to enable the media to easily represent a diversity of voices, but as an NPO we require funding to keep us moving forward. If you are interested in donating to QW+, please click below.
What YOU can do
Journalists: Sign up for our media updates.
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: Donate, volunteer, tell others.
We rely on donations from experts and academics who believe in the work were doing – get in touch if you think you could support us monetarily.
QW+ is also on the look out for volunteers who can help with lobbying, advocacy and database improvement. As a start-up that’s essentially a one-woman band, volunteers will be the difference between whether QW+ succeeds or fails in the future. If you have some spare time and want to help us out, feel free to contact us.
Lastly, the more people who know and use Quote This Woman+, the better our chance of acheiving our ultimate goal of a truly representative media. Follow us on our social media links below, and spread the word.
Join the Quote This Woman+ movement
Become a voice, access the database or volunteer your time.
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?
We can offer media training to you if you’d like it: we have cost effective courses, and also a bursary scheme for candidates unable to afford media training. For more information, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you help me with media training or speech writing / public speaking tips?
Yes, Quote This Woman+ can help you prepare yourself for speaking to the media and building a media profile through our media training and by linking you to a mentorship programme. Contact us on email@example.com if you’d like our help.
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.
I would prefer to be contacted in writing, not via a phone call. Is that okay?
I would like to be removed from your database. How do I go about that?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.