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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

Quote This Woman+ is a non-profit company based in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, but working throughout South Africa.

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

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.

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?
This database is open not only to women, but also to experts in their fields who are LGBTQIA, or who for any other reason, identify with this attempt to obvert mainstream voices and narratives in the media. Our premise is that if someone believes that they belong on this database, then they probably do.
Is this project limited to experts relevant to media in South Africa?
During its start-up phase, Quote This Woman+ is focussing on experts for the South African media. As we refine our systems and secure funding, we will be able to extend this project to the rest of Africa – and beyond.
What areas is QW+ looking for Woman+ experts in?
During the build-up to South Africa’s 2019 elections, our main focus is on experts in areas related to employment, education, and land. Beyond that time, we are looking for experts in:
Activism and Advocacy
Addiction / drugs
Advertising
Africa
Ageing
Agriculture & food security
American Presidency
Arms deal
Animals
Artificial intelligence
Arts and culture
Banking
Bureaucracy
Business
Cancer
Care giving
Circumcision and Initiation
Class
Climate change
Conflict
Criminal justice
Cyber security
Death penalty
Death and palliative care
Development
Discrimination
Diet
Digital and mobile
Disability
Disaster Recovery
Domestic violence
E-commerce
Economy
Education
Elections
Employment
Energy and ESKOM
Entrepreneurship
Environment
Ethics
Fake news
Feminism
Finance
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Aid
Gender based violence
Governance
Government
Guns
Health crimes
Health
Homelessness
Housing
History
HIV
Humanities
Human rights
Immigration
Industry
Internet
International issues
Journalism
Justice
Labour
Land
Language
Law and legal
Legislature
LGBTQ+
Media
Mental health
Microfinance
Middle East
Military
National Security
NGOs and non-profits
Nuclear – ENERGY / WAR
Nutrition
Peacekeeping
Pharmacy
Plastics and pollution
Politics
Political violence
Popular culture
Population
Poverty
Public health
Public Safety
Race
Refugees
Religion – Christian, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Other
Religious holidays and observances
Reproductive health
Science
Sexual harassment
Sexual violence and rape
SMME
Social justice
Social media
Society
Sports
State capture
Street children
Taxation
Teaching
Technology
Telecommunications
Terrorism
Trade
Trafficking
Transport
Traffic and roads
United Nations
Violence against women
War
Weather
Women
Women in business
Women in politics
Women in STEM
Women’s empowerment
Women’s issues
Women’s leadership
Xenophobia
You do not list my area of expertise - what must I do?
We are happy to keep growing our fields – please contact us so we can work out how best to include you.
How do we know that this project isn’t duplicating something similar in South Africa?
There are a number of expert source databases in South Africa: many universities release databases of this sort, as do many institutes and associations in various fields. There is no single database in South Africa focusing on gender, however. Quote this Woman+ has two distinct advantages over other databases:

  • 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 are too busy, please let the journalist know as soon as possible so that they can move on to another source. If possible, suggest somebody else that the journalist could speak to instead of you.

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?
Please put us in contact with your media department, so we can work out a way of facilitating media access in keeping with your organisational policies.
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?
Contact us immediately – we will trace the journalist and help you get resolution to your grievance.
Why are there so few women sources?
One contributing factor is that for many reasons, women generally do not position themselves as experts and do not take initiative to pitch their work to media outlets. Some women believe they need additional training or education before they’ll be viewed as credible media sources. Many women underestimate the significance of their knowledge. QW+ believes women+ need to recognise the value of their voices: that they have the power to shape conversations, raise awareness, and create change.
What counts as a source in the eyes of the media?
There are no hard and fast rules. Different journalists and different types of media value different things. The kind of questions a journalist is likely to ask when looking for an expert source are “Why you?”, “Why now?”, and, “So what?”.

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?
Please suggest names by clicking our JOIN NOW button.
What will you do if there is poor media uptake?
We have done our homework to make sure that Quote This Woman+ is a project that will get media support. We have canvassed newsrooms, journalists and editors to make sure that database will serve the media as much as it will serve women+ experts and society at large.
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?
One of the risks that we identify with this project is that many women are not socialised for self-promotion. We are aware that we will probably need to actively identify many of the experts that are out there, and encourage them to join our database.
For those who are cautious at the thought of sharing personal information on our website, we suggest a visit to our privacy policy and our media policy. We also assure them that the amount of information that you decide to share is voluntary – each person may disclose only as much in information as they are comfortable to do.
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 a good idea to have a short bio – around five lines – that backs up why you’re a great person to talk to on your area of expertise; lists any organisations you’re affiliated with; and gives a high-level perspective of what is at stake in the area you can speak on. If you are happy to share your profile photo, it’s great to have a professional-quality one on hand too.

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 info@quotethiswoman.org.za.
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 info@quotethiswoman.org.za 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?
You can choose whether or not to provide the database with your telephone/cell phone details. However, most journalists work to very tight deadlines, and cannot wait very long for comments or to arrange interviews. There is the chance that by the time you reply to an email, the journalist may have used another expert source, or moved onto another story.
I would like to be removed from your database. How do I go about that?
Please email info@quotethiswoman.org.za.

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