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.
As an intersectional feminist organisation, we include with women all people whose voices are marginalised in mainstream media, thus the + in our name.
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 and private clients.
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, sign up for our community newsletter, and spread the word.
Join the Quote This Woman+ movement
Got somebody to recommend for the database? Pop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to donate to our cause? Scan or click the QR code below to Snapscan us.
Or check out our BackaBuddy campaign here.
Interested in our media newsletter? Sign up below.
Become a voice, access the database or volunteer your time.
Quote This Woman+ saved from closing thanks to 2022 grant from the Open Society Foundation for South Africa
A R700 000 shot in the arm from the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA) will allow Quote This Woman+ to keep its doors open in 2022.
We are looking for someone who can become a safe pair of hands for Quote This Woman + from a governance perspective.
Quote This Woman+ needs top monitoring and evaluation talent to supplement its small and agile core team.
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.
Why are there so few women+ sources?
One contributing factor is that for many reasons, women and members of other marginalised groups 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.
Why do journalists use more men sources than women+ sources in the news?
in the course of our work, QW+ hasn’t found a single newsroom that wasn’t aware of the gender gap in their sources. And, despite varying levels of unconscious bias, we haven’t found a single newsroom uninterested in addressing the problem. So why this gender bias in the news? Many newsrooms significantly undercount their own source gender gap: when QW+ initially approached media people before the 2019 elections, we overwhelmingly saw a disconnect between the number of women that they – editors, journalists, producers, and presenters, male and female alike – think they use as sources, and how many they actually use. Also deciding who makes news is a complex juggling act made by journalists, editors and producers daily, in the context of diminishing budgets, few experienced staff, and workloads that have expanded to include the creation of content across increasing numbers of media platforms. The pressure to get a snappy soundbite from an established expert is intense. Too often this means that reporters fall back on the sources they are familiar with.
Why do women+ experts sometimes shy away from the media spotlight?
It’s been shown that women and other marginalised groups generally receive less mentoring, and are less likely to be invited to share the centre-stage early on in their careers, meaning that often they’re less confident owning their voices or holding the spotlight. There are women+ who may acknowledge that they know a great deal about a particular subject, but they’ll keep off our database because they believe there are other people who know even more. The other side of the story is that no matter how senior they are, women not only carry out the majority of unpaid work at home, they also consistently pick up the low-grade work that keeps every organisation ticking over: taking notes in meetings and organising rosters/schedules. Women avoid media engagements because they do not have the time.
I have some names to suggest to you for voices - what should I do?
How do I know that my info is secure on this website?
Please see our privacy and security policies.
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?
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.
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 offer free media training courses whenever we can, and other courses that we charge for, too. We can offer individual media training to you if you’d like it: and also a bursary scheme for candidates unable to afford our paid media training courses.
For more information, contact us on email@example.com.
What are my responsibilities as a source?
Your responsibilities are to:
- Tell the truth as you understand it.
- Only offer information if you are sure of its accuracy.
- Be clear when you are offering an opinion.
- Ensure that any information about your name, title and background is correct – spell them out.
- Steer clear of criticising colleagues in your field, and refrain from saying things about other people that might cause trouble for you or for the journalist.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like our help.
For now, here are our some 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 if you don’t want some details published, 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 on to another story.
I would like to be removed from your database. How do I go about that?
Please email email@example.com.
How does QW+ ensure a healthy and harassment-free workplace?
To see our policy, click here.