Ever feel like you’re hearing the same voices in the news, over and over? Kathy Magrobi did.
Frustrated by the one-sided, male-dominated portrayal of public issues in the South African media, she founded QW+ (or “Quote This Woman +”), a nonprofit that’s closing the gender representation gap in South African media by providing journalists and media professionals with an all-female expert database.
The plus sign (+) means the project amplifies not only the voices of women, but also other experts and thought leaders whose views and insights too often get left out of mainstream news.
If you’re a reporter or editor, a TV news producer or booker, a podcast host, the editor of a journal, or the organizer of a conference or panel of experts, this list is for you.
Last year, NGO Media Monitoring Africa published a report on media coverage of the Covid pandemic in South Africa and found that women represented just 21 percent of all sources quoted. Journalists complained they couldn’t find enough women experts to interview and quote.
The result was a gender lopsided view of the world.
“Whenever I picked up a newspaper or went online to read the news or listen to the radio, it was always men’s voices,” Magrobi said. “And it was always the same men, the same few dial-a-quote men who were being quoted over and over again.”
“Whenever I picked up a newspaper or went online to read the news or listen to the radio, it was always men’s voices. . . the same few dial-a-quote men.”
Magrobi lives in “a sleepy little town” in KwaZula-Natal, in eastern South Africa. She took part in a media accelerator project at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to pick up the skills to get her project aloft.
QW+ has more than 350 women (and otherwise marginalized) thought-leaders, experts, activists and trailblazers in its database, and sends regular media updates to journalists.
Other groups around the world are working to achieve the same goal. If you believe we don’t hear from enough women in our public conversation, you should check them out:
Why should the gatekeepers of our public opinion forums have to rely on the usual suspects to inform their views, construct their arguments, and shape their understanding of important issues?
They shouldn’t. Now there are no more excuses.
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