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Help 300 new African women+ experts #BreakTheBias in the Media

Funds Raised:
R 6 039
Fundraising Target:
R 15 000
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Personal message

I started Quote This Woman+ three years ago when I learned that in South Africa, only 20% of the experts who are quoted in the news are women. This statistic is fairly consistent wherever you are across the globe. And, I realised, certain types of men: cisgenger, urban, and most likely with highly educated, upper class accents. Not at all what the real world looks like.

In the meanwhile, the opinions, expertise and lived experiences of people in the margins were being silenced. And at the same time, the issues strongly affecting them were becoming invisible. I thought: if women cannot get their voices heard, how can they get their opinions noticed? Because a voice in the media must help with a seat at decision-making tables.

The challenge

I found out that 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.

However: there wasn’t a single newsroom or freelancer that didn’t want to address the problem. Overwhelmingly, media outlets in Southern Africa do want fresh, credible and diverse voices to quote. They know just how precarious journalism is if it does not amplify the voices of half the people in our country.

Women offer different perspectives, often deeply nuanced perspectives that can make for a vastly richer media landscape. In a world of fake news and binary thinking, these different perspectives can become critical in deepening and broadening debates.

So, just in time for the news around South Africa’s 2019 elections, Quote This Woman+ (QW+) came to life. In its first year, the organisation was volunteer-driven: a non-profit working to bridge the gender gap in the media landscape, by increasing the number of women (and other marginalised groups) used as expert sources by journalists. We started by pulling together an online database of experts, activists and opinion-leaders normally overlooked by journalists, and by lobbying reporters to turn to these sources first for their news programmes and stories. 

Where we are now

Today, over 1000 reporters make use of the QW+ database, which contains the names of over 600 brilliant women+ experts across Southern Africa, reaching up into sub-Saharan Africa. There is a + in our name because our database welcomes any marginalised expert who believes that they should be included on our database - perhaps because of a disability, or sexual and gender orientation, or anything else. 

These experts are quoted online and in print, on radio, TV, podcasts and in documentaries. They are regulars on your favourite South African independents like NewzRoom Afrika, New Frame, GroundUp, M&G, and Daily Maverick. All the news groups feature them, as do an illustrious list of foreign media: AFP, Al Jazeera, BBC, Bloomberg, The Economist, Reuters, The New York Times, and The Times of London.

Every fortnight, QW+ sends out a media alert featuring the experts journalists should have on their radar for the burning issues of the day. Every week, the list of journalists asking for access to our database grows - as does the number of experts on it.

Our financial model

QW+ exists because of the support of African feminist, academic and media-supporting communities who believe the people who are overlooked are the most important to listen to.

  • In 2019, QW+ funded it’s start-up through successful crowdfunding of R100 000.
  • In 2020, we received an operational grant which was R60,000 short of our budget, and we crowdfunded this shortfall - plus an additional R6000!
  • In 2021, we crowdfunded over R100,000 to fund a crisis intervention around the KwaZulu-Natal protest action that was not covered by our grant.
  • For the rest of 2022, we are looking to raise core funding to hire a part-time database co-ordinator to put three hundred new community expert voices on our database. 

Long term impact (past achievements)

At QW+, we know that media narratives that are skewed towards men are counter-intuitive to the ideals of an inclusive, democratic free press. 

We also know that the women+ who are the most severely impacted by poverty, inequality, poor service delivery, poor healthcare, violence, health crises, environmental degradation, and the overall failure of democratic functioning almost never have their voices heard and almost never have a seat at the decision-making table. 

Despite this: when crisis hits, they are the people found organising their neighbourhoods and communities, and they are the ones implementing solutions that are the safety nets for many.

If we as a society, country, continent  - world - are serious about trying to rebuild inclusively; we have to make sure we hear from all the population. And that means ensuring that the voices of women+ leaders and community members are amplified as much as the voices of men.

This means we need to build out our database with a special emphasis on community voices. And we need extra resources for this.

We need this core funding to hire a part time database researcher to find the community leaders, agitators, activists, trail-blazers, and opinion-leaders who need to be on our database as much as academics do. This researcher needs to focus on overlooked localities and topics: and when we have these additional people on our database, we will provide the media training and mentoring so that they are comfortable owning the media spotlight.

Every rand counts

R15: For the price of a chocolate bar, you win a place in our hearts and (optional) on our website donor thank you list for one month.

R35: For the price of a cappuccino, you’ve given us 20 mins of database research! You win a place in our hearts and (optional) on our website donor thank you list for one month.

R100: For the price of a burger, we’ve identified one new member. You win a place in our hearts and (optional) on our website donor thank you list for one month.

R250: For the price of a mini-pedi, we’ve reached out to one new member. You win a place in our hearts and (optional) on our website donor thank you list for one month.

R500: You’ve allowed us to  answer one journalist’s media query to find a woman+ source. You win a place in our hearts and (optional) on our website donor thank you list for one month as well as an (optional) mention on our next media alert.

R1500+: Your generosity has allowed us to identify, reach out to, verify and add one new women+ expert to our database. You win a place in our hearts and (optional) on our website donor thank you list for one month as well as an (optional) mention on our next media alert.

 

About Kathleen:

Kathleen is motivated every day by the superhero work of lion-hearted, unyielding women in unimaginable circumstances; holding together communities across Africa through schools, clinics, churches, mosques, civic groups, community organisations, research units, and the like. 

Kath has two daughters in their twenties and believes that every time a QW+ expert exercises their right to speak, they join a movement of women who have reclaimed another inch of space in a world that is equally everybody’s.  She says this is the model she wants her daughters - and her daughters’ daughters, to inherit.

Donations

  • Nov 09, 2022 - USD $ 30.45 Fees covered
  • "Keep on shining a light on women" - Heike

  • Apr 14, 2022 - R 500.00 Fees covered
  • "Keep up your excellent work to raise voices. " - Narnia

  • Apr 13, 2022 - R 500.00 Fees covered
  • "Kindness" - Steven

  • Apr 13, 2022 - R 200.00 Fees covered
  • "Representation matters" - Sioux

  • Apr 09, 2022 - USD $ 36.86 Fees covered
  • "Keep going! Brilliant work " - Lisa MacLeod

  • Apr 01, 2022 - R 200.00 Fees covered
  • "Love your work! Continue doing great things. " - Fatima

  • Mar 31, 2022 - R 250.00 Fees covered
  • "A really worthwhile initiative" - Angela W

  • Mar 25, 2022 - USD $ 26.00 Fees covered
  • "This is a wonderful initative, happy to help anyway I can!" - Pearl Pswarayi

  • Mar 22, 2022 - USD $ 36.03 Fees covered
  • "Great stuff!" - Sean Johnson

  • Mar 17, 2022 - R 500.00
  • "Keep up the excellent work Kathy and the QTW+ team!" - Stephen Horn

  • Mar 17, 2022 - R 100.00 Fees covered
  • "As one of your QW+ experts - thank you for the work you do!" - Dr Lee Randall

  • Mar 17, 2022 - R 100.00
  • "Incredible work " - Luke

  • Mar 15, 2022 - R 200.00 Fees covered
  • "Best of luck wiht this important project." - Kate Thompson Davy

  • Mar 15, 2022 - R 200.00 Fees covered
  • "Keep making the world a more equal place" - Leo Thesen

  • Mar 15, 2022 - R 500.00 Fees covered
  • "All the best with your fund raiser!" - Gemma Ritchie

  • Mar 15, 2022 - R 500.00 Fees covered
  • "20% is not enough" - Donor1

  • Mar 15, 2022 - R 350.00 Fees covered
  • "Well done!" - Feminist

  • Mar 15, 2022 - USD $ 13.98 Fees covered
  • "Keep up the good work! " - Big fan

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Statistics

Fundraising target

R 15 000.00

Donations to date

R 6 038.85
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Quote This Woman+

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When it comes to the news, a woman is interviewed or quoted as a media expert only once for every four times that a man is. This means that time and again, stories that impact women as much as they impact men, are discussed on news panels and reported in newspapers without women having a chance to voice their input. QW+ curates a database of woman experts, leaders, and agitators; and lobbies journalists and news producers to turn to this database first when looking for people to interview and quote for their stories.

We also call out gender bias in news reporting. We are a nonprofit, and we do not charge experts to be on our database, nor do we charge journalists to access it, as we believe in a level playing field that advantages all experts and all journalists equally. We rely on support from those who have the means to pay; and the belief in what we do, to keep us afloat and sustainable in times ahead.