About two years ago, I attended a seminar through The OpEd Project, a program designed to "increase the number of women thought leaders contributing to key commentary forums — which feed all other media, and drive thought leadership across all industries — to a tipping point."
The stats regarding women's voices in media were dismal.
According to The OpEd Project:
The range of voices we hear from in the world is incredibly narrow – and comes from a tiny sliver of the world’s population: mostly western, white, older, privileged and overwhelmingly (85%) male.
The stats haven't changed much, which is why when I was invited yesterday to become a media partner in a new year-long initiative by Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows Media, focused on women's lives and women's voices, I couldn't accept fast enough.
The Across Women's Lives campaign (follow #WomensLives) is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Here are the details from PRI:
We will share stories, audio, video and graphics online, on the radio and through conversations in social media. And we’ll invite you to share this journey, too, by offering your story ideas, expertise, questions, and stories about how gender roles, restrictions and opportunities affect your life day-to-day.
Our reporters will look across women’s lives — from birth to childhood to adulthood, and from middle age to old age — exploring how gender roles play out from our first days to our last across health care, education, employment, politics and social life.
We’ll examine the role both men and women play in maintaining traditions that limit the status of women. We’ll ask you and others across the globe to compare notes, discuss, argue and share experiences. We’ll offer women the chance to see what life looks like across cultures by connecting them with women of the same age and social situation in other countries.
We are launching a weekly Across Women’s Lives e-newsletter to highlight coverage by us and others, surface lively conversations and offer options to get involved in our reporting and the issues. We hope you’ll join us in our Facebook discussion group, respond to our stories on Twitter and add to the conversation using the hashtag #WomensLives.
To explore such a large and critical topic, we are making a long-term commitment to our Across Women's Lives coverage. And we are collaborating with many other organizations committed to this topic. These are some of those organizations and their roles in Across Women's Lives.
As a media partner in the project, I'll be sharing stories of my own, interviews with other women, and stories from other involved writers — here on my blog, and across social media — to do my little part in amplifying #WomensLives.
I invite you to join me in the conversation.