Vibrant public discourse depends on reliable sources

Expert sources whose ideas are featured in our public discourse can have an impact on society’s policies and priorities. Their informed opinions help to shape public attitudes and determine how governments spend tax dollars.

 

Women’s voices especially needed

A growing body of research clearly documents that organizations and countries making most effective use of women’s contribution are more competitive and experience a higher quality of life. So Canada’s success depends on women’s full participation and shared perspectives on the broadest possible range of issues — from health care, the environment and technological change to foreign affairs, education and financial policy. Despite the fact that women constitute 61% of university graduates and are successful in many previously male-dominated fields, their voices in opinion media remain outnumbered by a factor of 4 to 1 (see recent research). And because they remain under-represented politically, their perspectives and priorities are already less likely to be reflected in government decisions at all levels. This absence undermines democracy and denies Canada access to the analysis and ideas of many of its best and brightest.

 

Expert women are plentiful… but sometimes reluctant

The dearth of women’s perspectives in Canadian news media doesn’t reflect a lack of female expertise. Canadian women are contributing at senior levels in all these fields and disciplines. Many boast in-depth knowledge, an ability to connect on both intellectual and emotional levels, and a bias for solutions.

What they may lack is familiarity with the means of offering their ideas, or practice framing their analyses into accessible, short-form commentary.

Informed Opinions helps women to overcome these obstacles, by delivering targeted, practical workshops that equip experts with the capacity to more efficiently and effectively share their valuable knowledge with the broader community. You can read their published commentary here, and search our Experts Network, which makes them easier for journalists to find.

 

Five Questions for Shari Graydon

J-Source talks to Informed Opinions Founder and Catalyst Shari Graydon about the dearth of women experts on the opinion pages, and why we should care.

Read the J-Source Profile here