InterviewHer is a database for journalists, introducing women experts from around the world on conflict, peace, and security. The experts range from activists to analysts. Some are on the ground in their country of expertise, others far from home.
The database can be browsed at Interview-Her.com. There are peace negotiators, former political prisoners, international lawyers, grassroots organizers, university professors, and human rights defenders from all corners of the globe.
InterviewHer was set up to connect media with women who can speak with authority on the causes and prevention of conflict, the paths to building peace and sustaining stability. Through our Find an Expert page, journalists can locate experts by country, region or more than 20 topics, ranging from arms control and killer robots to sexual violence in military conflict and peacekeeping.
The cover photo by Allison Joyce on InterviewHer shows Nobel peace laureates Tawakkol Karman of Yemen and Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland speaking to reporters at Kutupalong Camp in the Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh after listening to testimonies of crimes against humanity from Rohingya women refugees from Myamar in 2018.
Why InterviewHer? To break old habits and bust stubborn patterns. To be part of the solution. Although most newsrooms are more committed than ever to ethical, diverse, and inclusive journalism, research reveals startling gaps in who is featured in the media. Women are especially marginalized in situations of conflict and crisis. Not only are women frontline agents of change in conflict, they bring unique and insightful expertise which is rarely reflected in global news.
“We were once told that we couldn’t participate in the peace negotiations because there weren’t enough chairs in the room. We’ve heard the most ridiculous excuses.” – Muna Luqman, InterviewHer expert from Yemen
When the news we read, hear and watch does not fully represent the voices in our societies, it paints an inaccurate picture of our world and misinforms how citizens and decision-makers respond to challenges globally.
Studies show that men are quoted as experts in news stories far more than women. The ratio of men to women experts is an average of four to one according to the widely cited Global Gender Monitoring Project of 2015, supported by UN Women. The project that analyzes news from one day in more than 100 countries, is scheduled for an updated report in 2021.
Studies have also shown that when journalists have handy lists of experts for interviews and talk shows, they will use them. In newsrooms that purposefully set out to increase women’s voices and images, it works. BBC’s 50:50 The Equality Project is a good example.
A study of six countries published by the International Women’s Media Foundation in 2020 found men remain the vast majority of quoted experts and sources in news coverage in India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. Among the recommendations in the report, The Missing Perspectives of Women in the News, is the creation of databases to encourage journalists to seek out women authorities.
“Women and girls are half of humanity. Giving equal time and weight to their stories is an important part of creating a better, freer world for all of us.” – Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Women.
- Gender bias persists in international reporting, The Atlantic, Gabby Deutch, Feb. 11, 2019
- The Missing Perspectives of Women in the News, International Women’s Media Foundation 2020
- I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories, The Atlantic, Ed Yong, Feb. 6, 2018
- Behold, the marticle (a primer on how to avoid only quoting men as sources), Poynter.org, April 30, 2018
- I’m not quoting enough women, New York Times op-ed, David Leonhardt, May 13, 2018
- Gender and WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) : Deliberate Actions to Upend the Status Quo, Inkstick Media Oct. 15, 2018
- Valuing women as expert sources in the news – Informed Opinions founder Shari Graydon, Policy Options March 7, 2018
- I analyzed a year of my reporting for gender bias (again), The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance, Feb. 17, 2016
- Foreign Policy Interrupted