Shari is the catalyst behind Informed Opinions, a non-profit initiative that bridges the gender gap in public discourse by amplifying the voices of women in Canada’s mainstream media.
Did you know that on average, women’s voices represent only 25% of those present on commentary or opinion pages in Canadian media?
And even less in the United States, where only 10-20% of newspaper opinion pieces are written by women? Shari does, and has spent her career challenging this gender imbalance.
As a newspaper columnist, and former commentator for CBC radio, Shari witnessed firsthand the absence of women’s voices in public commentary and women’s reluctance to be interviewed as experts. Later, as President of MediaWatch, Shari worked to document and correct the misrepresentation and absence of women in Canadian media.
Shari says the absence of women’s voices in media means “there are entire realms of human experience that aren’t talked about, and that don’t become priorities.” Deeply concerned about the quality of public discourse, Shari became passionate about the critical need to create a more balanced Canadian media landscape by highlighting the voices of articulate and intelligent women.
Informed Opinions works across Canada to train women to better communicate their ideas in public commentary. Through workshops, keynotes, and one-on-one support, Shari instills the confidence and skills in Canadian women to not only own their expertise, but also say ‘yes’ to interviews. To date, Informed Opinions has trained over 1000 women across the country who have since published hundreds of commentaries in public newspapers. These commentaries have showcased women’s perspectives on violence against women, public health, and politics.
Informed Opinions is indeed changing the Canadian media landscape.
Shari carries her passion and skill for amplifying women’s voices and promoting media literacy into the literary world. She is a best-selling author of two media literacy books for youth, as well as a collection of reflections from women on the joys of aging, I Feel Great About My Hands.
WATCH Shari speak about women and the media
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