Missing Perspectives is a new and exciting platform founded to address the marginalisation of young women in both news coverage and decision-making around the world.
It’s a place that gives all types of women a voice and a much-needed space in women’s media, it already had a partnership with Reece Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine. Basically, it’s a platform that is making noise and the right people are hearing it.
The platform was founded by human rights consultant, Phoebe Saintilan, while Saintilan had zero experience in corporate governance or organisational development, she had passion, and an understanding that women needed more space on the internet.
Saintilan also cleverly enlisted Hannah Diviney as editorial and creative lead, Diviney is an Australian writer and leading disability and women’s advocate and she has been vital in shaping Missing Perspectives.
Diviney’s drive to create an inclusive space underpins the platform.
— Missing Perspectives (@missingperspec) October 26, 2021
How Did It Start?
The idea for the Missing Perspectives came after Saintilan was inspired by the Gates Foundation report, ‘The missing Perspectives Of Women In News.’ The report speaks to the lack of female perspective in mainstream news, often we are being told about current affairs by a man from the point of view of a man.
Saintilan told B&T, “As an avid consumer of news and media myself, it really got me thinking about the lack of young female protagonists in the news, and the lack of coverage of issues affecting women around the world.
“I was living with a political correspondent at the time who mentioned the news industry can often be hostile to women.
“I decided to launch a news website that would act as a repository for young women’s stories – with the idea that any young woman could be a journalist just by observing what is happening around her.”
Saintilan’s approach was grassroots, she started by cold emailing women working on interesting projects in their comminutes from around the world, and then word of mouth began to spread. The platform now boasts stories from over 40 counties and readers from over 100.
It’s something Saintilan is naturally proud of, “The stories are incredible – ranging from girls working on the climate change frontline in the South Pacific, to women protesting blockades in Yemen by kicking off a women’s cycling movement!
“By getting these stories onto our platform, we are hoping to challenge both the underrepresentation of young women in news, in addition to the increasing disengagement of young women with news and media.”
Why Do We Need Missing Perspectives?
Of course, it’s worth noting why Missing Perspectives is a platform women need, born from the fact women are underrepresented in media.
Saintilan said: “The news industry can be seen as very elitist and inaccessible. Missing Perspectives hopes to challenge this by breaking down the barriers preventing young women from writing and engaging with news coverage.”
Diviney told B&T, “I think mainstream media has always privileged male voices because they’re the ones sitting behind the scenes in executive roles.
“They’re the ones with the power. And if you have power in a system that serves you and benefits you, then you’d see no reason to change it, because you can’t identify that there’s a problem in the first place.
“We’re still lingering at the stage where women’s aesthetic value is given precedence over their intelligence and skill as journalists.
“There’s still an awful lot of decisions made about which women to let through the door, based on how they will appear in the context of their male co-hosts or peers.
“This makes it incredibly difficult for women of colour, disabled women, women in the LGBTQ community, specifically trans and non-binary women and so many others to even get a foot in the door.”
What Stories Will Be Told?
Missing Perspectives is built on the idea that all women should be able to share their stories and take up space.
While the initial focus has been on stories that discuss issues affecting young women around the world, and women sharing their life experiences the platform plans to keep evolving and is prepared to hone in on whatever matters to women.
Saintilan told B&T, “We are constantly on the lookout for young women working on interesting projects or engaging in campaigns and advocacy work.
“We also run series that focus on one common issue such as period poverty or climate change, and provide multiple perspectives from girls around the world..”
Diviney explained: “The prevalence of lived experience being given any priority in mainstream media is frighteningly low. So that has always been our guiding idea; with the huge issues that our society faces which we need to find answers and solutions for, as well as any breaking news, what voices are being left out of the conversation?”
"Why is it ok for international media outlets to use the expertise of locals to publish or broadcast a report under a Western correspondent’s name instead of investing in locals to tell their own stories?" – great piece from @DinaAboughazala of @Egab_co: https://t.co/VeevDoGfpG
— Missing Perspectives (@missingperspec) November 7, 2021
How Did Hello Sunshine Happen?
The Hello Sunshine partnership is an example of taking a shot and it paid off, Diviney cold emailed the CEO, Sarah Harden who also happens to be Aussie and she got a response.
The result was Hello Sunshine and Missing Perspectives collaborating on a campaign for Day Of The Girl that helped introduce Hello Sunshine to a whole new audience and amplify underrepresented female voices.
Diviney explained to B&T, “It was basically just a pitch email outlining how our missions were aligned and really being crystal clear on what role they could play in helping us to shape the vision of Missing Perspectives.
“Working with them to build a campaign that was equally exciting and important to both parties was one of the greatest creative investments I’ve ever been a part of and I really appreciate how seriously they took us from the first moment. I’m extremely proud of our continued commitment to collaborate with them.”
What Does The Future Look Like?
In terms of what will happen next, well Missing Perspectives is currently in the midst of developing a long term strategic plan, developing fellowship programmes and focusing on workshops that will be run next year. All of these are aimed at empowering women.
Saintilan said: “The key priorities for next year is to close a successful fundraising drive, and use those resources to establish a full-time team who can run workshops, coordinate our lived experience fellowship programme and grow the beast that is Missing Perspectives!”
Diviney said: “We’re a pretty ambitious team, so essentially, we want to be the leading force for lived experience journalism and the elevating of marginalised women globally!”
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