Monday, 30 May 2011

Women's Views on News

 At a recent Women in Journalism seminar, I’ve met the founder of, a women’s daily online news and current affairs service.

Alison Clarke founded WVoN in 2009 because she “was fed up with the male domination of the news.” She wanted a platform where all women’s voices and experiences could be heard by all.

According to the most recent survey by the Global Media Monitoring Project (March 2010), women feature in only about a fifth of the world’s news headlines and just ten percent of all news stories.

“Literally thousands of stories about, by and for women are never told.  This sends a message that women’s experiences and opinions are just not as important or as valid as those of men. We challenge that approach and aim to redress the imbalance in women’s favour,” Clarke says.

The site provides up-to-date news on all the major national and international stories of the day, in much the same way as any newspaper or online news service, but the stories they feature are always about women.  They also run feature articles and opinion pieces from time to time, but the focus is on news. Topics covered include arts and entertainments; business/employment;  feminism;  health; politics; science/technology;  sport; violence and world.

WVoN gives women a voice in two ways – by publishing stories that the mainstream press ignores; and by acting as a central point for stories that they do publish about women.

They source their stories from a range of online global, daily newspapers, press agencies, charities, magazines (weekly and monthly), social justice organizations and assorted blogs.  And they publish exclusive features by WVoN co-editors, as well as external guest editors who have a particular expertise.

Today’s featured articles, for example, include stories on growing protest against New York cops rape acquittal (sourced from,  women noticing other women’s weight first (sourced from the Daily Express),  the pitfalls of teaching abstinence (sourced from The Guardian) and Kandahar girls risking everything for an education (sourced from The Canadian Press). There are also original pieces on women urban planners and on living dolls written by WVoN co-editors.

WVoN is a volunteer collective made up of women journalists from different parts of the world including the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland and India.

They work on a rota basis with at least one journalist allocated to post stories up onto the site six days a week (Monday to Saturday). They post on average between 15 and 20 news stories every day.

The “duty” volunteer searches the sites from an extensive list of sources, looking for stories about women (they steer clear of ones about celebrities). The volunteer then writes a short description of each news story that she (or he) has decided to post onto the site and then links it to the original source.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, click here, and if you want to find out more, get in touch.

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