Where are all the women?
This is a reasonable thought to have when looking across our major media outlets and seeing that both representation in reporting and the perspectives of 51 percent of the world are grossly limited.
That’s why Missing Perspectives, a global news company launched in Australia, entered the game and is already making significant strides in elevating brilliant and diverse voices of young women.
Founded in 2021 by Phoebe Saintilan and Hannah Diviney, the idea for Missing Perspectives first came to Saintilan while she was living in Canberra with a young woman who worked as a journalist.
Through conversations with her roommate, Saintilan heard about the first-hand challenges young female journalists faced in such a male-dominated media landscape.
Through the help of Saintilan’s mum, who used to teach Diviney in primary school, the two connected on social media and began discussing how to bring Missing Perspectives to life. And with Saintilan’s background in human rights law and Diviney’s experience as a successful writer, the two quickly became a dynamic duo championing Saintilan’s original vision.
Since the inception of Missing Perspectives, the two have focused on publishing original stories from young female journalists all around the world. Specifically, those on the ground, with lived experience.
“We very much prioritise lived experience, which is not always the case in traditional media,” says Diviney. “If you are making decisions on behalf of a marginalised community, then the decisions should be made by the people who are going to have to live with those decisions.”
Diviney explains that there’s been a trend in international journalism to send foreign correspondents to cover situations overseas but that Missing Perspectives wants to see the already talented local journalists reporting on these issues.
They likewise want to ensure that female voices are included, especially on issues that largely affect women.
Saintalin gives the example of the takeover of Kabul last year where the impact on the women of Afghanistan was enormous and yet it was mostly male reporters covering those stories. There was quite literally a missing perspective.
“We get newsrooms in general, asking us to connect them with women who’ve appeared on our platform,” says Saintilan. “Newsrooms want diverse voices but just don’t know where [to find them].”
Unsurprisingly, Saintilan and Diviney have attracted strong support for their mission, and the company has already entered into some impressive partnerships.
None more so than with Reese Witherspoon’s successful media company, Hello Sunshine, known for amplifying female-led stories through films like Wild, Gone Girl and Little Fires Everywhere.
Last year, the two companies collaborated through an Instagram takeover and campaign for Missing Perspectives that reached Hello Sunshine’s audience of over 1 million followers.
Witherspoon’s company then connected Diviney and Saintilan with MECCA M-Power for yet another formidable partnership which will see Missing Perspectives’ content further amplified through the beauty company’s platforms.
“The media is such an important and yet often abused tool of influence in our society. Raising the voices of women, and especially young women, in journalism is critical to ensuring that the news we receive is balanced and representative of society as a whole,” says Lisa Keenan, Executive Director of MECCA M-Power.
Despite the support from innovative brands and influencers, both Saintalin and Diviney have still had to navigate the struggle of being taken seriously in a male-dominated media industry.
The Women’s Leadership Institute recently found that of 1,800 opinion pieces analysed in Australia, women had penned only 35 percent.
Understanding this struggle to be included motivates the pair to make it easier for young women following in their footsteps.
“I think in the news industry and the media industry, if you don’t know anyone or you’re not in the position where those doors or those rooms are naturally open to you, then you have to essentially break a window to get in there,” says Diviney.
“And I guess we’re the broken window.”
Where are all the women?