3- minute read
Written by Jess Borys, Communications Manager
Shari Graydon has spent over 30 years engaging media to draw attention to issues she knows and cares about. Over 30 years ago, she was sitting in a seminar for her master’s program on the portrayal and representation of women in the media. It was at that moment she knew there was something she had to do.
“It made my head explode,” said Shari Graydon, CEO and Catalyst at Informed Opinions.
“The speaker was analyzing the detrimental impact of stereotypes of women in media on how we all view ourselves. Following the seminar, I rushed to the front of the room and volunteered for the nonprofit the speaker was from– MediaWatch, now known as Informed Opinions.”
Media Action is a national, non-profit charitable organization that has been using research and education to advocate for the improved portrayal and representation of women and girls in the media since 1980. Shari went on to become the President of the organization. Then in 2010, Shari created Informed Opinions as a project of Media Action with the aim of bridging the gender gap in Canadian public discourse. In 2019, Media Action was changed to the legal name Informed Opinions.
Since 2010, Informed Opinions has helped amplify the voices of more than 4,500 women across Canada, supporting them in sharing their insights and analysis with a broader public.
“At Informed Opinions, we are working to ensure that the voices of women and gender-diverse people are as influential and capable of informing perspectives, shifting attitudes and behaviours as men,” said Shari.
“To achieve that, we train and deliver workshops that provide hands-on practical applied skills.”
Some of the training includes helping women to translate what they know into short-term commentary, either written commentary in the form of an op-ed, blog post or a media interview. They share tips on how to position themselves as sources to journalists and workshops focusing on persuasion and presentation skills.
“Women are as competent communicators as men, sometimes more competent, but we’ve all grown up in a society that still privileges authority in a particular package, and so imposter
syndrome and confidence are issues to this day,” said Shari. “We work to train and amplify women’s voices on our social media feeds and through our database of over 2,500 women across the country.”
Every week, Informed Opinions emails journalists about an emerging or current issue and shares the contacts of women experts in that field. For example, when talking about inflation, they would send an email sharing the contact info of a number of experts with different perspectives on the issue, making it easier for journalists to find, feature, and quote more women.
Spearheading Informed Opinions came quickly to Shari with her background in communications and media. Before her current role, she was a former newspaper columnist, TV producer and commentator for CBC radio and TV. She also served as press secretary to a provincial premier.
She is a storyteller at heart. Now, she is taking her passion and expertise to amplify the voices of women and gender-diverse people to ensure their experiences, ideas, and insights help shape a more equitable, inclusive and democratic Canada.
Join us on January 25 to hear more from Shari on the work of Informed Opinions and how you can help to make a more equitable society.