Quote This Woman+

Creating a database of women experts

How QW+ increase women’s voices in media and create a database of experts to increase the representation of women in media.

“In South Africa, less than 20% of sources quoted in the news are women. Our online database of woman+ experts is working to change that.”

—Kathleen Magrobi, Founder & Director, Quote This Woman+

Quote This Woman+ (QW+) is an intersectional feminist organisation that works to improve the representation of women and other marginalised groups in the media. The ‘+’ in their name indicates the wide array of voices they work with who are not women but sidelined for a combination of factors such as race, gender identity and expression, sexuality, class, rurality, disability and more.

QW+ curates a database with women+ experts who can speak about the news of the day, from agriculture to xenophobia, that journalists can use to find highly-qualified and meticulously-vetted sources. That is not to say QW+ prioritizes one kind of expert knowledge over another, the non-profit considers lived experience to be a crucial form of expertise: community leaders are positioned side-by-side with professors.

Founded in 2019 by communications expert and human rights activist Kathleen Magrobi, QW+ has grown from a database of 30 women+ experts collated for the 2019 elections, to 600 voices represented in their online database and accessed by journalists across the globe. Kathleen, the director, and her team also provide media training for women+ and the public at large—this ensures experts are ready to grab the mic when it’s passed to them.

“​​QW+ takes a diverse and inclusive approach to solving underrepresentation in the media, showing how everybody plays a role in change. Women+ experts share expertise, journalists actively diversify sources, newsrooms make better decisions… everyone plays a part…There’s so much emphasis on change in higher structures like government, but this takes agency away from the people. QW+ reminds us that every one of us can make a difference.”

—Agape Johnson, Marketing & Business Development, Quote This Woman+


Within a year of QW+’s establishment, the Covid-19 pandemic arrived. With the pandemic’s long-lasting effects, most funding organisations continue to channel their resources to aiding the healthcare sector and recovering businesses, reducing an already small funding environment. QW+ secured a grant and support from the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) which allowed the organisation to function (and grow) for another year. From SAMIP’s support, QW+ developed itself into a non-profit of note, attracting funding from the renowned Open Society Foundation (OSF) “just in the nick of time,” said Database Curator and M&E, Jordan Magrobi.

“We’re a small team with limited capacity trying to change the media landscape in the whole country.”

—Agape Johnson, Marketing & Business Development, Quote This Woman+

As a budding organisation with limited resources, the QW+ team comprises of young women with Kathleen at the helm. This allows them to be agile, however, when Kathleen faced health issues, she was forced to take a step back and allow the team to continue while she recuperated. Despite the challenge of Kath’s absence, the team delivers on all key functions of the organisation. Jordan Magrobi, Kathleen’s daughter who has been working for the non-profit since its inception, has grown her role from intern to Database Curator and M&E—the latter as a result of the double-hire of the M&E role when QW+ saw the opportunity to contract an outside M&E expert while upskilling a longstanding member of the team. Agape, Marketing & Business Developer, has also recognised how this obstacle has developed her own career trajectory more quickly in that she now has more contact with QW+’s board of governors, critical experience in building a career in NGO work.

“It’s important to recognize that NGOs are made up of real humans with real things going on. If you want a team working at its best, you need to recognize that and let people be people, as opposed to productivity machines. Nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.”

—Jordan Magrobi, Database Curator and M&E, Quote This Woman+


Although no longer directly funding QW+, SAMIP has continued to provide invaluable support. QW+’s team have undergone intensive Sales Training with a SAMIP consultant, allowing the organisation to develop a comprehensive sales pipeline for the services they provide which fund them—namely media training and webinars. Since its founding, QW+ has offered comprehensive media training for all sectors and industries, both online and in-person. These intensive training interventions ensure that every participant is upskilled to their full potential.

With OSF’s operational funding, QW+ has been able to launch an M&E department—a critical component of being able to prove their impact and feasibility to funders.

Covid-19 forced most organisations to go online, a challenge QW+ met with zeal. As a fully remote workforce, the team has been able to seamlessly plug in to the newly popular digital environment. In the last year, QW+ has hosted webinars on Toxic Masculinity, How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome, How to Handle Difficult Media Interviews, What to Wear for Media Interviews, How to Engage with Journalists, and How to Sell Your Story to the Media. They have also run successful storyslams, events where women+ are given the stage to tell engaging, personal stories that can impact others—much like TedX “ideas worth spreading”. Recently, they held a Mothers & Sisters storyslam as well as one for Earth Week.

QW+ team member Agape Johnson ran a workshop with the WITS journalism students that will now be repeated every quarter. The in-class session introduced the young journalists to the QW+ database and allowed them to sign-up, while emphasizing the importance of diversifying sources in the media.


“We want woman+ to start using their voices even when they’re not being quoted. They should have the confidence to put their hand up and say ‘listen to me, I have valuable things to say.’”

—Jordan Magrobi, Database Curator and M&E, Quote This Woman+

QW+ launched a pilot programme, Quote Me On That (QMOT), a digital platform to serve women+ who could not access media training packages. The reduced rates and scholarships allowed anyone to participate, those on the database and those aspiring to be. QMOT has proved again that QW+ is agile and can pivot at new opportunities, increasing the organisation’s awareness and capacity building within the team.

Excited to announce the launch of its OpEds workshop, QW+ has partnered with the Mail & Guardian. Over eight weeks, participants will learn how to brainstorm, write, pitch and publish an OpEd. The Mail & Guardian will also be publishing the OpEds written throughout.

Notably, QW+’s work does not only impact the media landscape because ultimately the organisation also ensures more women+ are owning their voices with confidence, a ripple effect which affects the whole of society, says Agape, Marketing & Business Developer. The 600 women+ on the QW+ database doesn’t just contribute to better journalism. The experts’ wealth of experience also translates to other mediums like storytelling through podcasts—a venture QW+ is planning to pursue should their grant applications be successful.


In April 2022, QW+ celebrated its 600th women+ expert added to the database. With contacts at most universities, institutes and corporations, they have developed a comprehensive list of South Africa’s foremost women+ leaders in their field. However, true to their promise of diversity, QW+’s next step is to strengthen their representation of community-based experts. These are women+ blazing trails in their districts, doing the on-the-ground work most needed by grassroots movements. However, by nature, they are not necessarily affiliated with groups easily accessible online, so QW+ is finding the need for more and more creative solutions to reach these women+ and add them to the database.

 “We’ve gotten to 600 women+, which is great, but we need to ensure we go beyond academics and white women. We’re now focusing on women+ with disabilities, people who are gender non-conforming, like non-binary or transgender folks, and more people of color… For example, one woman was a waste-picker and has started her own recycling company. She has no academic training, but she’s an expert in her own right. It’s about trying to reach more people like her who aren’t easy to find on the internet.”

—Jordan Magrobi, Database Curator and M&E, Quote This Woman+

To support the vital work Quote This Woman+ does, while benefiting from Basic and/or Advanced Media Training, email [email protected]