Qalat “She Says” the First Database for Syrian Female Experts

A Bridge to Enhance Women’s Media Presence

As a result of the exclusion of women’s voices and experiences from media coverage, and the need for multiple press sources as a professional basis for comprehensive and gender-sensitive media coverage, thus came the need for the platform Qalat “She Says”. Considering the role of the Syrian Female Journalists Network, and its belief in promoting women’s and feminist voices, and creating channels between them and media organizations, the Network has worked to establish a database of female Syrian experts to share their experiences as sources in the media.

As the first such Syrian electronic platform of its kind, Qalat currently includes as a first stage more than 100 biographies of female Syrian expert in various fields; from politics, economy, science, human rights, health and the environment, etc. It aims to respond to the justification that there are not enough female experts as sources for information and in-depth analysis, and to support media outlets in overcoming the question “where are women in media coverage and reporting?” by making the platform an open source for better inclusion of women’s experiences, and for the interest of female experts in being presence and effective communication with media outlets.

The platform was launched at the annual conference of the Syrian Female Journalists Network in Istanbul, Turkey. It aims to highlight women in media, give them greater opportunity to share their experiences, break the male monopoly on providing information and analysis through the media, and to facilitate and encourage more women to intensify their media appearance.

The coordinator of the Qalat platform, who is responsible for its administration, presented the means of using the platform by media organizations and journalists, and the means of contacting women experts, in addition to a general presentation of their biographies. “[Qalat] is a new idea at the level of Syria, which provides easy access and communication to both media outlets and female experts, and contributes to bridging the gap pervading in the media, that there are no women capable of media appearances,” she said.

During the event, several discussions and inquiries ensued about the data collection mechanism and the selection criteria for female experts. This was taken into account by the Network team during the design and implementation of the Qalat platform. It was designed in a digitally safe manner, and questionnaires were issued for direct collection of expert data, while taking into account digital security at all stages. It included their consent to publicly share information across the platform, while ensuring that their privacy is protected, and each expert identified the information and expertise that she wishes to share.

The Syrian Female Journalists Network concluded its presentation of the Qalat development plan to be an easy-to-use electronic platform and a means of enhancing communication between media organizations, journalists and expert women’s voices.

The Network aspires to reach as many Syrian women as possible, from diverse expertise, to enhance the representation of their voices and insights in local and international media coverage, and as not to limit them to specific areas that tend to characterize their roles and experiences as women.

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