Making herstory

How International Women’s Day can inspire us to find and share the stories of little-known s/heroes

It’s a great time to celebrate International Women’s Day. It arrives on the wave of the global movement building up a head of steam over the past few months. #MeToo, #TimesUp and the centenary of the Suffragette movement have set the stage for 2018’s theme: Press for Progress.

Revelations of abuse and inequity within high profile industries, have reverberated and fuelled the global movements to tackle sexual violence and gender inequality in high profile industries.

But, while there’s a power in collective, well-known voices, what inspires us most are the stories of ordinary women living out their lives the other 364 days of the year, who make bold decisions in challenging or impossible circumstances.

The challenge for those of us with louder voices – whether celebrities, spokespeople, activists, charities, social businesses etc – is to find ways to share these stories in a way that is authentic and honours their experiences.

Here are four ideas to help organisations and changemakers think this through:

  1. Know your story – Whether you’re an entrepreneur, social enterprise or charity you need to be able to find your own story. Sounds easy, but it can take some time to get to this, and sometimes the jargon needs to be stripped away. You won’t be able to meaningfully connect with your end user if you can’t tell your own story.
  2. Be curious – We tend to want to control the message, but often it’s about listening to those within your organisation – staff and volunteers – and those who are your end users to find out what their stories are and how they connect with your own. Sounds scary, but there are ways to test out loosening your grip on the reigns.
  3. Get creative – With the plethora of free apps and digital channels, there are so many ways to share stories of unsung s/heroes. The days of the 1-page case study are fast disappearing with our attention spans. Collaborate with your s/hero to find out which media work best for them.
  4. Be strategic – Review your current communications and look for areas that you can begin to improve on it. A calendar of events like International Women’s Day can help you plan your stories and content.

 

If you need help with thinking through how to find and share your stories, contact us for a communications audit.

 

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