Why I've made amplifying women's voices in media my mission

Mar 3, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Image: Audrey Froggatt For Mogul

One of my greatest role models is my grandmother, who believed that access to information should never limit an individual’s ability to change their life. Driven by the desire to educate and inform everyday citizens of the possibilities that existed outside of their town, village or city, she led newspapers across Asia with the dream of leveling the playing field by democratizing media throughout the region. This was a dream I had every intention of carrying out — and then some.

In the digital age, our world is much smaller and people can share a lot easier. While geographic location hardly impedes access to information anymore, the playing field is far from leveled. The reality is the majority of information hubs in which millennials share information and perpetuate news are dominated by male voices. With such a large portion of content being generated and shared by men, it is vital that women raise their voices and contribute to the conversation. More important, it is imperative that they do so in a space that respects and supports this distinct voice.

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After making Forbes' "30 Under 30" list in 2014, I began receiving hundreds of emails every day from young girls asking for my advice. I realized there were women all over the world not satisfied by the existing social platforms and seeking answers. At the time, Reddit was the only other platform providing an open forum for communication, yet it seemed to lack authentic female perspectives. Fueled by my grandmother’s mission, I created Mogul as a space where women could be themselves and access practical, useful information, as well as utilize their authentic voice to connect with others whose questions mirrored their own.

Just over a year later, Mogul reaches 18 million women per week in every country on the planet. It has become the main stage for millions of unheard voices to make their mark. This overwhelming success is proof that women everywhere are thirsty for information sources that are empathetic, relevant, aspirational and accessible.

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Raising up the female voice in media is not only a matter of increasing the volume of content for women, it's a matter of improving the context in which women are portrayed by sharing advice and success stories from female role models. It’s refreshing to see a group of thought-leading women encouraging one another to succeed every day, rather than judging, shaming and comparing each other with unrealistic cultural standards of beauty or behavior.

Historically, women have been pegged with the stereotype of staying silent, particularly in media and popular culture. Only 15% of major Hollywood films, for example, feature a female protagonist. In fact, male speaking parts in these films outnumber female ones nearly three to one. Defying this stereotype means taking action together by nurturing and fostering a community where everyone’s voice is heard and respected. It is our responsibility as women to urge others to take the microphone.

It’s not a question of whether women have a voice but rather a matter of how we as a global community can amplify those voices. I believe we can all feed the growing demand for female voices in media simply by sharing our own. Here’s what you can do starting today:

  • Mentor younger women in your workplace or school, and encourage them to be vocal about issues that are important to themselves and other women.
  • Support charitable causes or nonprofits whose missions align with empowering women to live their best lives, such as the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up.
  • Share stories from female writers, producers, directors and multimedia artists that present positive images of women in the media.

We recently launched #IAmAMogul, an influencer campaign running throughout the month of March. Honoring Women’s History Month, the campaign features inspirational women such as Kelly Osbourne, actress Jenna Ushkowitz, motivational speaker Lizzie Velásquez and Jen Welter, the first female NFL coach — all encouraging females to raise their voices to create change. The more we speak up and flood the communication space with positive messages by sharing real stories and supporting each other, the more we drown out the noisy, oppressive and outdated views that attempt to silence us.

More: Why I’m proud of my family’s history of feminist activism