Posts Tagged ‘media’

Event Recap: “Overcoming anonymous in search of more fully clothed role models”

Shari Informed OpinionsAt our most recent dinner on April 16th, Shari Graydon, founder and catalyst of Informed Opinions, presented “Overcoming anonymous in search of more fully clothed role models.” Shari stressed the importance of the female voice; drawing awareness to the obstacles faced by influential women who speak up. Shari reminded us that we all have informed opinions, knowledge and experiences worth sharing. The unfortunate truth is women are more likely than men to give up the opportunity to voice an opinion when given the opportunity. When Shari polled our attendees if they ever declined the chance to speak because “they weren’t the right person to ask” or because “someone else would be better suited to comment,” more than half of us raised our hands.

Sometimes it seems we are our own worst enemy, allowing self-consciousness and doubt prevent us from expressing our opinions. Statistically speaking, men’s opinions out-number women’s at least four to one in the media. Empowering women to express themselves is not only important for the individual, but also for the collective. Shari spoke from the heart when she said “it’s a sad day when a woman remains silent.” Women experience things differently from men – in regards to sexuality, appearance, safety and maternity ­– which need to be considered in public discourse.

However, operating in a position of influence and having a strongly informed opinion isn’t a walk in the park. There’s still gender-specific challenges which affect influential and opinionated women today. Shari offered a number of examples of inspirational women who chose to speak up, be powerful in their own right, and influence others. While these “fully clothed role models” are an inspiration, their presence in the media reveals that strong and opinionated women still face gender discrimination – gender-specific criticisms, harassment and cruelty – not typically experienced by male counterparts. Female leaders contend with public focus on their looks and wardrobe, rather than their opinions. Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo! was heavily scrutinized for taking her position during her pregnancy. Hilary Clinton was slammed in the press for her wardrobe choices. Sexism is still prevalent, despite living in these “modern times.”

The good news is, as more women choose to have a public voice, the more these opinions will become the focus of discussion. We all benefit from women in power. When women are included in senior corporate positions, companies perform better and operate with higher ethical practices. In countries where women are educated, the quality of life is raised for everyone.

Shari inspired us to find our voice. As Alice Walker once said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” The next time you have the opportunity to speak, be confident that your voice is as strong as those around you. If you have an informed opinion, share it. What if you really are the best person to ask?

If you’d like to purchase Shari’s book I Feel Great About My Hands…And Other Unexpected Joys of Agingplease contact Ashley Armstrong at ashley(at)informedopinions(dot)org.

You can also check out photos from the event on our Facebook page and read what attendees posted on Twitter.

Our Sponsors

A special thank-you to our sponsors for their generous door prize donations:















And, congratulations to our door prize winners!

Kate Wetherow

Camille De Baets

Jennifer Turner

Lysanne Sacoutis

Lara Bender

Next Event: Bridging the Gender Gap Through Media Engagement

Shari Graydon On Tuesday, April 16, join us at our next Girl Geek Dinner as award-winning author Shari Graydon shares how her organization, Informed Opinions, is building women’s leadership through media engagement and bridging the gender gap in public discourse.

Shari is a former newspaper columnist, TV producer and commentator for CBC. She also served as press secretary to a provincial premier and as president of MediaWatch. As the founder of Informed Opinions, Shari now focuses on bridging the gender gap in public commentary and enhancing the quality of public discourse by expanding the diversity of perspectives that inform Canada’s policies and priorities.

Named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN in 2007, Shari received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons’ Case for her advocacy work on behalf of women the same year. She has taught communications and presentation skills at Simon Fraser University, written speeches for public officials, and delivered communications and media training to public and private sector organizations across the country.

Her best-selling media literacy books for youth, Made You Look – How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know and In Your Face – The Culture of Beauty and You were both honoured with children’s choice award nominations and other book prizes. Her most recent book I Feel Great About My Hands – And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging, a collection of essays by 41 women, will be available for purchase at the event.


Date: Tuesday April 16, 2013

Location: Johnny Farina restaurant (216 Elgin St.)


Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Food order at 6:00 p.m.

Presentation to start approx. 6:30 p.m.


Thank you to our event sponsors!