Six years ago today, I sat with Marina Go and Jordi Roth as we hit send on our first ever Women’s Agenda email newsletter.
We waited anxiously for the reactions, as you do after sending any kind of communication to a large number of people — and they were, thankfully, mostly positive (you can never please everyone, nor would we want to). We later celebrated by drinking wine in plastic cups at our desks.
It was in the weeks before Julia Gillard delivered her famous misogyny speech, and before Alan Jones told his audience that women were “destroying the joint”. It was before the Abbott Government, and well before Trump’s presidency seemed even remotely possible.
We were, perhaps, a little more optimistic back then.
In that first ever editorial note, I wrote that Women’s Agenda would report on the gender pay gap, childcare access and women in leadership – and that we would also share ideas, stories and information that would inspire women to reach their desired career ambitions, as well as content that would aid organisations in achieving diversity and inclusion.
Since then, our editorial focus has shifted slightly since that first ever newsletter. Today we increasingly aim to offer a much-needed female perspective on politics, the environment, tech, business, finance and health. Frankly, there are not nearly enough female voices being heard on these matters in the mainstream press.
Covering issues like the gender pay gap, women’s representation, accessible and affordable childcare, women’s health and safety, as well as workplace diversity are still, of course, central to our ethos as a news outlet.
We don’t cover these issues a few times a year, or when there’s a major report that’s been released. We do it every day. We’ve published 1400 daily newsletters since 2012 and over 8000 stories.
We’re proud of our place in this new media landscape, and the business (and audience) we’ve been able to build. While our social media channels have grown rapidly, it’s something we’re cautious to rely too heavily on — particularly, following changes to Facebook in early 2018 which affected many publishers like us. However, there’s one place where our audience has grown consistently and remained engaged over six big years, and that’s through our daily newsletter. And, in our seventh year of publishing, we look forward to improving our newsletters and working on new and innovative initiatives in this space.
After launching Women’s Agenda with Private Media back in 2012, I made the move to acquire the publication two years ago. It wasn’t the most sensible decision at the time — my second son was just a few weeks old. But every day since I’ve felt privileged to be able to put this small independent publication out to the world.
And it’s been made easier through having an excellent partner in business with Tarla Lambert, and of course with our excellent lead contributing editor Georgie Dent. Having an amazing, passionate and dedicated team has been core to the growth of Women’s Agenda. Over the full six years, we’ve been fortunate to have extremely talented full-time editors and journalists at different points, including Georgie, as well as Jane Gilmore and Lucia Osborne-Crawley.
Also over the years we’ve had a huge range of regular contributors, including most recently Kristine Ziwica, Dr Neela Janakiramanan, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, Jennie Hill, Sadhana Smiles, Marina Go, Meggie Palmer and too many more to name here.
All these contributors have helped us deliver smart, savvy and engaging journalism and opinion pieces to our readers. In some cases, it’s seen organisations stepping up to address their sexual harassment policies, or to rethink how they organise conference programs, or to do better on their hiring practices and maternity leave offerings.
We’re a little scrappy and rough around the edges. We prefer to invest in content and journalism where we can — over having any kind of proper ‘office’ beyond co-working spaces, and even over having a beautifully crafted social media presence or dedicated PR and marketing budgets. This has enabled us to survive six years in media — which really is a long time.
One day, we’ll get the marketing budget and fancy design work. But in the meantime, we’re all about delivering bigger and better journalism, featuring a more diverse range of women, and continuing to advocate and agitate on the issues we know will make businesses and governments better — and the lives of women easier, safer and more fulfilling.
More than ever — particularly following consolidation across major media platforms — we also see the need for an independent news publication like Women’s Agenda, as well as the many other independent, quality news publications out there in the Australian market right now.
Our business is supported through (some) advertising, content marketing, our Awards and workshops and small events that we run within organisations. Here’s my shameless plug: if you see an opportunity for your organisation to support us in some way, then make the introduction and let us have the conversation about what we can do.
To our advertisers and sponsors — including those on our Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards — thank you for enabling us to continue to deliver free, smart and savvy content to women, and to provide a free program acknowledging brilliant emerging female leaders through our Awards.
To our contributors and journalists, thank you for bringing your passion and talent to Women’s Agenda and making it a publication that punches well above it’s weight.
And thank you to our readers, for sticking with us, trusting us and enabling us to come into your inboxes or you social media feeds every day.
Happy 6th Birthday Women’s Agenda.
If you don’t already, please give us a try and subscribe to the daily Women’s Agenda newsletter.
In case you’re interested, below’s what that first ever Women’s Agenda newsletter looked like. Yes, back then we had a ‘style’ section. In that first edition, we reported on Holly Kramer just being appointed CEO of Best & Less, and delivered a comprehensive piece exploring the number of women on the full ASX.