We are so happy to announce that our 12th grant is going to Ask Women Anything, an intimate and accessible speaker series meant to be a forum for members of the community to get to know the amazing women in our midst.

Ask Women Anything, created and run by the volunteers at Media Action Média, is designed to connect women and men in Ottawa with complex, interesting women in order to spark discussions away from the filters of media and social media. Five AWAs have been held since this February, and have had an impact both on attendees and the speakers themselves. Participants have shared that they have discovered relatable, local role models through the series so far, while some speakers have noted they’ve connected with participants outside the speaker series to keep the conversation going.

Each event focuses on different topics, depending on the speaker’s background and interests. To date, AWA participants have discussed issues ranging from science, religion, journalism, sexism in the workplace, food, music, and happiness. A major goal in selecting speakers and hosting events is to show that our community is full of diverse, inspiring women, and to build pride in that community.

 “We strongly feel that we are doing important work in Ottawa. Receiving this grant is so validating for us; it tells us that other people recognize the value and impact of this work too.” – Amanda Parriag, President, Media Action Média Board of Directors

Media Action Média have a few ideas for how to spend their grant money, including offering honorariums to their speakers in order to recognize the value of their time, providing event volunteers with bus tickets to get home safely, and recording AWAs for their website. One thing they don’t want to do, however, is make their events bigger.

To date, all discussions have been respectful and non-threatening, and Media Action Média’s intention is to keep the intimate format that has fostered these interactions to date. Rather than host larger Ask Women Anything events, the plan is to host them more frequently, in order to reach a wider audience while maintaining the atmosphere that has led to participants staying and talking well after events are scheduled to end.


AWA Image-2Photo: Melanie Coulson, Director of Communications and Content at the United Way and Professor of journalism at Carleton University, talks to the audience at the November Ask Women Anything event

We’ll be celebrating with Media Action Média at our next JustDrinks event Thursday, December 4th. Join us at Johnny Farina’s from 6:00pm to 8:00pm to learn more about Ask Women Anything!

In the meantime, Media Action Média invites you to connect online. Get in touch via their website, Facebook, or Twitter.