The Stella Women Series with Zoë Condliffe, Founder and CEO of She’s A Crowd

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In a world where data has the potential to shape narratives,  Zoë Condliffe emerges as a trailblazing gender advocate and data activist. In fact, Zoë is driving meaningful social change through her remarkable work at She’s A Crowd.

Prior to launching She’s A Crowd, Zoë pioneered initiatives like the digital crowd mapping tool, Free To Be, and the Youth Activist Series and Girls’ Walks during her time at Plan International Australia.

During these experiences, she became keenly aware of the gender data gap, which holds immense potential to tackle gender inequalities and shape sexual assault policies.

At the core of She’s A Crowd’s mission lies the belief in amplifying the voices of survivors of sexual assault, bridging the gender data gap, and providing decision-makers with invaluable insights. By collecting and analysing data, Zoë empowers leaders to make informed decisions, creating safer environments for all.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Zoë to learn more about her remarkable journey and unwavering dedication to using data activism to empower women and promote gender equality.

To kick things off, can you give us a quick intro to yourself and what you do?

“I’m Zoe, the Founder and CEO of She’s A Crowd. Our mission is to make cities and spaces safer for women and gender-diverse people by closing the gender data gap. 

We believe data is crucial in fostering safer communities and stopping the cycle of gender-based violence.”

Why do you believe data is key to fostering safer communities and stopping the cycle of gender-based violence? 

“Well, it all comes down to the fact that a significant portion of sexual assaults go unreported. In fact, around 90% of cases are not reported to authorities, which is an alarming statistic.

We know that gender-based violence is a prevalent and unfortunately common issue, especially among women. 

At She’s A Crowd, we aim to dissolve the key barriers to reporting, such as normalisation, internalisation, mistrust, and the perception of difficulty. For survivors, feeling heard, seen, and believed is essential in processing their experience of sexual violence. 

By collecting and analysing data, we address the gender data gap and provide decision-makers with valuable insights. This empowers them to make evidence-based decisions, devise better prevention policies, and plan safer cities, spaces, and workplaces. 

We can’t effectively tackle a problem we don’t fully understand, so our focus is on supporting decision-makers in putting survivors at the centre of their initiatives.”

What have been some of our proudest moments to date since launching She’s A Crowd?

“There have been quite a few proud moments for us! 

One of the most significant achievements has been building our amazing team of data activists who are passionate about making a difference. Their dedication and hard work have been instrumental in the success of our initiatives. 

Another proud moment for us was winning the Telstra Best of Business Award in 2022. It was an honour to be recognised for our efforts in using data to address gender-based violence and promote safer communities. 

And becoming the largest geospatial database for sexual violence in the world has been both a significant accomplishment and a poignant reminder of the scale of the problem we’re working to combat. It’s bittersweet because, on the one hand, it shows the impact of our work, but on the other hand, it highlights the unfortunate prevalence of gender-based violence.”

Why are ‘data activism’ and storytelling so impactful when it comes to countering gender-based violence?

“It all comes down to the power of being seen and heard. Women have historically been overlooked, their stories invisible and often dismissed. By providing survivors with the opportunity to share their stories, we give them a voice—a voice that has the potential to make a real difference. 

Storytelling allows survivors to feel like their experiences matter and that they’re capable of contributing to positive change. Moreover, by visualising these stories on a map, we can effectively communicate the depth and breadth of the issue to decision-makers. 

This approach offers a unique way to engage with stakeholders and raise awareness about the widespread nature of gender-based violence. When these stories are communicated as data, people pay attention. It bridges the gap between personal experiences and the systemic problem, leading to a better understanding and the potential for meaningful action.”

What is one piece of advice you would share with our community of women?

“Trust yourself and lead with intuition. 

As women, we often face societal pressures and self-doubt, which can make us question our abilities and feel like imposters. It’s essential to recognise that many others likely experience the same feelings. 

Openly talking about imposter syndrome and sharing our vulnerabilities creates a supportive environment where we can help each other grow and thrive. 

Remember, your voice and perspective are valuable, so trust yourself and have confidence in your abilities.”

Find out more about Zoë Condliffe and She’s A Crowd on their website, and stay up to date with Zoë on LinkedIn.

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