Why Have a Woman of the Week?

Patricia working on WOWs

Our Woman of the Week series is probably what Axia is best known for! We haven't been asked often why we do it, because it seems to make sense to our readers right off the bat--and that's a good thing! But now that I've raised the issue, you might be interested in more of the rationale behind these profiles. Here it is:

  • The series gives us a chance to celebrate people we admire, encourage people who might be wondering about their own roles in the Church, and spark ideas.
  • Axia was born because the moment we scratched the surface of Church life, we saw all these amazing women. Axia began out a list of Church women who were making all sorts of things happen.
  • These women reflect the Orthodox world as we at Axia know it to be—diverse jurisdictions filled with women of action, energy, creativity, and giving spirits—that we don't hear about much otherwise.
  • As a network by, for, and about Orthodox women, in the service of Christ, we trusted that raising the profile of women in the Church would raise the whole Church’s profile in the wider world, in a most positive way.
  • The added benefit has been that we are able to provide a platform for Orthodox to hear from their own women in a (mostly) unmediated way—which doesn't happen all that often in regular church-going.

That's the "Why." Now, how does the Women of the Week feature happen?

Our WOW editor is myself.

Here's the process for someone to become a Woman of the Week. Someone nominates a woman (I tell you how to do that at the end of this piece). Alternately, one of us on Axia's board learns of a woman whose work we admire. If we decide to proceed, I ask to be introduced to her by email either by the nominator or by someone who already knows her. We set up a time for a brief conversation, which is intended to make her comfortable with taking part, and to help  identify themes in her life that would work as the narratives for the pieces. (You see me here getting ready to have that conversation with an upcoming WOW.) Without some structure, it is very hard to sit down and write about your life in 5-10 paragraphs!

We do have a loose format: Day 1 usually covers how she ended up doing whatever it is that got her nominated. Day 2 is usually on a topic in which she is an expert. And Day 3 covers her morning routine (whatever she does before she gets started on the main part of her day). I also ask her to provide photos that focus primarily on her, which many people find the hardest part of the assignment! Then she goes off to write the pieces and hunt out some images.

WOWs on IG 2
WOWs on IG

That leaves me with some further editorial tasks: I review the pieces, make sure they meet our requirements, check for typos, make queries to the WOW if a detail is unclear, match photos to pieces, format the photos to fit our website, add the metadata to all, and then post to social media over the week.

The pieces roll out on Facebook and Instagram on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Social media being what it is, the whole board keeps an eye on the comments—though we’ve rarely had issues.

Which brings me to: If you know someone that you'd like to nominate as a Woman of the Week, please write to us at axiawomen@gmail.com, telling us who she is and why you think she would make a good candidate. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Patricia Fann Bouteneff is Axia's founder and president.

Patricia at Orchard House