The rise of Jamila Rizvi: From Mamamia early days to News to Future Women

New job, new book – It’s all happening for columnist and author Jamila Rizvi!

Jamila Rizvi is a well-known name in the Australian women’s media landscape, having editorially led Mamamia in its early days – first as managing editor and then editor-in-chief. She was with the company for about four years so she has seen it flourish first-hand.

“I remember when I joined the company, you could fit the entire editorial team in my car. [Laughs] By the time I finished up, there were about 45 people working in editorial and the company had over 100 people working there. It’s an amazing growth story,” she told Mediaweek.

After leaving the women’s network, Rizvi worked for News Corp Australia as a columnist. She finished up a couple of months ago. Recently, she was named editor-at-large for Nine’s yet-to-launch subscription website Future Women. The new entity is aimed at professional women.

“It is a leadership role that is incredibly flexible. I expect to be one of the faces of the brand,” Rizvi said. “Given my experience in women’s media over the last five or six years – which includes working for a start-up – I will be able to play a supportive strategic role to the team who are going to be running the show.”

Apart from contributing to the new website, Rizvi will also host a Future Women’s weekly podcast series called FW Weekly and front many of its events.

Nine digital content director Helen McCabe with Jamila Rizvi

“It is going to be focused on women and work. Gender equality is going to be at the forefront of every episode. We are looking to inspire, inform and excite,” she said.

The major women-targeted digital offerings in Australia are Mamamia, News Corp’s WHIMN and Nine’s 9Honey. There are also titles like Women’s Agenda run by independent publishers.

Mamamia was one of the first major women’s networks in Australia. It dominated the space when News Corp announced WHIMN in 2016. The NewsDNA then-MD Nicole Sheffield cited internal research for its launch that showed “there were not enough premium female environments” on offer in Australia.

Nine’s 9Honey became competitive in the women’s media space in Australia after Helen McCabe joined the company in 2016. The first thing she did was unify its digital lifestyle offerings under one umbrella. This tactic worked well. 9Honey reached close to hitting two million unique browsers within a year of its relaunch. Future Women, which will operate as its own entity, is the brainchild of McCabe, who had been the driving force behind 9Honey.

Talking about the entry of a new brand in the local women’s media landscape, Rizvi said, “There is always space for more women’s brands and the offering can always be better.

“Australian women are very fortunate that there are a whole lot of great brands out there that are women-focused.”

When Mediaweek spoke to Rizvi, she had just finished a book tour. Her second book “The Motherhood” was released earlier this month.

“I am an unusual author in the sense that I find the actual process of writing a book quite painful and lonely. I don’t like spending long periods of time on my own,” she said. “It’s one of the reasons why I love column writing. You can sit down, spend a few hours on it and then file it. With a book, you really do invest deep in the subject matter over a very long time.”

Rizvi’s first book “Not Just Lucky” came out in 2017. Despite her dislike for the “lonely” process of book writing, Rizvi says, “I still have other books in me.”

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