Well, of course community media are also men’s media, they are the media of the young and the old, the media of those living in the cities and in the rural areas, they are the media of … all! But my point is meant to stress the importance of women’s and girl’s involvement in community media. With (much!!!) less of an equal representation in the professional, mainstream media, women’s voices, perspectives and experience have a significant potential role in community media – they are simply really, really important! This is realised in many communities and countries.
Community Radio and Women
All over the world women are at the core of community life. Women care for the new and old generations, transmit the history and the values of the community to the young, and sacrifice to create opportunities for their children. In short, women are the fabric and the continuity in families and communities. Women are, at the same time, severely suppressed in most communities.
When wanting to do something about this through improving women’s voices on air, you can:
- map women’s role, place and actual circumstances in the community as an important and integral part of the initial community mapping, when planning your community medium;
- have a representative number of women active in the community radio station;
- ensure an appropriate image and role of women is presented in the station’s programmes.
- join hands with women in women’s organisations and maybe academia, to document the situation and map out the most urgent needs and possible ways forward.
Starting in the mid 1970s, feminists all over Western Europe joined hands in community radios, forming all women's stations, women's collectives in mixed stations, or engaged in the production of regular - maybe weekly - women's programmes in community radio stations. In 1996 the second directory of women in community radio in Europe was published by the international community radio association AMARC, documenting developments, reflecting on the experience and showing the way forward [read more here]. And in 2015 a reflection on where we are, women in community radio, globally: [read more here]
EMPOWERHOUSE has through its Director Birgitte Jallov on numerous occasions contributed to policy work in the past and will continue to do so when relevant. One occasion was when recommending to the then coordinators of the AMARC Women’s International Network (WIN) to develop a Gender Policy. Sharing ideas and past experience from similar situations in different countries, EMPOWERHOUSE helped inspire and shape what is now an important international policy document, translated into no less than 15 languages by community media activists - as one example of its perceived need and usefulness.
Some additional aspects of importance to consider, when focusing on women in community radio:
- Some organisations start ‘women’s community radio stations’
- Human Rights are also ‘Women’s Human Rights’
- Ways to work with FGM and other locally taboized issues and Stigma
Why is community radio/media so special for advancing women’s opportunities?
“Promoting Gender equality through and within radio” was the theme of the World Radio Day 2014, celebrated worldwide. EMPOWERHOUSE’s Birgitte Jallov was invited to deliver the keynote at the “Nepalese Women Broadcasters and Producers’” celebration in their capital city Katmandu, organised by the Story Kitchen – and to minimise costs, the presentation was flipped on to a large screen, Birgitte speaking from her home in Denmark. Listen in (10 minutes):
Less violence against women and children
One outstanding and significant impact found through many impact assessments of community radio stations is that women are beaten up much less and their children are subjected to much less violence and abuse, as shared in the keynote address posted above. This is of obvious extraordinary significance importantly but not only for women and children, but also for the general development of a community. Listen in to these two stories of change in Mozambique and in Lao PDR: A new role in the community – and in the family!!!!