Day 14 | Change the music | Turn up the volume on feminist radio

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Radio remains as one of the most accessible and affordable information channel in the world. You don't need to know how to read to understand what is broadcasted, and you can listen to it while doing other things. Considering the fact that there are 796 million adults worldwide who are unable to read and write, and out of which, roughly two-thirds of them (64%) are made up of women, radio can be a very powerful and valuable channel for information.

However, radio is often dominated by commercial interests, with insufficient attention paid to women's access to airwaves, representation in programming and content and in all levels of decision-making. This results in a majority of radio programmes that fail enable women's voices and perspectives to be heard as active and equal participants in social, economic, political and cultural life. There are fewer women singers on air, sexist lyrics have been normalised, and in many countries, radio DJs or newscasters assume that their audience is primarily male.

Change what is heard. Support the work of feminist radio stations and widen their broadcast. Spread the feminist word!

1. Choose your favourite feminist radio

  • There are numerous radio programmes and stations that have been created to broadcast and feature women's perspectives and concerns.
  • Find out what they are, and choose your favourite. They can be programmes or segments in your regular radio station, local or community radio stations, or even audiocasts or podcasts that are streamed and broadcasted online.
  • We've put together a small list of feminist radio programmes and stations to start with:, but there are bound to be more out there.
    • FIRE – The Feminist International Radio Endeavour
    • AMARC WIN – The Women's International Network of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
    • FemLINK Pacific – Community radio station run by women in Fiji
    • ISIS International Manila – NGO working for feminist communications
    • Accent of Women – Australian community radio programme by and featuring women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, made in the studios of 3CR
    • Women on the Line – Australian community radio programme by women, made in the studios of 3CR
    • Radio 1812 – Not specifically feminist, but lots of good stories on migration 
    • Radio Femina - A feminist radio station in Burkina Faso
    • @Womensradio - Twitter by Womensradio which provides regular links to music and news created by women
  • Let us know what you find by adding a comment to this page, and let's add it to the list.

2. Widen the broadcast!

  • Where do you usually listen to the radio with others? Think of how you can widen the broadcast of your favourite feminist radio in that space.
  • Some ideas to get you started:
    • If it is at home or at work, you can stream an online radio programme over the internet on your computer.
    • A lot of the stations or programmes can be podcast, which means they can be burned onto a CD and played in your office, your car, or while you're having breakfast.
    • Take the jingle from one of the stations and make it your ring tone.
    • Share the link of what you're listening to with your online network. Post it up as your status message on social networking sites or on your online chat client.
    • Or simply call in or SMS your regular radio station, and request for a song that speaks about non-violence and tell them why. Start a discussion on ending violence against women.

3. Demand for change

  • Call up your local radio station and tell them about your action. Invite them to be part of Take Back The Tech! You can offer to supply them with broadcast-quality audio they can use from your favourite feminist radio stations, or ask for them to play a segment of it on a larger show.
  • Have some arguments available in advance – listen to their show and take note of how money women appear, how many songs by women (and how many are feminist!) are played etc.
  • Mention the Global Media Monitoring Project to show the global picture – women need more airtime and this is their small contribution!
  • Petition your government for more women-focussed community or local radio stations. As a start, you can download and distribute the Gender Policy for Community Radio produced by AMARC WIN.

Change what is heard. Saturate our airwaves with ideas on how to end violence against women. Tune in to feminist radio, sing along and spread the word!