Week 3: All about gender and interviews

Last week we discussed your understanding of collaboration including its benefits and challenges and we got a lot of wonderful contributions and some examples we can learn from. We have two topics for this week - gender and radio interviews.

Here are some questions to help guide the discussion:

  • What kind of collaboration is necessary to make sure radio programs address gender issues and include women? Do you have any examples from your own work you can share?
  • How can broadcasters prepare for an interview with someone with specific knowledge such as an extension officer, a researcher a gender specialist, the head of a farmers’ organization?
  • How can a subject matter specialist prepare for a radio interview?
  • What are some examples of successful and challenging radio interviews (both live and pre-recorded) you’ve been a part of?

Please take a minute to read the following resources:

106-12-Interviewing-experts-Best-practices-for-broadcasters-and-experts-1.docx (69.9 KB)

103-10 How to serve your women farmers well.docx (57.3 KB)
How to serve your women farmers well

Enjoy your week!

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Hello all

Where is everyone? We are already on our Week 3 and this week we are discussing gender and radio interviews. This topic is for all, broadcasters and stakeholders. Your experiences and ideas could be beneficial to others.

We are looking forward to hearing from you. Remember, 3 meaningful contributions per week guarantee you an active participant certificate.


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Collaboration by its nature is good to help any program to succeed. This is because no matter how rich an institution might be, it may never provide everything that customers need. It is prudent for broadcasters to collaborate with organisations that promote women. There should be radio programs that are tailor made to deliberately include women. Women have been marginalised before in different areas. In order to accelerate the pace of women inclusion, the radio programs targeting women could be presented by women/ girls themselves. In my own work, we had some pre-recorded radio programs for women by women. These programs were meant to raise awareness about women’s involvement in decision making processes. In this case it was the women’s quota in parliament (Zimbabwe has a bicameral parliament. The lower house has 270 seats. 60 of them are for women and they are not voted for. They come through proportional representation system). We had radio programs that were meant to evaluate the contribution of women in parliament as far as community development is concerned.


Hello everyone!

In my opinion, we need to collaboratively create ways to encourage women to speak up on issues that are affecting them and invite them to share their experiences with regards to farming or any other topic.

I’ve been a volunteer for over a month at Farm Radio Ghana and there we purposely attempt to utilize women as resource persons to speak on our radio programming. This alone is inspiring and has the potential to encourage our female listeners. So, my point is that in order to address gender issues and to include women in our radio programs, we’ve got to go straight to the source – the women. We should connect with other females and be a safe space for them to open up and allow their stories to be heard.



Hello @Denis, @Rini

Thank you for your contributions. Both of you believe women must be included deliberately.

I like that line of thought. It reminds me one slogan “Nothing about us without us”. If we need to include and encourage women participation, we cannot do it without them being involved.


Exactly @Busi_Ngcebetsha, for us, by us. Thanks for your input.

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Good day, Olusina Motiasan from Ejulenen93.7fm igbodigo,okitipupa,ondo state, Nigeria. Programmer,producer,presenter,reporter and newscaster.About gender,am working on a program title agriculture for alp that will give room for everyone to contribute their own quota and I will be trying to streamline the program whenever it’s on. Though on this week topic I have much to discuss


The kind of collaboration that will ensure that radio programmes address gender issues and include women include engaging those individuals that perfectly understand that gender and social inclusion in all aspects of our development initiatives is the key to our overall social coherence and productivity. We must engage and work with organizations that have Gender Policies and have streamlined gender in their corporate existence, activities and engagements. We must design media contents and programmes that clearly have Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) in them as a deliberate act of design not accidental. In fact the kind of collaborations that will ensure that gender issues that include into radio programmes shall entail collaboration with women focused groups and associations both non goverment, faith based, community based, national and international. Collaboration with UN Women, National Association of Women Societies, Ministries of Women Affairs etc can assist in ensuring that gender issues and women are built into radio programmes and discourse.
Radio broadcasters can prepare interview with someone with specific knowledge by ensuring they research into the area of specialization of the guest as to enable them get background information to prepare them. The radio broadcaster must not be a specialist to be able to interview a specialist. They only require to research the subject and topic. The broadcasters must position themselves as representing the ordinary listeners who will not have opportunity of having the contact with the specialists to ask them questions pricking their minds or issues giving them concern. In that case broadcasters can do a little a survey using their channels or any other source to find out from the listeners likely questions they will love ask a specialist. Such survey or call for response maybe done during programme promotion on air. For instance, a Liner like this may not be out of place " On the next edition of Women Today, our guest shall be the Honrable Minister for Women Affairs. What will you like to hear about gender and women. Send in your question…" The broadcaster must refresh his or her memory of basic interview tips. Some of them listed here are not exhaustive but can be of help:

  1. Never give an interviewee questions in advance. It’s OK to give a general idea about the interview themes but specific questions limit what you can ask in the interview. It also risks being overtaken by events and allows the interviewee to rehearse answers and sound stilted in the interview.
  2. Be on time. There’s nothing worse than keeping someone waiting for you.
  3. Always check your equipment is working and that you have enough batteries, tapes, discs etc before you leave the office.
  4. Treat the interviewee with respect. A warm but not over enthusiastic greeting is a good start. The interviewee deserves respect whether they are the President or the person who collects the rubbish.
  5. Take control of the location. It’s your interview. You decide what the background should be, if it’s too noisy, if there are too many distractions.
  6. You are not the centre of attention. Remember you are there to get the perspective of the interviewee not give your own.
  7. Do the research you need to, but don’t try to cram it all into your questions. Before you start the interview put yourself in the shoes of a member of your audience. If they were here, what would they ask?
  8. Ask the most important question first. The more pressed the interviewee is the less time they will have and the more likely they will cut the interview short.
  9. The interview is a conversation. It is not a confrontation. You are not there to make the interviewee look stupid.
  10. Try to avoid looking at notes. When you look at your notes the interviewee will also look at what you’re looking at. It’s difficult to read and listen at the same time.
  11. Maintain eye contact at all times. Avoid nodding your head vigorously. You don’t do that when you talk to people, so don’t do it in an interview.
  12. Try to ask a maximum of three or four questions. An interview is not a fishing expedition. If you can’t get to the essence of what you want the interviewee to say in three or four questions, change the questions.
  13. There are only six basic questions. Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?
  14. Shorter questions are better than longer ones. The more detail there is in the question the more difficult it is for the interviewee to track what you are asking. Be as direct as you can without being rude.
  15. Be sure of your facts. There’s nothing worse than being told you are wrong by an interviewee – especially when it’s live.
  16. Listen. The interviewee might want to use your interview to say something important that you were not expecting.
  17. If the interviewee’s not happy with the way they answered a particular question don’t give in to appeals for them to do it again – unless there is a factual error in the answer or there is a risk of serious confusion.
  18. At the end of the interview, no matter how difficult the interviewee has been, always say thank you
  19. Always check the interview has been recorded before the interviewee leaves. It’s much harder to re-do the interview if there’s been a technical fault.

Some of the things a specialist must do prepare for a radio interview include to find out the particular area of focus the interview will dwell upon to enable the specialist focus on those areas instead of swimming in the wild ocean of specialist knowledge that may not benefit the listener. The specialist must avoid use of technical words that leave the listerners confused and disenchanted. It is always good for the specialist to also do a background check on current issues from the area of specialization that the audience will love to get information. A gender specialist must know that that the issues of gender and equity is more current than gender and equality. The cultural aspects of peoples’ lives and acceptance of gender and social inclusion comes in handy etc.
One of my most successful radio interviews I have done live and recorded include: Guest of the Week, Feminine World, Issues of the Moment, Waking Up and Go, Youth Alive and Kicking, etc. The most challenging of them has been Guest of the Week. On this programmes I have met many difficult interviewees that made efforts to become the interviewers instead of the interviewees. Some answer questions with questions and become even aggressive and confrontational inmany cases. Some of my guests on The Guest of the Week have in many ocassions threatened to engage in fisticuffs with me.

In all the tips for basic interviews skills will not harm any broadcaster.


Good evening, Olusina motiasan from Ejulenen93.7fm igbodigo,okitipupa,ondo state, Nigeria. We are planing to come with a new program "Agriculture for all " that will give both men and women in agric equal opportunity to participate and show case whatever they have in stock. Will we be featuring women on our live program

Olusina motiasan from Ejulenen93.7fm igbodigo,okitipupa,ondo state, Nigeria. Previous experience is that will were able to have a good relationship with individual farmer especially women and whenever they want to assist us on information they make sure they do it which is what we benefit but is not so easy to get those that can really help unless we give out something anytime they requested

Olusina motiasan I really enjoy your discussion buzo thank you .I also feel you busi,Denis and rini

Hi Everyone, this week’s topic is worth in-depth discussing as it will help unearth the different genders issues in different environments.
It will also help provide some solutions to gender-related issues and how to address them.
It is worth refreshing our minds on Gender. Gender talks about the roles, tasks, responsibilities, and duties assigned by society to men, women, boys, and girls in a community.
It is common to hear society say men do not cry, men are strong and men are breadwinners in homes.
The society also classifies some work as female and when men are seen performing them, they are seen as weak. These are society perception of what men and women should be doing.
Looking at the value chain (from farm to folk ) of a particular agricultural commodity for a farm family:

  1. What are some of the activities specific to women and men, boys and girls
  2. Who says those activities are to the respective sexes and who decides who performs those activities
  3. Who does more of the farm activities, who is reward more and who makes the decision on the use of harvested produce in the family
  4. How do we ensure the reward and decision reflects the contributions and works/inputs of everyone contributing to bringing the produce to the table and market.

Hello members it has been quite some time without me posting a thing here but I enjoy the discussions and the questions posted to guide the talk. Thanks.

Just few observations, where I come from there are traditions that bar women from freely expressing them selves in anyway. One will not say a thing unless permission is granted from a husband! sometimes women will speak to you in secrecy after a group discussion letting you know that they feared to open up because their men were around.

I think even our cultures regard women as an inferior gender, for example when you prepare chairs during a village meeting, women will prefer seating on ground much as their are many and enough chairs for every one.

I my view if some one older than me kneels to greet me (A lady) I feel offended because its not right for me but many ladies in village settings will kneel to greet me anyway.

So all these put into account If you want to get more information and engage females in our radio shows we need to plan and have their discussions alone and if they request you don’t mention their names just honor that. Many times we must provide a special way of engaging females may be provide separate phone lines to call in during the radio shows, read their messages and give the females priority during the radio programs this will break the barrier i guess.
My view thanks.


Hello @0772362001

This is eye opening. Sometimes we forget that there are differences in culture that affect the way we do things.

I like what you said here because if you have a focus group discussion with women alone, they will feel free to express themselves.

I am not sure how this will help though:

If women do not want to speak if permission is not granted by the husband, how will a special line help? Will they have the courage to call in? Don’t you think maybe pre-recorded interviews might be the solution in this regard? What about women at work, do they behave the same way?

Denis, thank you for sharing especially about women radio presenters, they make it easy for fellow women to open up and say what is deep in their hearts because they feel they understand them.

Thank you all.l am also in agreement with both Denis and Rini, indeed if we have to make sure that radio programs address gender issues then women should be involved at early stages

  1. At hosting or presentation stages/ preparation, (interviewer), then as the interviewees/ resource persons/experts/specialists were possible should be women as a saying which says the "Use me or you lose me’, so in order to encourage women we have to use fellow women.
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Dear All,
In my opinion, I think using a phrase “Someone doing something for a reason” is my guiding factor in whatever I do to produce my farmer radio programme. What do I mean? I collaborate with anyone fitting in the phrase “Someone doing something for a reason.” This is regardless of whether they are men or women. I look for farmers who do something for a reasong. I look for agric NGOs who do something for a reason. I look for agric Extension officers who do something for a reason. I look for agric researchers who do something for a reason.

Not by choice but by coincidence, my programmes have more female voices than male voices. In my series I just concluded called Organic Soil Management For Fertility, I had in every episode 3 farmers, 1 extension worker and 1 researcher. On the farmers side, it was either all are females or only 1 is male. On extension workers, all were female and on researchers I had only 1 female but she featured in 8 of the 13 episodes.

One thing I have noted much in my area is that females are the ones who are much involved in farming and if you focus on new farming technologies, it is women who adopt such.

let me come to preparing for an interview with someone with specific knowledge, I believe in informing the interviewee of the topic in advance and also me researching on the topic. I mean I should know in advance what I will be discussing with the interviewee.

On the subject matter specialist, I do not give them questions I will ask but i give them guides to the possible questions.

One of the succesful interview i did was on the use of animal manure. On the panel I had three female farmers, one female extension officer and one male researcher. I informed the interviewees of the topic in advance and on the actual day, they came early and we discussed the guiding questions. When the programme started, I started it different from the guiding questions and i never asked any question on the guide. However the interview went on very well as if the panelist knew what i was going to ask. After the programme, even my fellow workers commended me and my boss told me I had prepared well for the programme.

A challenging interview was on green manure which i can say was a total mess. Though I informed the intervieweee of the topic in advance and gave them guiding questions, they came late on the actual day such that we did not discuss the guiding questions. In the programme, the farmers were not responding to my questions but to the questions on the guide. If i ask a follow up question, they responded to the next question on the guide. I was interested in getting their experinces with animal manure but they were telling me what the extension officer taught them. The researcher and the extension officer contradicted each other on the topic. I became upset and ended the programme within 20 minutes instead of the planned 45 minutes.


Hello @Buzo @MartinMwape

Thank you for your contributions. I have selected some points from your posts. @MartinMwape works with people who have a goal, irrespective of gender. This means if there is a group of women farmers or a women’s organisation that has a clear vision and goal, then they qualify.

The last sentence in the quote above clearly shows that there are many women involved in farming activities. This is not only in Zambia but I believe in other parts of the continent as well. The question is, how can we encourage these women to work with the broadcasters? @Buzo says working with women should not be coincidental or accidental, it must be clearly planned:

Coming to preparing for an interview, I agree broadcasters need to have background knowledge of the subject matter otherwise it will be difficult to come up with follow up questions. One might end up asking only the questions on paper:

and giving the interviewee the prepared questions may be disastrous because you will only ask one question and the answer may cover everything you planned to ask, then you get stuck.

What is your view? We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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How to ensure radio programs address gender issues and include women

Give women farmers the respect they deserve (speak to them by name, ask them their personal opinions on matters, identify women as farmers not as wife of a farmer).
Find out what is important to women and cover it (how to improve the soil, when to sell the farm produce, how to improve crop nutrition, how to borrow money wisely to increase plantings and how to look after savings until required for family needs).
Broadcast at a time when women farmers can listen
Encourage women to speak on air
Make your station gender responsive ( use a separate phone – in line for women callers, get out and meet women farmers, seek out women who are comfortable speaking on air, interview women in groups, provide a mobile phone to women in remote areas, have fun on air, celebrate successes).

How can a broadcaster prepare for an interview with someone with specific knowledge such as extension, researcher, gender specialist, head of FBO

They speak on research but farmers speak on everyday knowledge and experience and traditional knowledge
Farmers speak on challenges, struggles and success stories but experts speak to technical information
Experts quotes research or information verified by community of experts but the farmers speak on knowledge based on personal experience in their immediate environment.

How to prepare for a radio interview

Decide on the topic and scope of the interview
Schedule the interview well enough in advance to ensure that the expert will be available
Do some research on the topic so that you are familiar with most important issues.
Do a little research about your expert interviewee and their area of expertise

Successful and challenging radio interviews
My challenge was making a lady host my agric program but it is showing as a success for me when I hear her host the farmers and the experts. I find her voice good for the time (evening) and all guest are calm with her. Still observing her.

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