Week Three: Interactive radio and gender

Yes Busi Our women are in listening clubs where by now the groups are dominated by women.The phones that they use in giving us feedback were given to them by farm radio trust and they were given radios too to empower them into listening the programs each and every week and then have discussions.

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Cultural issues are difficult to address on radio stations alone, it needs interventions from civic groups as well as hu,an rights organizations. With tne interventions slowly some xultural belief which impinge other people rights are dealt with accordingly by assistance from tradorional leaders.

Women are thought to be second citizens in most cultures, so they are not suppoaedmto talk before the husbands

By involving them in production, i meant taking the studio to them. Make it possible formthem to be involved physically

Of course this could also be a solution to women as they are also physically challenged women among the audience

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My name is Jigsa Tesfaye and my work is mainly on ICT for communication at Farm radio Ethiopia.

Women voices on the radio is less heard than men’s voices. This is down to different reasons in different regions for Ethiopia, culture being one of the main reasons in most regions restricting women from participating.

Studies show significantly less women own a cellphone than men. One method we used here in Ethiopia for one particular project to increase the number of voices of women heard on the radio is to form women listening groups in target areas and were given a cell phones for each group. This is not always possible but we can also let women share a cell phone by using their fellow listening members’ phones to call in and participate on radio programs. We noticed that this method really worked better in community radio stations where the ties between the radio stations and the listening groups are much tighter.

Thank you!


on the issue of gender involvement in programming i can say that like at our station we have got agents for different programs i.e my farming program has both female and male agents in each parish and when it comes to responding to different topics aired we allow all systems like phone calls,SMs,and written hard copies.But to soften it we have special phone numbers where the agent beeps and we call back for more and some times we make field visits.Also what should be considered while taking all the visits is 1.Go when you are male and female so that all issues can be raised and attained otherwise one side may not reveal some key areas needed.

Interactive radio and gender;

Qn 1: Women indeed face challenges in being able to interact in radio programs and these include:

  • belief that husbands(men) are the voice of the family and thus have the first and in most cases a final say on issues, including commenting or participating in radio programs.
  • the women sometimes resign to being silent listeners because they are either out working in the family gardens and farms or doing chores at home, they will therefore listen in but wont contribute to an ongoing discussion.
  • Inferiority complex especially among the rural women who think they don’t deserve to voice out their ideas and concerns.
  • limited access to gadgets for example phones.
  • the broadcasters also present another challenge of not reaching out to the women in their programming for instance recording the women voices,because of limited budgets.
  • perception that men make better experts and interviewees compared to their female counterparts presents a challenge of denied opportunity to the women as regards to their participation in radio programs.

Qn 2: yes other groups including people with disabilities and the elderly too don’t get same opportunity to participate in programs.

Qn 3: How to help people normally left out to participate in programs;

  • Conduct indiscriminate interviews
  • Respect all contributions made to the programs.
  • Visit and seek views of all groups of people
  • encourage interaction of the less participating groups of people by offering rewards and appreciating their contribution during program.
  • Continued sensitisation via radio on right to freedom of expression to beat inferiority and helping women to especially realise their major contribution in most agriculture based economies and therefore their input in programs should be increased.

@smawerere Thank you .I concur with you.Programming differs in stations.

Hi everyone,
I wish to apologize for being so quiet I have been attending to some domestic problems. I lost my husband who succumbed to Heart failure on 11th January and on 19th March we had his last funeral rites; so you know what it means those from the African Culture since they are the same all over.

Back to the topic.
** **1 "How to involve women in radio programs"

It is obvious that women’s empowerment and community development go hand in hand and that women’s access to information is a critical requirement for development. Therefore, women empowerment can only be made possible in part through access to education (Formal or informal) where they get opportunities of accessing timely and correct information so as to be part of the Information Society so as to be able to contribute directly to critical economic, cultural and political activities.

In Africa, labour demands limit women’s access to opportunities as 80% of them (Women) produce the food in Africa and it is the labour of women in the subsistence sector that secures the community of rural communities which requires them to have access to information thus radio. Therefore the radios should close that gap by offering the greatest reach and accessibility to women in-spite of their workload and lower status in the community which lowers their opportunities to interact with station management and radio content production.

Women are rarely heard on radio and they rarely have the opportunity to create their own radios and even if they do, they do not get the targeted audience like The Uganda Media Women’s Association’s radio “Mama FM” based here in Kampala; which not many of us women listen to! I confess, I have never listened to it during its 15 years of existence!

Radio programming should empower women by specifically focusing on gender inequality. Since it is often cited as an effective strategy to counter detrimental attitudes towards women.

Women often fear to speak out more publicly about their experiences though sometime culture also prevents them from doing so.

Women’s failure to access radio and ICT denies them oracy, which is considered the “woman’s” form of expression in many African cultures. Women should be enabled to re-appropriate the oral traditions for their own benefits in order to create and claim space for empowering oracy to assert their survival needs though this may take some ingenuity, considering the barriers women face when it comes to access radio and ICT.

It is of fundamental importance to invite women participation in order to sustain both programming content and the station itself.

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Sorry. Accept our condolence :worried:

  1. Youths have failed to embrace educative radio programs in preference to entertainment ones which rarely have any information for their sustainable development and even when such programs target them as long as there are not incentives or promotional gifts/prizes to win, the youths will not bother to listen to such programs.

  2. Broadcasters should find out who is not participating and why, then try to find solutions;
    i) If they lack cellphones then they should go to them in the fields and record them then later play back their voices so that their concerns can be heard.
    ii) If they cannot call in, then airtime should be availed for presenters to call them out there (Toll free phones).
    iii) Form Listener’s clubs where they will gain self esteem and be able to express themselves; then they will be able to pick interest to address others through radio and therefore call to participate.
    iv) Where possible provide **portable radios**to the Listeners’ groups so they can listen to them together during whichever fora it maybe especially programs targeting them and which should be at specified times.
    v) Radios should go to the people and let them talk because there is so much knowledge in rural communities that we at radio tend to ignore and instead do alot of downloading and never upload form the communities.(The tapping of indigenous knowledge so to say)
    vi)Where possible stations can do what is referred to as "Narrow casting" where women’s/farmer’s programs are created and played to a local audience over cassette or CD players and loudspeakers in especially very remote areas.

Have a nice weekend!

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Thanks Obolo! God Bless You.


Thank you for your contribution, we are grateful that you are still part of us in the discussions here despite what you had to go through. Condolences to you and the family.

Thank you Busi and God Bless you.
Good evening.

This is educative Rehema! Good points

  1. Yes there are challenges like working in the house and taking care of the children

  2. Yes the youths are busy with achool issues

  3. Broadcasters can help by finding proper time of airing the programmes so that those who are left out should participate

Challenges that women face to interact in radio programs:
1.By nature of their responsibilities women tend to have no time to effectively participate in interactive radio program. It is more likely to find that radio are owned by men, and i grew up witnessing this. A man brings a chair and a stool and starts to listen to the radio while the wife is busy with domestic chores. Save for the invention of the mobile phones with radio receivers but even that i find interactions in phone in, sms etc is male dominated. However it also depends on the topic at hand, i have observed that women here in urban centres contribute more in radio shows that tackle relationships and entertainment. But in rural areas access to radio is male dominated, when a man is around the woman has little access which i think is still a challenge.

  1. Yes there are groups like the old definitely who are poor to afford owning a radio set or even cannot maintain the batteries for their receivers. They cannot simply know what is going on.

  2. The broadcasters need to embark on sensitization drive while in the program to keep reminding the listeners that the programs they concern everyone and let them participate equally. They need to reach out to them by introducing perhaps a quiz specifically for the affected group to react on. Even prizes for the women in whatever form to be won by a woman or that affected group in order to encourage them. Create a special telephone line for them to call in and participate. This will help them feel they have special attention.