How radio can #BreakTheBias this International Women’s Day

It cannot be said often enough. Women, and people everywhere, deserve to live in a world free of bias, free of discrimination, free of stereotypes, and free of violence

At Farm Radio International, we believe that communication — dialogue, media, information — has a role in making this happen.

That’s why, this International Women’s Day, we’re encouraging broadcasters across sub-Saharan Africa to #BreakTheBias by equipping radio stations with additional skills, tools and know-how on advancing gender equality in their own communities. 

Partnering with broadcasters for gender equality

We have partnerships with more than 2,000 broadcasters and 1,050 stations across sub-Saharan Africa. Through WhatsApp groups, online training and discussions, and biweekly emails that provide resources, shareable stories and how-to guides, we provide radio stations with the tools and resources to challenge stereotypes and advance gender equality. 

Media plays an important role in society and in shaping our viewpoints by sharing information, voices, and different perspectives from around the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, radio is the most popular mass media due to its accessibility and ability to reach under-served communities. Millions rely on radio for reliable, timely, and contextual communication about the world around them. 

Radio can reinforce stereotypes about gender norms and unequal power dynamics, or it can challenge those stereotypes and create a pathway to a better future.

We want to ensure the broadcasters we work with have a step up in working to create thriving, more equal communities.

What can radio do?

Many stations, like Radio Media + CI Bouaké in Côte d’Ivoire, the winner of the 2022 Liz Hughes Award for Her Farm Radio, are already doing amazing work to further gender equality.

In 30 minutes each week, Radio Media + CI’s show, Leadership au féminin aims to present listeners with stories about women in non-traditional roles to spread the message that women and men are equal, and can play many different roles in society. The program also addresses issues such as women’s access to sexual and reproductive health information, gender-based violence, and more, and boasts many diverse segments, including: 

  • Femmes 2.0, which deals with entrepreneurship skills for women,
  • Une grossesse, un repos, which discusses maternal health and family planning, and
  • Débat politique inclusif, which encourages women to participate in local decision-making processes.

We’re encouraging stations to take a number of actions this International Women’s Day, and throughout the month of March, to create something similar on their own programs by doing any (or all) of the following:

Positive masculinities

In March, our teams have also been leading online discussions with broadcasters about positive masculinities and men’s roles in working toward gender equality. Discussions across countries and across languages have and will touch on topics like religious and cultural norms related to gender equality; gender-based violence and positive masculinities; and the media’s role in addressing gender equality and transforming these views.

So far broadcasters have shared commonly held views from their communities, and discussed how they could change those views. Some suggested involving community and religious leaders, hosting discussions on their station, producing stories about men and women taking on non-traditional roles, or developing programming aimed specifically at men about how gender equality benefits everyone. 

Content for programming

One of the ways we support stations is by sharing with them stories and scripts to translate and adapt for their own programs.

Thanks to our team of writers, we’ve developed a series of radio spots that broadcasters can record and air on their programs. They sound something like this :

From guides on addressing sensitive topics, to online training about broadcasting about women farmers, to radio dramas on gender-based violence, we’ve produced a variety of resources for stations to build their own campaigns for gender equality. You can find and read them all, here.

Our team of freelancers also writes stories that broadcasters can either use on their own programs, or to inspire the types of stories they tell. 

In Ghana, for example, Farm Radio International is working with WUSC to reduce gender-specific barriers to women’s economic participation in trades. Through radio programs that spark discussions about the roles women can play in society and by sharing stories about women like Grace Tetteyfio, stations can spark discussion and change in their own community.

‘’At school, I wanted to do something different from what my friends were doing. So I went in for technical education with my dad’s support. I love to be exceptional, that is naturally me. I do not like following the crowd.”

Grace Tetteyfio, Engineer, Ghana

Communication for Gender Equality

It’s clear that radio programs can make a difference in the lives of women and their communities. By ensuring that communication rights are upheld for everyone, that women have can speak and be heard in all spaces, including those created especially for them, by challenging stereotypes and unequal power relations, by working together to creating a better, more equal world, radio can #BreakTheBias. 

This International Women’s Day, we know stations and broadcasters around the world are doing that.

If you are a radio station and would like to join this movement, click here to find more of our resources on gender equality and how you can contribute to that, here

Thank you. 

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