From Darfur to Nepal, from Congo to Tunisia, the message of women’s rights is on the air waves. Radio reaches billions of people and is considered to be the medium with the widest audience in the world. Born in the 19th century and still at the forefront of communications, radio is specifically suited to reach remote rural communities and vulnerable people, many of them poor, illiterate and women. Run on batteries, lightweight, mobile and inexpensive, the popularity of the radio medium remains high, amongst the six billion people who have access to it.
To reach the most far flung villages and to bring in the rural population, the people who are too often the subject of international debate but whose voices are rarely heard, UN Women is leveraging the power of the radio. In the lead up to the 57th Commission on the Status of Women– where Governments will gather to report on the progress made to improve the status of women in their countries and to agree on broad-ranging policies on the theme of ending violence against women and girls – a radio partnership is bringing rural women’s voices to the forefront.
It is estimated that up to seven in ten women globally will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes. Through a partnership with the leading international network of community radio broadcasters, AMARC, also known as the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, UN Women is supporting women community radio producers as they tell the stories of their peers, of grassroots women, on ending the pandemic of violence.
Community radio stations are built on the foundation of accountability to the communities they serve. They redefine the power of the radio medium to give a voice to the most marginalized communities. Ordinary people in rural and urban communities own and produce the content they hear on the radio. The stories will be available on the UN Women website and also distributed globally in the week before the Commission.
Women’s rights and gender equality concerns are also captured on the airwaves through other UN-Women-supported efforts. Tune into this frequency:
UN Women provides a training course for journalists in Khartoum on gender mainstreaming and other skills, to support the efforts of women like Intisar Ginded, whose radio show Women and Society informs and spreads seeds of hope.
The Women’s Union building in Viet Nam’s Binh Dinh Province is afloat with music, as traditional songs about the province, the seasons, fishing and farming drift through its rooms. Yet those singing know that the life they celebrate is under threat. Each has gathered here to discuss plans and actions for tackling natural disasters.
Women, some even trapped in a cycle of violence, are among the most exposed to new HIV infections in Nepal’s Makwanpur district. Working to combat the issue, UN Trust Fund grantee Equal Access launched a radio programme to get women most at risk to speak up, encourage community action and engage men as positive role models.