Reflecting on a discussion about gender equality

Reflecting on a discussion about gender equality

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For four weeks at the beginning of 2021, Farm Radio International brought together our broadcasting partners from across Africa for an online discussion about gender equality. From Jan. 11 to Feb. 5, broadcasters and subject-matter specialists came together to share their experiences and to learn from each other. The discussion took place in English on Farm Radio’s online platform, and in French in a WhatsApp group. The discussion was active and engaging, with about 60 people joining the discussion and 35 actively participating. Somed Sahadu provided support as a subject-matter specialist.

Over four weeks participants discussed:
–    Their understanding of gender equality
–    The challenges women face with regards to gender equality
–    Gender and radio programming
–    Strategies to achieve gender equality at home and in the workplace

A summary of this discussion follows.

Following the discussion, Farm Radio surveyed participants and most said that the discussion improved their understanding of gender equality. They also enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas with other broadcasting partners, learned something new about gender equality, and found the discussion useful for their work. Half also said they will produce a radio episode about gender equality. If you are planning a program, read our recent theme pack of resources on this topic:

Finally, 100% of respondents said they would like more training on gender equality. If you’d like more training, you can follow our self-guided learning module. Go to:
Username: your email address
Password: Farmradio8!

You can also read our Broadcaster how-to guide on serving your women farmers well:


A summary of the discussion

Gender equality is: 
  • having equal access to a variety of opportunities inclusive of economic, political, and decision-making, especially in homes and irrespective of one’s sex.
  • equal treatment of people of both sexes. It means what can be done by a male person can also be done by a female.
  • equal opportunity to access resources.
  • social roles and responsibilities which award women and men equally according to their potentials, intellectual, political, socio-economic status of works.
  • where everyone (both the male and female) has the opportunity to access what is meant for him or her, be it political, economy, or other resources equally.
Challenges facing women with regards to gender equality:
  • In our local communities, women are not considered in decision-making. Even if they are invited to participate, they themselves will decline, thereby looking down upon themselves.
  • Women in high positions do not help their own; they are their first enemies. They have the Pull Her Down (PHD) syndrome.
  • They don’t have self-confidence and the old adage that women’s place is in the kitchen seems to still be in operation.
  • Traditional cultures prohibit women from inheriting property.
  • Young ladies are forced to marry at an early age in some communities.
  • Ladies are forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • Women are mostly sidelined in line with cultural practices that have placed or subjected women as weaker vessels that must respect the authority of men.
  • It’s not easy for a woman to have access to traditional land because when a woman gets married, she will leave the land or house to go and live with the husband.
Solutions to these challenges: 
  • Women should be encouraged to work with the mantra that whatever a man can do a woman can do it even better.
  • They need to prove that they are up to the task. For example, they could volunteer in their local areas for roles that have been traditionally for men.
  • Engaging men and boys to participate in gender equality initiatives as opposed to making it look like only a women’s issue. When tackling gender inequality, it is important to involve both males and females and not to involve people of a particular sex only because you won’t really get a solution.
  • Knowledge, understanding, and capacity-building of both sexes. In our rural communities, these indicators are not well understood by the indigenous people. We have to engage communities through education sensitization both formal and informal, sexual education, and career development with men and women in attendance.
Gender and radio programming:

– I usually have 2-3 women on each segment and allow male participation via the phone line or social media. I have had women from all walks of life and it made me open a WhatsApp page for female discussions, addressing issues we normally might have to keep silent about, like marital issues or in-law challenges.

– We do have programs that are specially designed for women. We do talk about women’s participation in decision-making processes like in parliament, for example. In such programs, we make sure that we invite women from different sectors, be it politicians, businesswomen, gender activists, human rights activists, etc.

– Our station has a variety of programs that address gender issues; we have “Mata Iyayen Gida” (Women the Parents at Home), and Woman’s World, which is a program that is anchored by not just women but a man in the team addressing issues that bother women in terms of family, entrepreneurship, education, business/finances, culture, agriculture, politics, health, and security, etc. Women are not living in an island, so they need to have these issues addressed even from the men’s point of view.

– On the issue of involving women or girls in our programs, we often balance between both sexes when the number is even and in case it is odd, if males are more in this program, females will be more in the next one.

– At my workplace, we have put a deliberate policy that in most of our radio program productions, both genders are involved.

– In my institution, and as a program manager, I ensure that ladies run all the gender-sensitive programs such as the Agriculture Show, Health Show, Relationship Show, and a show that looks at our social lives.

– As radio content creators, we have to be very clear what content we want to create from the conception stage and what problem we want to solve with it. If we think that a particular segment of the gender is marginalized and we want to give them voice, we must clearly think about all that during our radio program creation stage. For example, if I have noticed that women of child-bearing age are not allowed a voice in their community by men due to cultural or socially-constructed reasons, I can go ahead as a radio content producer to create a radio content that gives women within that age bracket an opportunity and voice on the radio.

– In using radio programming to handle issues of gender on how the radio content is scheduled for broadcast, critical questions are: who is the audience; what about their status – educationally, socially, and economically, what is their media consumption pattern, etc.; and when can the particular gender be reached with radio programs when transmitted.

– Producers seek out women who are comfortable speaking on air. Producers and hosts going out to meet women farmers. Producers use a separate phone-in line for women callers. Providing a mobile phone to women in remote areas can also improve their participation.

– Use women’s farming terminologies so that they understand the conversation.

Strategies to achieve gender equality at home and in the workplace:

– In the home, we can encourage gender equality by being examples to our children. We can begin from small and basic things at home like allocating children’s daily chores without discrimination. Doing away with assigning gender roles to children, e.g., girls learning to cook and boys learning to do carpentry … train both boy and girl children to take up whichever role captures their attention.

– Offer protection against harm and violation to both males and females in a home.
Support either sex to take up courses in their education path and later careers, irrespective of being male or female.

– Ensuring property inheritance and rights are fairly accorded to males and females in a home.

– Income generation and home sustainability be a responsibility of all and not limited to one gender.

– Put in place policies that support gender equality at workplaces. Offer equal employment opportunities to males and females. Promotion and remuneration should be based on input and performance, not gender bias. Encourage and create opportunities for more women to take up positions on the Board of Directors and Management team.

– There needs to be community engagements, like in my country, we have the whole ministry of gender with community development officers at the district level; but they need to refrain from working in offices only, their work must be community-based to help families.

– Most radio stations now have programs that address gender issues but they need to be strengthened though, and both men and women should be compelled to listen to them to pick a leaf on how gender can be promoted in homes.

– In broadcasting, it is imperative to engage males and females both as producers, presenters, reporters, engineers/technicians, etc. Engaging all genders in carrying out the above will ensure balance in a program where either interviews, features, talks, etc. will reflect the very best listenership for the audience.

– Lobby for laws that could strengthen gender issues (nationally) and put some guidelines in workplaces and homes that could ensure that gender equality exists and is practiced.


Are you having these discussions within your networks? Let us know! [email protected]

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