Brazil: The work of women on radio is the theme of ARTICLE 19’s new project

Brazil: The work of women on radio is the theme of ARTICLE 19’s new project - Civic Space

To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ARTICLE 19 Brazil has launched a new Women of Expression initiative that brings together stories on issues related to the women working in the radio media.

Through video interviews with six female radio broadcasters and articles on a range of issues, Women of Expression examines the objectification of and violence against women in the radio.

Júlia Lima, project officer at ARTICLE 19 says that, “The historical inequality in access to rights between men and women in the world has also culminated in an under-representation of women in the field of communications.

Our objective with this project is to initiate discussion on this issue in Brazil and aim to correct a distorted perspective promoted through radio, argue for gender equality in the media, and emphasize both as critical to the the development of society’s values”.

All the information contained in the website has been drawn directly from surveys and discussion groups with female radio workers during two events hosted in cities in the northeastern region of Brazil. The events were organised by ARTICLE 19 in partnership with the Women’s Network of AMARC (World Association of Community Radios) .

According to the testimony heard by ARTICLE 19 during the meetings, one of the most troubling obstacles to women working in radio media, is gender violence.

As a result of their performance on the radio, many women reported having suffered persecution from listeners and even abuse and intimidation from co-workers.

It is clear from the feedback that many female radio workers face obstacles in their day-to-day work. Several of them reported challenges to the idea that they might cover themes historically seen as male, such as “sport” and the “economy”. The work of women radio broadcasters is usually restricted to subjects that concern “beauty” and “fashion”, among others.

They also spoke about the importance of discussing sexual and reproductive rights and other issues of special interest to women, and of the considerable resistance within radio stations to include such topics on various shows.

Many women interviewed and engaged in the project reported feeling under-represented in management and decision-making roles in media outlets. They also stressed the importance of community radio for the participation of women in public debate.

Community radio stations offer more freedom for women to participate than commercial ones. However, they often have to deal with innumerable bureaucratic obstacles and regulation, as well as a tendency on behalf of the oversight bodies towards a hostile approach to the such stations.

One of the conclusions reached during the research concerns how crucial it is for safe spaces for debate for and by women, to exist. “By organizing the workshops and interviews for the Women of Expression initiative, it is clear that such spaces help to promote mutual trust between different groups and collectives.” said Júlia Lima.