Impactful, dynamic radio programming to empower, inform, and inspire women and men.
“Radio Nisaa is all about inspiration and empowerment. Inspiration is very important in our society. Over the airwaves we can share our experience and knowledge, and support women to realize themselves.” – Maysoun Odeh Gangat, Director Radio Nisaa FM
Women in the Palestinian Territories face significant barriers when it comes to participating in public life. Male perspectives dominate the mainstream Palestinian media, tending to portray women as victims and reinforcing negative stereotypes. Women hold only a handful of decision-making positions in the national media industry, with few public platforms catering to their information needs or reflecting their real interests. Women are less able to voice their concerns and are less likely to become involved with shaping society.
The Womanity Foundation, in partnership with Radio Nisaa Broadcasting Company, established Radio Nisaa FM, the first commercial women’s radio station and website in the Middle East, in late 2009. The station aims to change the stereotypical image of women in the Palestinian media. With three daily primetime programmes, it broadcasts news, interactive talk shows, music, and investigative reports on a range of current issues. Programs showcase contributions to everyday life made by Palestinian women, and connect and promote dialogue among women there and abroad.
Under the direction of Maysoun Odeh Gangat, the station is managed by women and shows are produced and presented by female media professionals. A network of local female reporters document women’s opinions and experiences across the country. Men’s opinions are also aired to engage them in discussions about women’s rights.
Through its social media presence, call-in opportunities, and vox pops, Radio Nisaa encourages women to contribute to the station’s content, become producers themselves, and to have a greater voice.
Starting from mid-2015, Womanity, with the advice of Radio Nisaa, aims to expand its audience outreach beyond Palestine by creating an online multi-media platform and virtual hub and by capacitating at least 10 like-minded media outlets in the Arab region by 2018 to adopt Nisaa’s model and cooperate in program production.
Synergos, Ashoka, Schwab Foundation, Ministry of Women Affairs, the Palestinian Business Women Forum and many other sponsors and local and international organisations.
(1) The estimation of Radio Nisaa’s audience share is based on data provided by external surveys. In 2010, the survey was conducted by Near East Consulting and in 2014 and 2015, by Arab World for Research & Development (AWRAD).
The First Multimedia Platform for Arab Women in the World
In 1995, the Beijing Conference on the Status of Women identified Media as strategic allies to push forward the agenda of gender equality.
Social studies show that media (fictional and non fictional programs) contribute to shape the individual vision and perception of the world and of social roles and norms. Therefore, they have a direct impact on shaping gender roles and power relationships in society; on selecting issues to be discussed in the public arena; and on identifying the voices and the opinions to be heard.
In other words, if women do not have a voice in media, they are more likely to be silent or be silenced in the society as well.
For these reasons, the Conference set the following strategic objectives: to increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media (including in new technologies) and to promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media.
After 20 years, although progresses have been made, these objectives are far to be achieved.
Research shows that women make up only 27% of top management jobs in media (1); only 24% of persons in the news are women; and just 4% of news stories challenge gender stereotypes (2).
In Arabic-speaking countries, women experience similar challenges and problems. Many of them are more likely to be limited to domestic environments than men and media are often their only window to the public sphere.
This gives to media the incredible opportunity to be the game changer in the narrative of the reality and in the portrayal of the role of women in society.
After the successful example of Radio Nisaa in the Palestinian Territories, Womanity, in partnership with the radio station, has embraced the strategic objectives of the Beijing Conference and has set to encourage a culture of equal opportunities and equal voice in media for women and men that could gradually expand in the whole Arabic speaking world.
The project, Nisaa Network, intends to revolutionize the media industry and nurtures networks of partners across the region that can join forces and carry forward the objectives of the program.
Nisaa Network operates at different levels:
– Setting the example
Nisaa Network is a regional interactive multimedia platform in Arabic and English featuring empowering and gender-inclusive media contents, productions and publications. In the production of its content, Nisaa Network engages media organizations; women’s and civil society organizations; researchers and research centers; sector leaders; opinion-makers; influencers and individuals.
– Fostering a culture of cooperation among media outlets
Nisaa Network will build a professional community of like-minded media outlets (at least 10-12 over the period 2016-2019) with whom to co-produce and syndicate media contents, as well as foster egalitarian, empowering professional policies and practices, e.g. including professional code, gender lens approach, inclusive and empowering content production, team building and talent development, hybrid funding models, etc.
– Influencing a culture of gender equality in the media industry
Nisaa Network and its partners will host conferences, workshops and events to raise awareness on gender equality in media among practitioners and media operators and share with them the experience of the network as well as tools, policies and practices developed within it.
By 2016-2019, Nisaa Network creates an informative and interactive multimedia platform and a virtual hub with an audience reach of min. 1 million.
By 2019, Nisaa Network coordinates a network of min. 10-12 like-minded media outlets who produce at least one program in cooperation every year and adopt policies and procedures, jointly developed, on gender equality in media (both in the management structure and in the content production).
Nisaa Network organizes one annual regional conference on the role of women in media (and in the society) addressing the media industry in the region with the objective to influence a culture of equal opportunities, equal voices and fair representation for women and men in media.
Radio Nisaa (www.radionisaa.ps)