Over the month of March, Farm Radio International encouraged our radio partners to broadcast programs or segments on gender equality issues in recognition of International Women’s Day but also to underline the importance of gender equality.
In total, 70 radio partners participated in the campaign, broadcasting a total of 126 programs or segments on gender equality topics. These topics included:
- Sharing household responsibilities between husbands and wives
- Encouraging women to pursue education and work in technical fields
- Gender-based violence and supporting women to report it
- Education of girls and young women
- Economic empowerment of women
- And more.
We offered 11 prizes of $50 CAD and randomly selected the following winners from the participants:
- Mubaric Amadu Babia, Gwollu FM (Ghana)
- Gladys, G.B.C- Radio Upper West (Ghana)
- Zakaria ZOURE, Radio Municipale de Garango (Burkina Faso)
- Ouabouè BAKOUAN, Radio Manivelle (Burkina Faso)
- Noaga Emmanuel Nana, Radio Cinporogo (Mali)
- Thierno Oumar Diop, Bamtaare FM dodel (Senegal)
- Fatou Dieng Fall, Gindiku FM (Senegal)
- David Chisanga, Lima Radio (Zambia)
- Manase Chitedze, Dowa FM (Malawi)
- Kenny Luhkele, Radio 3FM (Zambia)
- Esau Ng’umbi, Shamba FM (Tanzania)
During the month, we also highlighted some key resources on gender equality and inclusion. Since then, we’ve published even more. Check out these new resources:
- Radio spots on women in non-traditional technical and vocational education and training 
- Rights of rural women in Ethiopia 
- Rights of rural women in Malawi, Mozambique, and Malawi 
We also hosted an online discussion on positive masculinities. This topic is an important aspect of gender equality, as boys and men play a key role in improving gender equality for all. This discussion was hosted online from Feb. 21 to March 17, 2022. The English discussion took place on our online discussion platform and in a WhatsApp group. We also hosted a two-week discussion in Portuguese in our Mozambican WhatsApp group. The French discussion took place in a Telegram group. In total, 364 people participated in these discussions, with 68 earning certificates for their active participation in the discussion.
The first week of the discussion explored people’s understanding of positive masculinities. Participants were supported by several resource people, who brought their expertise to the discussion. For the English discussion, this included Somed Shahadu and Sikhangele Mabulu.
For the Portuguese discussion, we were joined by Pamela Pureza Maungue. And the French discussion benefited from the expertise of Oumy Cantom Sarr, Mariam Kouyate, and Yeli Togola.
In general, positive masculinities refer to the characteristics and behaviours specific to men who are not violent, and who commit themselves to the well-being of women and treat women as equals. Positive masculinities are a disposition to oppose inequalities between the genders and discriminatory attitudes.
In the second week of the discussion, we dug into traditional and religious norms and positive masculinities. In general, participants suggested that men are often viewed as strong, powerful, and the breadwinners who are expected to lead and provide for the family. This means that boys are often raised with the understanding that they are superior to the girls. This can also mean that men are considered weak if they support women in their duties, which includes many domestic tasks like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. Many pointed to religious texts as upholding these inequalities. Others simply referred to traditional gender roles and norms. In the fourth week, we discussed how to start changing these norms.
In the third week, we discussed how positive masculinities can contribute to ending gender-based violence. Participants shared that positive masculinities can lead to building stronger families and men who advocate for, rather than physically harm, women. Men who display positive masculinities show they are aware of women as fellow humans deserving equal treatment, people with whom they can collaborate. Participants suggested that men need models, champions, and leaders so that others can follow in their footsteps.
In our final week, we discussed positive masculinity in the workplace. We discussed whether the emphasis on naming men’s or women’s gender in particular roles, for example, saying a “female DJ” or “female pilot,” is dignifying or degrading. We also discussed the role radio has in transforming masculinities. Suggestions included:
- Having men discuss issues or produce radio programs on topics affecting women;
- Ensuring women and men have the opportunity to occupy any role at the station;
- Campaigns on related topics, including positive fatherhood;
- Strategic efforts to portray women and men in non-stereotypical situations, including women reporting on difficult topics like conflict, protests, etc.;
- Helping men see themselves as a solution to gender-based violence;
- Discussing men as social beings and discussing their gender roles, the way women’s roles are discussed;
- Working at the community level with various educational, outreach, and mobilization strategies to influence social norms and create an enabling environment for men and boys to reject traditional stereotypes of manhood and the use of violence.
Photo: Adasa John listen to a radio while walking towards her field in Rudewa Mbuyuni location near Morogoro, Tanzania on May 27, 2014.