Ever since Farida Rahim Aziz first established her radio station in 2013 in Jowzjan, Afghanistan, she has never looked back – even though the years that followed were burdened with hardship and challenges. “In 2016, the Taliban threatened me and told me to stop broadcasting radio programs about women’s right issues, such as violence against women. I was forced to wear a burqa for my own safety and all our female employees left. But I did not give up.” Farida had to relocate the station multiple times, but under her leadership, Radio Saraish continues, producing content and broadcasting to audiences in Jowzjan and Sar-e-Pul. Radio Saraish is one of the 17 women-led radio stations of the Salam Watandar Radio Network, supported by Internews’ Rasana Program. These stations have produced and broadcast more than 400 radio reports and feature stories, covering topics that relate to women in local communities. “The support of the Rasana program was very important, as it gave us an opportunity to recruit a female journalist and build her capacity to reflect the voices of women in our community. The reports we have produced under Rasana so far have had tangible impact on our society and brought change in the minds of people, as they all focus on women’s issues,” said Farida. “For example, when we broadcast a report on women drivers and the absence of driving schools for women in Jowzjan, it created great interest. Some weeks later a driver training course was conducted for women from which 30 passed out successfully – the first female drivers of Jowzjan!” “These are the achievements that motivate me to keep running the radio station even though we often face difficult times due to security issues or financial problems. In the meantime, I will continue to work as a leader of women in the media and encourage other Afghan women to do the same.” • • • Internews’ Rasana project in Afghanistan is supported by USAID. (Banner photo: Farida Rahim Azizi, Director of Radio Saraish in Jowzjan Province, Afghanistan. Credit: Internews)
Towards a Gender Transformative Organization
Internews believes that access to information is a root solution to many of the world’s problems. It enables women and men to participate in civic discourse, stand up for their rights, influence policy and social norms, and hold governments to account.
When women's voices are heard, when women produce the news, the information we all consume improves.
We believe that the empowerment of women and girls is a prerequisite for equal rights for all. But all over the world, women and girls’ voices are often ignored or invisible in the media, with far less content featuring their voices and views – just 10% of all news stories globally focus on women or girls, and roughly 80% of the “experts” interviewed by the news media are men. Women are also dramatically underrepresented in the industry itself. Globally, only 27% of the top management jobs in the media sector are occupied by women. Among reporters, it’s only 36%. And women and girls experience more intense online harassment, including sexual harassment.
Internews launched an ambitious 5-year Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment Strategy in 2018. This strategy shapes the way we plan, design, implement, monitor and learn from our work. It challenges discriminatory gender norms, and strives to advance equality across all gender identities.
The strategy is designed to:
- Strengthen the collective effort of Internews staff to ensure that everyone benefits equally from Internews’ and our partners’ work;
- Create a workplace environment in which all people can work together in an equitable and respectful way and in which women’s leadership is encouraged and supported;
- Ensure safe access to information for women, girls and marginalized groups in some of the world’s most challenging places;
- Advance women’s leadership in the media, information and communications technology fields;
- Improve the information we all consume by promoting more stories produced by, for and about women and girls; and
- Involve men as active participants and help men challenge gender inequality, discriminatory gender norms and stereotypical gender roles.