Emma Heywood Radio Journalism and Women’s Empowerment in Niger. Journalism Studies. (2020) ahead of print
The significance of radio as a provider of essential news and information in conflict-affected and fragile countries cannot be underestimated nor can its role in contributing to shifts in critical consciousness, changes in behaviour, and raising awareness amongst marginalised groups. This is particularly the case regarding the influence of radio on women’s empowerment. In Niger, women suffer from widespread gender inequality with a 75% child marriage rate, low literacy rates, polygamy and gender-based violence. The most important source of information women have is radio. This article illustrates radio’s impact on women’s rights and empowerment in the world’s poorest country. It draws on extensive fieldwork conducted in 2018–19 (workshops, semi-structured interviews and focus groups) and in-depth content analyses of women-related radio output broadcast by Studio Kalangou, a radio studio in Niger, set up in 2016 by the Swiss-based media development agency, Fondation Hirondelle. The article demonstrates how increasing and developing the targeting of radio programmes to include more women-related themes and improving the content will contribute to empowering women politically, economically and within society.