World Radio Day: A Call to Amplify the Voice of Women to Ensure Gender Equality

“The airwaves have frequently lagged behind when it comes to gender equality. Not nearly enough women's voices are heard – either in front or behind the microphone,” Prof. Luk Rukingama, UNESCO Regional Director for Souther Africa and Representative to Zimbabwe has said.

“The United Nations is calling to harness the enduring power of radio to promote gender equality and women's empowerment and to amplify the voice of women over the air waves”, Prof Rukingama said when reading the UN Secretary General’s message at World Radio Day.

With over 300 participants flanked by women broadcasters, the World Radio Day event was held on 13 February 2014 in Harare.

World Radio Day was dedicated by the UN General Assembly to celebrate radio as a medium, to improve international cooperation between broadcasters, and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality using the platform of airwaves. With the ability to reach up to 95 per cent of the world's population, radio remains the most popular mass medium.

“Women should not only be given the space as radio presenters but should be given the opportunity to participate in all spheres of decision making to influence opinion”, said Honorable Supa Mandiwanzira, Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.

Noting that the Government’s readiness to license radio channels in 25 regional urban centers and the ongoing efforts to migrate to digital broadcasting will provide Zimbabwe with the capacity to open 40 TV channels, the Deputy Minister highlighted the need, to avail more opportunities for many women to participate in the broadcasting industry, saying that “the Government will ensure training of more women and the welfare of all journalists.”

“Without the voices of more than half the world's population, how can we understand the whole story?” Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, said in her message on World Radio Day , which was also read by Pof. Luk Rukingama at the event.

As part of the commemoration, the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services requested all broadcasting stations in the country to promote the voice of women and to dedicate messages on the role of women within broadcast organizations.