Her Voice, Her Rights: media to empower women in Afghanistan

Women and girls in Afghanistan are among the most marginalised and vulnerable in the world. The country is ranked 152 out of 155 on the 2015 United Nations Gender Inequality Index. Only a third of girls attend school and fewer than a quarter of Afghan women are able to read and write.

Although there have been gains in women’s rights in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, many factors have curbed the impact of efforts. Low awareness of support services for women, deeply ingrained cultural norms, poor education and economic empowerment all play a part in limiting representation and participation in society for women and girls. 

Changing the story

BBC Media Action is training and mentoring local FM radio stations across the country to produce and broadcast a series of radio programmes. Seeking to challenge harmful cultural norms that have traditionally led to the marginalisation of women and girls, the radio programmes aim to provide women with a public platform to tell their own story and showcase their contribution to society. 

We're also working with an Afghan civil society network - the Empowerment Centre for Women (ECW) - to convene community listener groups and media exchanges with a network of local civil society organisations to gather feedback on the radio programming. These groups help generate further ideas for content and stimulate community discussion about the issues raised in the episodes.

To further support the Her Voice Her Rights project, popular radio drama ‘New Home, New Life’ introduced a new female character to inspire women. Produced by the Afghan Education Production Organisation (AEPO), the supporting storylines aim to encourage listeners to identify with the potential for women and girls. Over the 20 years it has been broadcasting on the BBC Afghan Service, the drama has built loyal listeners. In 2015 our research showed that 37% of the audience were women. 

 

Project information
Project name Her Voice Her Rights
Funder Global Affairs Canada
Dates 2017-2020
Themes Women’s rights and empowerment
Outputs Training and mentoring for local Afghan media partners
Community listener groups
Broadcast partners BBC Afghan Service, Local FM radio partners
Partners Empowerment Centre for Women (ECW)
Afghan Education Production Organisation (AEPO)