The Global Challenges Research Fund has awarded FemmepowermentAfrique funding to pursue further research on the impact of radio broadcasts on perceptions of women's empowerment in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
Dr Emma Heywood observes a Radio Editorial Meeting, Studio Tamani, Mali (shared with permission)
This exciting new project builds on FemmepowermentAfrique’s existing research on radio and gender equality in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Its aim is to further contribute to improvements in perceptions and representations of women’s rights and empowerment by bringing together radio and social media platforms.
The research team will use natural language processing (NLP) – a form of artificial intelligence – for the large-scale qualitative and quantitative analysis of radio broadcasts through out the year 2020. At the same time, the research will conduct WhatsApp surveys for listener feedback, to explore the impact and reception of outputs from radio studios in the three countries.
The research begins in January 2020 and will ask the following questions:
How are women and women’s rights and empowerment represented in the discourse of the three strands of broadcasts and in the three countries?
How do journalists, media organisations, civil society organisations (CSOs), NGOs, and listeners perceive ‘empowerment’? How can it be defined within the context of the three countries?
To what extent can and does radio shape listeners’ understanding of and reaction to women’s rights and empowerment? And how does it do this?
Does the discourse in the radio broadcasts align with listener needs and requirements?
Using the secondary data analysis and user feedback to highlight best practice and areas for improvement, how can the radio provision generally, and regarding women’s empowerment particularly, be adapted to promote gender equality?
Dr Beatrice Ivey has joined the project as a Research Associate to support to the project in this next stage. She has a background in postcolonial feminist studies and francophone cultural studies and is delighted to be on the team!