Women Making (Sound) Waves

-flickr/AleBonvini


The West Bank just experienced its first economic upswing in years, but here’s another cause for hope: Palestine’s first all-women’s radio station launched last week. Nisaa FM—that’s “women” in Arabic—broadcasts a mix of news and entertainment from Ramallah in the West Bank for a few hours a day. The station’s first shows have featured stories about female unemployment in Europe, the digital prowess of Arab women, and a profile of the Speed Sisters, a Palestinian race car team. Although it hasn’t focused on Israeli-Palestinian relations yet, one of its aims is to inspire women living in a male-dominated, conflict zone.

“We suffer, as the rest of the women in the Arab world suffer, political Islam, which actually is putting more burden on the woman,” Wafa Abdel Rahman, a West Bank activist, told Voice of America. “We need a radio that brings out all these issues.”  The station’s founder and manager, Maysoun Odeh, told EuroMideastNews that she hopes men will also listen in. “Without men, we cannot do anything in this society, as is well known,” she said.

If Odeh’s past jobs are any indication, there’s reason to believe she can, in fact, draw a male audience to the female-led program. She once managed 93.6 RAM FM, a short-lived but popular English-language station that attracted large numbers of Israeli and Palestinian listeners. (The show’s final 2008 broadcast ended with John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”) There’s also good reason to believe that radio could succeed where other organizing efforts have floundered: Media experts have noted radio’s ability to reach far-flung, less-literate populations, like the inroads that radio PSAs have made against female genital mutilation in Ethiopian villages, or the children’s radio project in Senegal. Odeh certainly thinks it’s possible. She said Nisaa FM’s success stories, which range from international to local, will convince Palestinian women “that they can do something and they can achieve something regardless of the situation.”

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate