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UK Research and Innovations (2019)

Radio and Women’s Empowerment in the Sahel

Sahel Radio Women

Titre : Radio and Women’s Empowerment in the Sahel

Pays/Région : Sahel ( Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso)

Durée : nov. 19 - mars 22

Référence projet : ES/T009942/1
Catégorie : Research Grant

Résumé partiel
The project builds on existing research using data resources held by NGOs to produce high-quality, impactful research into 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 in these three DAC-listed countries in the Sahel by developing an innovative methodological approach to secondary data research and by bringing together traditional media (radio) and social media platforms. Using natural language processing (NLP) - a form of artificial intelligence - for the large-scale qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data, and WhatsApp surveys for listener feedback, the project examines NGO secondary data (radio output ; concept notes ; related documents ; statistics ; theories of change, and legal texts) from radio stations in the three countries. It investigates and compares perceptions of women’s rights and empowerment, how they are shaped and portrayed by radio, and how they impact understandings of, and attitudes towards women and gender equality in the countries in order to give recommendations, impacting on policy and practices, which will promote gender equality and give women a greater voice in society.

Gender inequality is extensive in the three countries and women have always been the first victims of under-development. There are high child marriage rates, low literacy rates, especially amongst girls, polygamy is common and violence against women is rife, particularly in conflict-affected zones. Radio is the main source of information. To be effective and to reduce obstacles to women’s voices being taken into account and ensure the evolution of gender-related problems, radio needs to broadcast relevant subjects in an accessible manner, and must target not only a female audience, but the whole population. Programming must be designed with the participation of listeners and experts.

The project uses NLP to transcribe and initially code the secondary data, allowing large quantities of information to be analysed. Listeners are questioned interactively on the programme content and their perceptions of women’s rights and empowerment throughout the project using WhatsApp surveys. These enable significant numbers of individuals to be consulted over large areas, some being conflict-affected and not reachable by researchers, and at low cost, not achievable through individual or group interviews. Such surveys also allow for questions and responses as voice messages promoting greater inclusivity amongst populations with low literacy rates. Civil society organisations (CSOs), media experts and journalists are consulted and involved in the process at knowledge exchange workshops during the project.

Lead Research Organisation : University of Sheffield

Financement : Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Budget  : £161 484

UK Research and Innovations

Page publiée le 9 septembre 2022