Building peace in the minds of men and women

On air with rural women



Explore the exhibition

Women in radio

About the project



Women are twice as likely as men to be illiterate, and rural women are especially at risk. Globally, only 39% of rural girls attend secondary school, and they often suffer from lower levels of civic integration and access to information, as well as exclusion from decision-making circles. These conditions can create a cycle that compromises their ability to participate in public life and raise their concerns in democratic debate.


The inclusion of women's voices and gender-related issues in the media has the power to promote women’s empowerment by breaking the circle of inequality and dependence.


On the 8th of March, for International Women's Day 2018, UNESCO's Communication and Information Sector presented "On Air with Rural Women", an exhibition built around radio broadcasts gathered from local stations in 10 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. The exhibition was displayed in Salle Miró at UNESCO Headquarters until the 16th of March. On the 5th and 6th of June, the exhibition was also displayed at the 2018 European Development Days in Brussels, alongside other leaders in development and gender.


The installations were presented in New York at UN Headquarters from the 11th to the 22nd of March 2019 during the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women. For the 13th and 14th June 2019, the exhibition was shown once more at the École Supérieure de Journalisme in Paris for the 25th annual meeting of the National Confederation of Local Radio (CNRA).


Watch Annika Markovic, the Swedish Ambassador to UNESCO and the OECD, and Mirta Lourenço, UNESCO Chief of Section for Media Development and Society, as they discuss the importance of this exhibition below.



Through audio, video and creative installations, the exhibition showcases how the inclusion of women's voices in radio can contribute to progress on gender issues in some of the most isolated African communities.


Listen to the testimonies of Catherine, a radio manager from a station dedicated to women, Theresia, a midwife who founded her own radio to help the community, and Busisiwe, a young radio host from an historical South African community radio station. Discover how gender is addressed on air in Rwanda, how singledom is perceived in Kenya and how Zambia is dealing with youth sexuality, all through authentic radio programmes from local stations.


All materials featured in the exhibition have been collected through UNESCO’s "Empowering Local Radio with ICTs" project, supported by Sweden, which aims to build the capacity of local radio to provide marginalized populations, particularly in remote and poor areas, with reliable and quality access to information on topics that affect their lives.


Click on the image below to get access to the exhibition's brochure and discover its content.

Cover English brochure



Browse the project's SoundCloud account to listen to the presentations of the radio stations, as well as some of the broadcasts they've uploaded.





Discover how, in Burundi, Radio Ijwi ry'Umukenyezi ("Voice of Women") is pushing back sexist stereotypes in its community and encouraging women to become active and independent through its broadcasts dedicated to women empowerement.





For more information about the exhibition or the project, please contact Léa Nacache (l.nacache(at)



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