Are women limited only to ‘household’ themes on community radio?

Dr. Lourdes G. dela Torre, community education chair of Piniyalan Reporting Governance Project, says most women in community radio are given only roles that appear to be an extension of their roles at home, a challenge in the call for equality in the airwaves by the United Nations Educations, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in time for World Radio Day on February 13. With her is Fr. Oliver Verdejo, president of the Bukidnon chapter of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) Walter I. Balane

Dr. Lourdes G. dela Torre, community education chair of Piniyalan
Reporting Governance Project, says most women in community radio are
given only roles that appear to be an extension of their roles at
home, a challenge in the call for equality in the airwaves by the
United Nations Educations, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
(Unesco) in time for World Radio Day on February 13. With her is Fr.
Oliver Verdejo, president of the Bukidnon chapter of the Kapisanan ng
mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP)
Walter I. Balane

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/08 February) Are most women on community radio given roles that are only ‘extension’ of their roles in the households?

Dr. Lourdes G. Dela Torre, head of the committee on community education of the Piniyalan Reporting Governance Project, told the project’s radio program aired over DXDB that more women are now working in radio programs in the provinces but many of them were given programs with themes that appear to be extensions only of their roles at the household and family.

She said that most women with radio programs are not given responsibilities on hard development issues – only themes like household management, cooking, taking care of children, beauty tips, and entertainment, among others.

She said this is only a reinforcement of the discrimination on women in the workplace, including many radio stations.

Dela Torre shared her inputs today as the radio program focused on the United Nations’ Educational Scientific Cultural Organization’s (Unesco) declaration of February 13 as World Radio Day.

Unesco called on countries “to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.”

Irina Bokova, Unesco director general, in a message for the occasion, said radio still reaches more people than the internet or television.

“It is both a platform for global conversation and a forum to address local problems. It provides a voice to the voiceless, to the poor, to minorities, to women. It helps educate the illiterate and it saves lives during natural disasters,” she added.

Dela Torre stressed that the situation of women in radio stems from their status in society as a whole – historically limited to household realms.  It is men, she added, who ruled radio in the past and present; she said men ruled the public domain while women were limited to the households.

But she noted that Unesco’s call for equality in the airwaves is recognition of women’s power to have “a say” over radio. She said the Philippines is among countries in the world that passed many laws to protect women but it did not necessarily redound to less violations.

Rebecca Aquino, news anchor in Q106 Love Radio, however, noted that there are already women who have pursued careers in radio covering hard issues such as terrorism, peace process, among others.

Aquino, who has worked with the Martial Law time DXBB, the forerunner of present day DXDB, said “there are also women who go all out in coverage (of hard issues).”

“Women can do what men can do,” she said, noting, she will be among the resource persons on Sunday in the KBP Bukidnon Interaction, a weekly program of the Bukidnon Chapter of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).

Aquino added that radio stations should afford equal opportunities among men and women.

But she noted that one problem is that managers of radio stations are not yet gender sensitive.

“They should have gender sensitivity orientation,” she added.

Fr. Oliver Verdejo, president of KBP-Bukidnon chapter, said the KBP program, which is simulcast in most radio stations in the province, will also tackle the role played by women in the local broadcast industry. Verdejo said the episode will tackle how women broadcasters were treated and what threats are affecting them in the workplace.

Delia Lapar, anchor of Reyna sa Panimalay (Queen of the Home), a daily radio program on DXDB, says her homey topics such as housekeeping, cooking, beauty and health tips, and entertainment, are only entry points to connect to her women audience broader and harder topics such as access to water, livelihood, politics, and HIV/AIDS education. Walter I. Balane

Delia Lapar, anchor of Reyna sa Panimalay (Queen of the Home), a daily
radio program on DXDB, says her homey topics such as housekeeping,
cooking, beauty and health tips, are only entry
points to connect her audience to broader and harder topics such
as access to water, livelihood, politics, and Human immune deficiency Virus
/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) education.
Walter I. Balane

Delia Lapar, anchor of Reyna sa Panimalay (Queen of the Home) that airs daily on DXDB, said women’s voice on homey topics are also important.

“Health, child care, cooking …among other topics are also important development topics,” she added.

Lapar, a radio broadcaster since 1991, agreed that more women should be anchors, producers, and host of radio shows that tackle wider political and economic issues.

But she said homey topics are only entry points to broader and harder issues. She said it’s true she talks about what to cook for lunch and snacks, what are herbal medicines applicable to these kinds of ailment, among others.

“But I also talk about harder development issues that directly concern the women and their families,” she added.

She said her talk show covers gender and development issues, violence against women, livelihood, reproductive health, food safety and security, politics, business, and other issues.

Lapar said because of her work in a radio talk show, she has been invited to join fora and government monitoring of development issues such as access to potable water, Human immune deficiency Virus /Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) education campaign, among others.

Dela Torre admitted that the situation of women in radio is not fully considered in research.

She said there is a need to validate if indeed, the roles women in community radio are only extensions of the role they have in the household.

She added there is a need to know about the ratio of women staff members in radio stations, what are the themes their programs and involvement cover, if they are limited – why, what are threats against women in broadcast, among other things.

Dela Torre, doctorate degree holder in Philosophy and a dean of a community college cited that most educators are women.

“How come that in the realm of radio, the role of women is not as much tapped?” she added.

Women, Dela Torre added, should be given opportunity to reach the unreachable areas through radio, a potent force to educate beyond the four walls of the classroom.
(Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)