Women Journalists in Proximity Radios

By Viviane Schönbächler


Since the media liberalization wave in Sub-Saharan Africa in 1990s, locally rooted radio stations have been considered to serve as important tools for democratization, development and peace. However, two major challenges in these approaches remain: firstly, radio stations are often considered as simple instruments to disseminate messages only, and to a lesser extent considered as key actors within their community. Secondly, radio still fails to take women fully into account. Globally and locally, radios continue to mis- and underrepresent women in their content, management and production processes.


This doctoral research project aims to examine the complex interrelations between gender, radio and conflict resolution. The 

working research question therefore states: How and why do women journalists contribute to conflict resolution processes?


The main objectives of the research are:

  • To examine the gendered relationships between actors in radio and conflict resolution.
  • To understand the roles of journalists within their community that contribute to peace.
  • To illuminate how women’s participation may strengthen or challenge these roles.

Inspired by Peace Studies, Media Studies and Gender Studies, the research will be based on qualitative field research in Burkina Faso using in-depth interviews, radio content analysis and audio diaries to understand the role of radio in peace formation and conflict transformation from a feminist perspective. Data analysis is based on a multi-level intersectional framework to allow for a deep understanding of complex dynamics between individual experiences and soci(et)al norms and structures.


The study might contribute to the emerging efforts of media associations in the country to address the gender inequalities within the media and may strengthen lobbying on a national and regional level. The study may also serve development actors in the media sector to reflect on their intervention strategies. 


Supervisor: Prof Dr Barbara Thomaß, Ruhr University Bochum and Prof Dr Jens Loenhoff, University Duisburg-Essen

Project partner: EIRENE


Contact: viviane.schoenbaechler@rub.de


Teaser icon: Minh Do