By Emtyaz al-Mograbi
Monday, October 31, 2011
NISAA FM has been broadcasting programs of special interest to Palestinian women from Ramallah for about a year. Selling ads to support the station is tough-going, as it can take several hours of persuasion to get male advertisers to buy time.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (WOMENSENEWS)--NISAA FM may be the call letters of the only public radio station dedicated to Palestinian women, but the station's manager is happy to attract male listeners and also employ them.
"Social change does not happen unless women and men work together," said Maysoun Odeh, whose station employs a staff of five women and three men. "We are a mature society. Both men and women deserve a chance to be free of the oppression we are facing today, so that we earn our deserved roles."
Odeh spoke with Women's eNews recently at the station, which began broadcasting in June 2010. She said an estimated 40 percent of the station's listeners are men, but the station's most sizzling broadcasts are focused on women.
Alaa Shatira, who hosts the radio show Women's Break, devotes a section of her program to issues that affect Palestinian women and has invited on-air experts on women's issues to help spread awareness of their rights.
Another popular program, Coffee Mazboot, discusses Palestinian women's formal and informal work in Israeli settlements and across the Green Line, which marks the boundaries between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
In an occupied land where men exert overwhelming media control, the station offers a unique forum for such subjects as polygamy, domestic violence, family and work matters, says Palestinian journalist and film producer Saad Aruri.
"Having a women's radio station in Palestine that touches on issues of concern to women across the Middle East is critical and very positive," he said. "So I hope it will continue to develop."
He added that NISAA FM plays an important role by advising women in the Arab world about their rights and providing an example of the Palestinian community that supports gender equality.
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