Podcasts: is it time for #listentowomen2015 ?

15 February 2015

This post is being updated with more links/corrections on an ongoing basis! To see older versions, check the Github repo

A few weeks ago, I asked online via Twitter, and offline to friends of mine - what’s your favourite podcast?

I got these responses:

I also looked at some ‘charts’ and recommendations - like this “7 Podcasts that aren’t Serial”, and the top iTunes podcasts in the UK.

I started listening to a few of the recommended shows, but before I could get on to really enjoying the content of the podcasts themselves, something else hit me.

What do you notice about this list?

Out of the 13 I’ve listed above (which were sourced as randomly as asking my Twitter followers and friends can be) - 9 are hosted or co-hosted by men. Only four - n00bcore hosted by the lovely Fiona, Invisibilia, Serial and The Digital Human, are hosted by women.

Hmm. But maybe the skewed gender balance is just down to me and my contacts: what about the ones being recommended on bigger platforms?

Here’s a list from Slate of the 25 best podcasts ever (!)written in December 2014. Out of the 25 there, 18 are hosted exclusively by a man or men, 3 are co-hosted by a woman and a man, and just 1 exclusively by a woman/women. (I excluded 3 from that list, as they didn’t seem to have clear regular hosts).

Let’s do another one, just to test. How about ‘10 lesser-known podcasts’ as recommended by the Guardian?

7 of the 10 are produced by men/a man, 1 is co-hosted between a man and a woman, and just 1 - The Broad Experience, which is actually explicitly about “women, the workplace and success” is hosted by a woman. (Again, I left 1 out of this count for lack of a clear ‘host’).

I’m not going to go on counting lists, but now, my question has become: where are all the women in podcasting?

Last year I set myself a target of only reading books by women - and it was a great experience, for many reasons. So this year, I’ve decided, will be the year of listening to women. They must be out there - and I’m determined to find them. (And maybe even start contributing to the field myself…watch this space!)

Given that I’ve got lots of great podcast recommendations, but actually only 5 by women - recommendations would be really welcome - I’ll be using #listentowomen2015 to post the ones I find on Twitter, so please do join me! And a big thanks to everyone who populated this original list, too, I really appreciate it!


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