The Women's Hands and Voices project is a program designed to support and enable the improved representation and increased participation of a diversity of women at campus and community radio stations across Canada.
The specific aims of the project are to identify priorities to acheive gender equality within the organization and at member stations of the NCRA/ANREC, and to enhance the capability of campus and community radio stations to address gender equality in their programming.
The overall goal is to encourage women to be involved in various capacities at campus and community stations, with the understanding that more empowered women at individual stations can result in broader changes on an organizational level and within the radio broadcasting and regulatory industry as a whole. As well, more gender-balanced news and music programming contributes to a radio environment free of stereotyping and misrepresentation.
The project included a nation-wide survey and report on the current status of women, along with a gender toolkit to facilitate more gender-balanced news and music programming.
The report provides recommendations and mechanisms to improve the participation of women in campus and community radio at the local and national level. The toolkit recognizes that campus and community radio stations are often the only way to fairly represent issues that relate mainly to women or marginalized women that are not covered elsewhere, and suggests how to bring a "gender lens" to programming production. Both documents are linked to creating a greater role for women in the radio sector on a policy-development and industry level, and a broadcast environment free of stereotyping and misrepresentation.
Campus and community radio stations are often the only way to gain meaningful media experience, which can lead to future communications-related jobs and careers. A greater number of women programmers and volunteers can lead to more women being employed in media-related jobs in campus and community radio and in other media outlets. This in turn can favourably influence the portrayal and presentation of women from diverse backgrounds and other marginalized groups in the media, and influence the development of future media- and radio-related federal policy, such as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission policies around the portrayal of women in the media.