Baghdad radio station lends voice to Iraqi women
A new Baghdad radio station established by the United Nations Development Fund has been making waves across Iraq and the Middle East as one of the few radio stations dealing specifically with women's issues under the slogan "The Voice of Iraqi Women."
Radio Al Mahaba, which has been broadcasting since April from central Baghdad, airs programs dealing with marriage and divorce, physical abuse and dress codes, religious issues and Iraq's prospective constitution.
Its two hosts, one female one male, present all talk show issues from a woman's perspective. Along with such shows, the station plays a collection of Western style and Middle Eastern music, including such singers as Fairuz and Mariah Carey.
The radio station is thought to be an ideal way to reach potential audiences, as an estimated 24 percent of all Iraqi women are illiterate.
One producer of the station, 30 year old Ruwaida Kamal, told the New York Times, "We want to affirm women's rights" adding, "There are many groups that aren't taking women's rights seriously. Women are being marginalized."
Ali Abbas Hamoudi, Radio Al Mahaba's director, stated that "This is unique in the Middle East and all the Arab nations," "We're trying to help expose the voice of the Iraqi woman to the new officials."
The station broadcasts on 96 FM in central Baghdad.