August 13, 2019
From its origins, Radio Muk’ul Lum of Oxchuc, Chiapas, Mexico, was intended to be a community radio station governed under the principle of equity among its members. This principle has allowed for the active participation of several women radio journalists. Over time, women’s participation has increased thanks to an open call and personal invitation made by the radio station. Five women volunteers began to have a presence at the radio. Through an internal training process, they developed their own capabilities, delving into issues related to Tzeltal community life and were involved in decision-making processes as serving on the secretariat.
Throughout this community journalism project, the young journalists have been participating both in the training modules and in the process and preparation of materials. One of the most significant results has been the creation of radio scripts and programs by the women such as spots on the celebration of International Women's Day, both in Spanish and in Tzeltal.
Now programs such as: “Pearls of Great Value” are transmitted, discussing topics on community health, gender violence, women's rights and treatment with dignity, as well as sexual health for adolescents. Similarly, "Planet Alert" is a program that addresses the care of the environment, recycling, natural disasters, and climate change. Another program, “Cupid's Hour,” addresses the issue of dating and falling in love, reflecting on the attitude and rights of young people. This program is specifically aimed at young people, providing them with a space to discuss their romantic relationships. The program is accompanied by musical themes. Finally, "Positive Vibes" is a program aimed at youth with low self-esteem, presenting reggae music, and encouraging and motivating them to find the meaning in their lives.
Involving women has been fundamental for the development of the radio station. One of the participants, Mariola Santiz López, gives the following testimony: “My participation in this project has been pleasant, there has been no mishap with the partners, although most are men. Women are still few, perhaps because they are afraid to do new things or because the family does not give them permission. However, I think that little by little they will be more and more integrated into the project. As for the type of participation, as women we have had the opportunity to create programs aimed especially at the female audience, created from our way of seeing life, from our own ways of thinking. In these programs, we try to focus on women's rights, on the freedom we have as people and the things we can do beyond being locked in the home, aspiring to something more than that. The message is also aimed at men because we are in a constant coexistence. I want to mention that a partner, Rosalba, has already been in charge of coordinating this project. We believe that this has also been a great step for us.”
The efforts made by Radio Muk’ul Lum have been supported by the Boca de Polen Network of Communicators, who facilitated the training modules related to community journalism and who have contributed to promoting the participation of women in community radio stations. These training processes have helped Radio Muk’ul Lum consider the importance of various radio formats for our daily activities. As radio journalists they have helped us generate new content.
The involvement of women in community journalism at Radio Muk'ul Lum has strengthened our research capabilities and increased access to information. The example of Rosalba, who was elected to the position of coordinator of the group of communicators, is an example for other community radio stations that do not yet have the initiative to promote the participation of women, to begin to do so.