Top Ten Female-led Podcasts, Refreshed
A little over three years ago, I wrote a blog post about my ten favorite female-led podcasts at the time. However, a lot of those podcasts have stopped producing new episodes or have gotten a little stale, so I thought I’d offer a fresh reboot for 2020. If you want to make sure you hear women’s voices in 2020, here are some great sources.
Exponent’s Religious Feminism Podcast. If you’re not already subscribed to this one, you’re going to want to remedy that immediately. Blogger and host April Young Bennett does a fabulous job of interviewing feminist women of different faiths and exploring how their journeys within religion and feminism have informed their lives, and how their journeys are similar (or not) to those within Mormonism. I always leave these episodes feeling informed, edified, and less lonely in this dark and dreary patriarchal world. You can find the blog posts accompanying the episodes here, or click here to find them on Apple Podcasts.
When Feminists Rule the World. This podcast is produced by the Nobel Women’s Initiative and is hosted by Martha Chaves, who is a Nicaraguan-born comedian and feminist who interviews women from all over the world in how they’re working to make the world a better place. Each episode takes the premise of “when feminists rule the world…” and provides an answer, like “there will be no wall” and “there will be peace in the Middle East.” I suggest starting this one from the beginning and listening the whole way through – the episodes build on each other very so slightly, and they are hilarious and inspiring. It’s also a limited run – as far as I know, the episode on peace in the Middle East is the last of the series, but they’re a must-listen for any feminist and/or activist who wants to understand advocating for women around the world. Click here to find them on Apple Podcasts, and click here to find out more about the Nobel Women’s Initiative.
Unladylike is a podcast that is hosted by Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin, who used to host Stuff Mom Never Told You (which I recommended in my previous podcast blog post). They have since moved to host the much more intersectionally-minded Unladylike podcast, where they combine their research with guest hosts to talk about topics like accessibility, climate change, women’s sexual health, equal pay, and a whole lot more. They take topics that are in the news, and provide a feminist lens to critique what we accept as “normal” and to question the foundations of how patriarchy has influenced the way the world works. Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here to find their site.
Hysteria. If you want a podcast that mixes politics, pop culture, and feminism, the women at Hysteria have you covered. Each weekly episode starts with a chat between host Erin Ryan and former Obama Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco about the political happenings of the prior week, after which Erin has a deeper panel discussion with a rotating cast of hosts on a relevant topic and how it affects women (examples include why men don’t see films predominantly about women, beauty pageants, virginity as a construct, and the pressure to always be happy). Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here for the website, including extra resources for each episode.
Unf*ck Your Brain. This is a podcast geared toward “high-achieving feminist women who struggle with anxiety, self-doubt, and impostor syndrome.” It is done from a life-coaching perspective (led by certified master coach Kara Loewentheil) of identifying thinking errors and assumptions and replacing them with better/more accurate assumptions. This can then help you achieve desired outcomes with better confidence and assertiveness. And, unlike a lot of self-help or “rah rah women empowerment” books, this is much less “dream it and you’ll make it” and much more nitty-gritty into how patriarchy has informed how we think and feel about things. This one can feel repetitive to me, but I think that might be part of the point, and I think it’s helped me have a better handle on tackling my own insecurities and issues. Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here to find Kara’s site with podcast episodes and other resources.
Sold in America. This is an eight-episode limited series into the world of human trafficking and prostitution in America. It is hosted by Noor Tagouri, who is a Libyan-American journalist whose personal evolution on sex work is documented within the podcast series, and it explores the complexities of sex work and the women (and men) involved in it. Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here to find the website.
Caliphate. This is another limited-series podcast hosted by Rukmini Callimachi which documents her reporting on the ISIS caliphate. It talks about the rise of ISIS, interviews former participants within the ISIS fighters, and discovers a lot about the structure and financing of ISIS. It’s a fascinating look into the rise and fall of the caliphate, and sheds a ton of light onto modern day religious extremism. Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here to find the NYTimes site for it. As a side note, a great book to read to accompany this podcast is “Guest House for Young Widows” by Azadeh Moaveni, which follows 13 women that join the caliphate, their motivations for doing so, and how their lives are affected by the violence surrounding it.
Believed is a production from Michigan public radio about the team of women who won a conviction against Larry Nasser, a serial sexual predator who abused hundreds of women and girls over two decades, including many globally-acclaimed gymnasts. This one is told from the perspective of the girls, and needs a massive trigger warning for sexual violence and trauma, but is ultimately a story of the women’s strength, perseverance, and tenacity. Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here for more info.
This Land is a podcast about Sharp v. Murphy, which is a case about Native American land rights that is currently sitting before the US Supreme Court. Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, a citizen of the Cherokee nation, it delves into the history of colonialist land grabs throughout US history, broken treaties, and the very real threat of tribal sovereignty being even further eroded depending on the outcome of this case. It’s a fascinating look into how history informs the present, and how this case and others will affect tribal people’s relationship with the US government for generations to come. The podcast is currently on pause, but I believe it will be releasing new episodes when it is being re-argued by the Supreme Court. Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here for more info and resources.
The Dream. Jane Marie hosts this podcast all about multi-level marketing and the polarizing discussion about whether they’re money-making ventures or total scams. She goes inside companies like Amway, LulaRoe, Arbonne, and the other various accessories or health supplements that at least one of your friends is selling on Facebook. Given that there seems to be a new MLM popping up along I-15 in Utah every week, this is a fascinating look into the culture surrounding MLMs, religion, women’s issues, and a whole lot more. The second season, which is ongoing, is specifically looking into the dietary supplements and vitamin industry, and is equally fascinating. Click here to find episodes on Apple Podcasts, and click here to read an interview with Jane Marie on Slate.
And, as a bonus, here are three podcasts that are hosted by both a man and a woman, but are worth including on this list just because of the relevance and quality of their content:
Mormon Land, co-hosted by Peggy Fletcher Stack and David Noyce, is all about “the contours and complexities of the latest Mormon news” (click here to find it on Apple Podcasts, and here to find the site).
Ear Hustle, co-hosted by Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor, is all about the life inside (and outside) of San Quentin prison, told by people who are incarcerated inside and those who have been released (click here to find it on Apple Podcasts, and here for the website).
What other amazing female-led podcasts are you listening to? Which ones deserve to be in a top ten list?