The first radio station devoted to Palestinian women launched yesterday to entertain, inform, inspire and empower Palestinian women.  This is a wonderful and exciting development in current events from a region where women do not always get such good press! 

NISAA (Women) 96 FM broadcasts music, call-in shows with experts, and programming focused on social issues in Arabic.  NISAA will also utilize various forms of social media such as blogs and Facebook to build a bridge for Palestinian women and men, separated by walls, checkpoints, and political barriers, to connect and contribute to a common conversation about entertainment, education and social activism.  Both men and women run the for-profit, non-political station and aim to capture a broad demographic “in order to influence them for the benefit of women.”  Rabiha Diab, women’s affairs minister, stated that the station will shed light on important social issues such as violence against women. 

Entrepreneurs launched Radio NISAA FM aided by the Smiling Children foundation, a group based out of Switzerland and the UK that aids projects to empower women and children.  Such a radio station won’t change many of the obstacles that these women face,   but it certainly promotes cooperation and understanding – both of which  are badly needed to enhance any civil society.  NISAA could be an important contributor to a more positive social and political landscape for Palestinian women.  At their launch, I wish them the best in their efforts.