A new feminist radio show has been launched on Nottingham University Radio by a student who wants to give women the chance to reclaim their voices.
The show is called The Nineteen Percent – referring to the fact 19% of people would use the word ‘feminist’ as an insult.
Student Anya Lawrence, 20, wants to change people’s perceptions of feminism and remind people that feminism and man hating are not the same thing.
Nottingham Uni student Anya Lawrence in the radio studio
She told HuffPost UK: “I genuinely believe that most people want gender equality but don’t want to label themselves as a feminist because of misconstrued connotations, or that they see feminism as irrelevant.
“If women are scared to promote and advocate for their own rights, men will be too.
“Being a feminist is about empowerment and equality and I’m so proud to be one.”
Nottingham University had a feminist themed radio show two years ago but Lawrence wanted to do something different and go further.
Anya wants to remind people that feminism is about equality
Lawrence explained: “The Nineteen Percent is a platform for people to tell their real stories and experiences on topics which come under the umbrella of feminism.
“By hearing those stories, I hope that people find they identify with different elements of each of them in small ways and in big ways; they’re individual, personal stories but they’re also shared experiences.
“It’s important to listen to these experiences because so often they’re simply not talked about or swept under the carpet because ‘that’s how it’s always been’.
“Just because it’s always been that way, doesn’t make it right.”
She believes that there is a problem in the way society views and values women, and we need to challenge it.
“When a certain way of behaving and thinking has been ingrained in both men and women as the norm, it can be hard to imagine those patterns changing or even why there is a need to change them at all,” Lawrence said.
“It is important for women to reclaim their own body, voice and space. Women don’t exist to be catcalled at or to be harassed and groped.
“Women are not objects and behavior which perpetuates that needs to be called out by both women and men – a man who might brush off complaints about misogyny from a woman might not if it’s something another man thinks is wrong.”
The series opens with, ‘body contact’, as a topic, but it’s one that came about by mere chance.
Lawrence explained: “It’s a topic that so many people can relate to. We didn’t set out to record stories on body contact specifically but it’s a topic that so many people had a story about.”
The National Union of Students (NUS) revealed that 26% of students and 35% of female students have suffered unwelcome sexual advances. Another study found that 68% of students had been subject to verbal or physical sexual harassment.
Feedback for the show has been overwhelmingly positive which is encouraging for Lawrence as she continues with the series.
She added: “The comment which has stuck with me most was a message I received from a friend who said that he was looking forward to ‘hopefully changing the way I see the world and myself because of it’
“I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more than that and I’m so excited to see where we can take the podcast next.”
In the next episode, coming out on Monday 14 December, Lawrence will be discussing the theme of ‘labels’ and will be having a discussion with an anti-feminist and a feminist about what those labels have meant for them.