As Saudi Arabia moves forward with historic reforms in women's rights, a new radio station aims to start a conversation about feminism in the ultraconservative Gulf kingdom.
At least 11 women work at Nsawya FM, which began broadcasting three one-hour-long programs in the first week of August. The topics mostly involve women's rights, especially cases of violence against women.
While the concept of a feminist radio station in Saudi Arabia sounds incredible, there are a couple of behind-the-scenes facts that show how, despite recent progress, the country has a long way to go when it comes to women's rights.
There is no studio. The programs are broadcast through the live audio streaming website Mixlr, according to BBC, operating from an unknown country, BBC reports.
With the exception of two of the 11 women, all are Saudi nationals, though, not all of them live in Saudi Arabia.
And they all work anonymously.
A 27-year-old woman, who uses a pseudonym Ashtar, told BBC Arabic Saudi authorities could ban Twitter any moment but the radio station provides them an opportunity to preserve their thoughts on tape.
"I believe that women are better than men. If women were to hold power again, especially in certain sectors like the judiciary, this world would be a better place," she added.
However, it appears Saudi authorities are not willing to let that happen as Nsawya FM tweeted last week its Mixlr audio stream was no longer functional in Saudi Arabia.
"We believe we did not do anything wrong, but of course we are scared," Ashtar told Hack. "They blocked our link inside Saudi Arabia which means no one there can listen to us through the link & after that they tried to close our account on Twitter."
The crackdown isn't really surprising since, in recent months, just as Saudi Arabia was being credited with advancing women's rights, the Saudi government renewed its onslaught on women's rights activists.
At least 17 such individuals remain in prison since May, ironically the same month Saudi Arabia announced the lifting of its ban on women drivers.
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