This month, Ash Ngu at The Pudding analyzed the gender breakdown of airtime on This American Life, arguably the most iconic radio program and podcast on the airwaves. Despite employing a majority-female staff, she found that men are getting more airtime than women. Ngu breaks the numbers down by contributors, interviewees, and guests. With Ngu’s analysis and mind and in celebration of #InternationalPodcastDay, PLEN HQ has created a list of our favorite podcasts starring, produced, and/or directed by women. Whether you’re sitting in bed, on the subway, or walking your dog, put in your headphones, turn up the volume, and meet some of your new best friends.
Hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman and produced by Gina Delvac, CYG is “for long-distance besties everywhere.” Practically inventing the genre of feminist podcasting, Aminatou and Ann switch effortlessly from the racial politics of The Bachelor franchise to lamenting the latest Bachelorette’s poor life choices. (We agree – Rachel should have chosen Peter!!)
Ep. 111, Hillary. Yes, they interview that Hillary.
Ep. 96, See You on the Ballot. Guests Stephanie Schriock of EMILY’s List and Amanda Litman of Run for Something discuss women in politics, the evergreen favorite topic of the PLEN office.
This summer, Tavi Gevinson of Rookie Mag fame created the audio equivalent of our collective teen hearts. Smart, warm, but above all earnest, Tavi’s discussions with everyone from artists to activists will remind you that united, young women are unstoppable.
Episode Thirteen: The Good Kind of Magical Thinking. Roxane Gay is one of the most talented writers working today. Her heartfelt talk with Jenny Zhang on the release of her memoir, Hunger, explores ambition and vulnerability.
Episode Eleven: A Specific Sonic World. PLEN HQ makes no secret of our love for the Queen of the Buzzcut Season and The Writer in the Dark (for the uninitiated: beloved pop superstar, Lorde). This episode also features United Nations Special Advisor on Global Education, Ziauddin Yousafzai — also known as Malala’s father.
If you couldn’t tell from our other faves, we love podcasts that make us feel like we’re hanging out with friends who are slightly smarter, cooler, and funnier than us — in the best way possible, of course. Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are smarter, cooler, and funnier than us, and we could listen to them wax poetic on squirrels all day.
Episode 89: Sister Girl Bonds (with Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw). Feminist theory meets activism in this incredible episode with the woman who coined the term “intersectionality.”
Episode 85: The Same Stuff as Stars (with Amanda Nguyen). Amanda Nguyen is the founder and president of Rise, an organization that advocates for sexual assault survivor rights. I can’t beat what Amanda says around the 34:10 minute mark: “I studied both Government and Astrophysics. I think the questions that we get to answer are the same: What is my place in the universe, and what am I going to do about it?”
Megan Tan started this podcast after graduating from college… without having a plan. She tackles all of the stresses that we face post-grad: finding a job, making money, moving away from family, and everything in between.
Episode 7: What’s Your Worth? What to do when you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed: push your insecurities to the side, and know when to ask for help.
Episode 29: You Can’t Go Home Again. Perhaps one of the most difficult things about growing up is growing away. Getting a job, moving to a new place, and experiencing new things is exciting, but how do you navigate the changing and complicated relationships that used to be so easy?
Did we miss your favorite podcast? We’re always looking out for awesome women to read about, listen to, and learn about. Share your favorite podcast in the comments!
Samantha Kovacs is the Programs and Development Manager for PLEN. She helps plan the logistics of each seminar and works on fundraising and development. You can find her listening to podcasts while browsing the dollar section at Target.
Hayley Humiston is the Programs and Communications Manager for PLEN, where her main focus is to plan the logistics of each seminar. She is also responsible for marketing, communications, and social media outreach. She often listens to podcasts while knitting on her couch.