Updated: Nov 18, 2021
The following was written for the Captivate Insider, which is a newsletter so I am sharing it here for others to read too.
Have you noticed that women are underrepresented in the podcast world?
As an isolated mother of two small children, I went looking for a podcast about foreign women living in Japan, particularly rural Japan, four years ago. Unsurprisingly, I found zero podcasts. This started me on my journey to create my own podcast to meet that need of wanting to hear from women like me. That podcast now has over 100 episodes and a community of women both here in Japan and around the world who listen in to hear from people just like them, doing their best to make their life work in a tricky country like Japan.
It’s a pretty niche podcast. But people from all over the world listen. People who have lived in Japan and returned home, people who wish they could live in Japan but can’t move here just now.
Why are women so underrepresented in podcasting?
In the last year I have helped numerous women to start their own podcasts and I would love to share some of the learnings from this experience that will hopefully inspire others to go out and bring more women into the podcasting world.
Nobody will listen to what I have to say
This is the number one thing I hear from women thinking about starting a podcast. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I know firsthand having sat in a tiny dark closet with my phone and recorded my first three episodes, people listened to that! In fact they even loved it because finally someone was talking to them about things they cared about.
They have comparisonitis
We all do this. Compare our start point with someone we admire who is years ahead of us in their journey. To get over this, I always encourage women who want to start podcasting to make it a fun experiment and just commit to one season of 10 episodes. This often gives them the permission to start and the momentum to keep going.
But I’m not a tech person
I often get the tech questions from potential podcasters: What mic do I need? Do you edit? For many women who are already operating at 120% in their careers, business as well as private lives, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made to start a podcast and by decision number seven or eight, they are drained. The good news is that if you are able to shop online, you are also able to learn the tech that can get you started in podcasting. Increasingly there are now more and more approachable podcast agencies and women like myself who can help with this part. Never podcast alone is one of my favorite mottos.
So why is it so important for women to be podcasting?
If you identify as a woman yourself, then you will know what kind of busy lives we lead. We don’t often get a chance to sit and watch a YouTube video, or any video for that matter. But podcasting is actually designed for us. We can listen as we do all the things that need to be done but don’t need our full attention whilst being a kind of fly on the wall listening in to two friends talking.
This is exactly why more women should be podcasting. It’s the perfect medium to reach other women. And if you have ever moved away from your hometown, moved countries, you will know about isolation and feeling alone. Podcasting is a low key way that people all over the world feel less alone. They feel like they are part of the show and that is powerful.
Now that my podcast has been going for more than four years, the thing that keeps me going is getting those messages from listeners saying things like:
They listened to what I said, tried it and it was great (Hooray, someone listened to something I said!).
They feel less alone in their part of the world - often a small town in rural Japan where they never see another foreign person and are enjoying their life in Japan more.
Through hearing about other women doing things with the same circumstances as them, they feel inspired to try something new, even though they live in a rural town in Japan.
Go niche. Go super niche.
One of the most surprising things about podcasts is just how niche you can go and it will find an audience. A great example of this is an award winning podcast that focuses on women who are English speaking lawyers in Japan - Lawyer on Air. That is a tiny niche. But it’s been a huge hit with those women lawyers. The feedback: Finally someone is making a show that is for me and about people I’ve seen around the legal world here but could never approach. From this podcast a powerful network of women is springing up that didn’t exist before. The podcast is getting noticed not only in Japan, but by lawyers in other countries and men are listening too.
But I already have a podcast!
There are so many women who have discounted themselves as being a podcaster. You can be the catalyst that helps someone who has been thinking about podcasting actually become a podcaster. I encourage you to tap someone on the shoulder. Tell them they would make a great podcast host. It might be just what they needed to get started.
More about Jayne:
Jayne Nakata is a New Zealander and long-term resident of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. She is an avid fan of Captivate, the host of the award winning show Transformations with Jayne Podcast and helps other women to find their voice and launch their own podcasts with her PodLaunch with Jayne program and the PodLaunch Family Network.