March 8 is International Women’s Day, and, this year, its main thrust is about creating a balanced world: creating awareness against bias, promoting equality, and celebrating their achievements. Women have indeed come a long way but the road ahead is still long. Many of them have a lot to say, and sitting up and paying attention to their message might be a step closer to that balanced world. One way to hear what they have to say is through podcasts created and hosted by women. While the primary target audience is probably women, too, the topics covered and the knowledge gained can appeal to just about anyone. Aren't guys always interested to know what women really want? Here are some of our favorites.
Award-winning journalists Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin as well as writer and science reporter Lulu Miller bring together psychology and science to help us understand why we do the things we do. It’s all about the “invisible forces” (hence, the title) that we seldom think about but which ultimately shape how we behave and the decisions that we make. They start off usually with a particular story and then evolve into a more comprehensive analysis of human behavior while still making it easy for anyone without a psychology background to understand. You get episodes like how a blind man taught himself how to be “batman” to a woman who cannot feel fear due to a medical condition.
Host Nora McInerny suffered unimaginable tragedies in her life: in less than a month, she lost her father, her husband, and her unborn child. Part of dealing with this pain has led her to create this podcast where her guests, who have also went through similar events, are able to talk about pain openly and honestly. The humor and vulnerability with which she and her guests navigate the pain, awkwardness, and humanity of it all will definitely take you on a rollercoaster of emotions.
If you’re looking for something to cry-laugh to, then a live comedy podcast by two of the funniest women alive can be your drug of choice. Actresses and comedians Jessica Williams (who had a small role in Fantastic Beasts) and Phoebe Robinson (from the, well, short-lived show I Love Dick) cover a wide range of topics like diversity, pop music, and living in New York. Basically just any topic that can be comedy gold. The podcast is recorded live with an audience and is a combination of stand-up comedy and storytelling, with guest comics adding to the spice.
Peabody award-winning journalist Krista Tippett wants to explore what it means to be human and how it means to live with each other in this day and age. If it sounds very bohemian and hippy, the podcast is generally not. She talks to artists, authors, teachers, scientists, and theologians as they try to answer big life questions. She’s had neuroscientist Richard Davidson talk about love and learning, and popular blogger Maria Popova on what it means to be a cartographer of meaning in a digital age. Tippett herself approaches her guests in a warm, but extremely curious manner and as a stand-in for the audience rather than just the usual interviewer.
Popular inspirational author Annie F. Downs has one rule for her podcast: she only has her friends over. This means that all her guests are people she personally knows (no random author or singer promoting their latest project) and would like to introduce to her tribe. Don’t worry, she has a lot of interesting (and sometimes famous) friends who are all eager to share their lives and stories. Athletes, musicians, authors, entrepreneurs, pastors, her friends’ cute kids–she’s had them all talking about fun things.
Hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen call their podcast a “safe space for nerding out” and they do go all nerdy and geeky over things as varied as science fiction, lady nerds of history, Game of Thrones, snails that can save lives, and Salt Fat Acid Heat. Any topic under the sun that can be broken down, dissected, and fangirled-over in an hour is fair game to these self-proclaimed nerds.
Apparently, podcasts and alcohol go together, as we see a lot of shows and hosts that are unapologetically boozy. But try doing that while interviewing prominent authors, politicians, social justice leaders, and civil rights activists and you’ve got yourself a pretty interesting and informative podcast—with a lot of tequila or wine involved. Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are your drinking hosts and they describe their show as “happy hour with friends you haven’t met yet.” Oh they also encourage you to drink with them while listening, so make sure you don’t do that when you’re driving.