Over the past few years, podcasts have become a huge media phenomenon, being a form of entertainment that is widely accessible and, for the most part, free. These days, you can find podcasts about pretty much any subject you can think of. However, like other mass media and entertainment, the podcast world is very much dominated by men. Male hosts, male producers, male-run networks, and on and on. But women are finding their voices in podcasting too. In fact, Serial, the podcast that arguably brought podcasts into the mainstream, was created by two women, Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder. Here’s a list of twelve other awesome podcasts that cover all kinds of topics, but share one common trait: they’re all run by women.
1. 2 Dope Queens: Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are two black, female comedians who host a live show where they are joined by other comedians and tell stories about whatever the hell they want. Is there any more explanation necessary? Bonus: Phoebe also hosts the podcast Sooo Many White Guys in which she talks to fellow artists, none of whom are white dudes.
2. Call Your Girlfriend: CYG is a fun and engaging weekly podcast created by an incredible trio of ladies: the hosts, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, and their producer, Gina Delvac. Every other week, Aminatou and Ann catch up with each other and chat unapologetically about anything and everything, from politics to periods. On the other weeks, they conduct smart, in-depth interviews with their incredibly accomplished friends and acquaintances in Phone-a-Friend episodes. Listening to Aminatou and Ann is like chilling and having a candid conversation with your best friends.
3. Criminal: As the title suggests, Criminal is a podcast about crime. However, it’s much more complex and nuanced than most of the other true crime podcasts you’ll find out there. Instead of getting too caught up in “glamorous” topics like murder, host Phoebe Judge and producer Lauren Spohrer have put together a podcast that digs deeper into the stories of the people involved in or affected by crimes both big and small.
4. First Day Back: Tally Abecassis is a documentary filmmaker and mother trying to jump back into her career after she took time off to have and raise her kids. First Day Back follows Tally as she tries to understand and juggle her roles as a mother and a working woman.
5. The Heart: The Heart is a podcast that explores humanity, sexuality, and relationships. It’s so beautifully made that it’s actually less a podcast and more a piece of audio art. They create both fictional and nonfictional pieces (and sometimes something in between). The stories can be range from funny to heart-wrenching to hopeful, but all are absolutely brilliant. The team of kickass ladies behind The Heart are Kaitlin Prest, Mitra Kaboli, Jen Ng, and Sharon Mashihi.
6. How to Be a Girl: This podcast is produced by Marlo Mack (a pseudonym), starring herself and her eight-year-old transgender daughter. How to Be a Girl follows the pair through their day-to-day lives as they try to navigate the unknown and face all the challenges thrown at them. The podcast is a stunning view into this beautiful mother-daughter relationship, and it is incredibly eye-opening and moving.
7. The Intern: Allison Behringer recently decided to pursue a new career in tech and media. She started out as an intern, producing this podcast for a startup called betaworks. The Intern follows Allison as she navigates her new life in New York City and as a young woman working in the tech startup world.
8. Millennial: Millennial is about being, you guessed it, a millennial. Through her podcast, Megan Tan shares with her listeners her experiences as she tries to survive her twenties and make a living doing what she loves (the ubiquitous dream of millennials everywhere). She also speaks with fellow members of her generation and tries to gain a broad perspective of the ups and downs of millennial lives.
9. My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark: I bet you wouldn’t expect a podcast of two women talking about murders to be one of the top comedy podcasts in iTunes, but here it is. A couple ladies absolutely KILLING IT (no pun intended) in a category mostly dominated by asshole dudes (sorry not sorry). Karen and Georgia are the first to admit they are by no means experts in the subject of true crime and that their research is not necessarily thorough or perfect (thus, the categorization under “comedy”). They are simply two ladies who are fascinated by murder and enjoy chatting about it together. This podcast is an absolute joy to listen to and it’s unique as hell — you’ll be disgusted one moment and laughing out loud the next. Not to mention the special appearance of Elvis the cat at the end of each episode!
10. Not By Accident: Sophie Harper is the single mother of three-year-old daughter Astrid. Not By Accident is a documentary podcast that tells their story, starting with Sophie’s decision to undergo artificial insemination and get pregnant on her own.
11. Otherhood: Otherhood, created and hosted by Rupa Shenoy, is about people who are immigrants or the children of immigrants. For me, this is one of the most important podcast discoveries that I’ve made, as it was all about Americans like me. For first- or second-generation Americans, it’s rare to see ourselves represented in popular media at all, let alone represented accurately. So to be able to hear and relate to the real-life stories of people like us is wonderfully refreshing and comforting.
12. Strangers: Strangers is, first and foremost, a podcast about people. People who have good experiences, bad experiences, and experiences in between. It is about hearing these true stories and connecting with these people you don’t know, empathizing with them, living alongside them. Lea Thau, the creator and host and a Peabody award-winner, is not above opening up about her own life, making the podcast feel even more intimate.
There are plenty of amazing podcasts by ladies out there, and this list represents just a small portion. We’re always looking for more recommendations, so let us know in the comments about your favorite lady-run podcasts!
Let me know which podcasts you’ve been listening to?
Author: Patricia Thang
Reader of books, listener of podcasts, lover of dogs. Just trying to survive my twenties.