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13 Amazing Female Podcasters to Follow

by Grace Bonney

Last week I had 17 hours of traveling on my hands to and from DC and Philly, so I decided to catch up on my listening (and Chinese app playtime) and download some new podcast episodes to listen to on the ride. I found myself wanting to hear something different and unlike the shows that seem to get all the press these days, so I searched for shows hosted by women and women of color. I spent the trip not only discovering new and important stories and points of view, but feeling like I made a handful of new online friends to follow and learn from on a regular basis. Some of these are shows I’ve listened to for years (like JV Club and Hot Grease), and others are new favorites (like Pushing Hoops with Sticks), but each one is guaranteed to get you thinking and talking about the broader topics in not just the creative community, but life in general. So if you’d like to hear what these talented women are talking about (and what the amazing women they interview have to say, too), click through to read more about their shows and find where to listen online. xo, grace

1/13
Death, Sex and Money, Hosted by Anna Sale. Anna's podcast, which interviews people about the topics we all struggle to speak openly about, is about to celebrate it's one year anniversary and his been a major hit since it first hit WNYC's airwaves. Anna is not only an excellent interviewer, but one of the most thoughtful listeners on-air. Her show with W. Kamau Bell was my personal favorite, but pretty much every show tells a personal story that is worth listening to. (I also happened to grow up going to summer camp with Anna! She was just as impressive then, too.)
2/13
The JV Club, hosted by Janet Varney. Janet Varney happens to be one of the funniest people around, so when you combine her with some incredible female guests, speaking about what it was like to be a teenager, you're bound to get an excellent show. This has been a favorite of mine for years now and I love listening to such talented, accomplished women talk about those awkward years we ALL have in common.
3/13
Hot Grease, hosted by Nicole Taylor. We've had the pleasure of sharing some of Nicole's incredible recipes on DS before (Rose Pound Cake and Rice & Harissa Chickpeas), and her show was a regular listen for me (she's taking a break from podcasting right now). Nicole's podcast is dedicated to the American south and all the ways it interacts with (and influences) local food and culture in other places. There are over 160 episodes in her archives and it is most definitely worth working through them all.
4/13
Design Matters, hosted by Debbie Millman. Debbie is one of the smartest people in design and her show has been my personal gold standard for a while now. She is an excellent interviewer and it's so wonderful to have someone who's tackling more serious issues within the design community - and making me want to know more about all of the people I love and follow in the creative world.
5/13
Pushing Hoops with Sticks, hosted by Ayesha A. Siddiqi. There need to be more shows like this, period. Frankly, there aren't nearly as many female podcast hosts as there are men, and there aren't nearly as many hosts of color getting press as there are white women. I'm always searching out new shows hosted by people with different backgrounds and stories, and Ayesha's is my new favorite. Her show examines race (often within the creative community, like comedy and music) and does so in such an important and direct way. She only has two episodes so far, but this is destined to be one of my go-to listens.
6/13
Baby Geniuses, hosted by Lisa Hanawalt and Emily Heller. I used to work on the same floor as artist Lisa Hanawalt in Brooklyn and she was, hands down, one of the funniest artists I've ever (sort of) known. Her artwork always makes me laugh, so it's no surprise that she and her co-host, Emily Heller, host a hilarious show that invites interesting people to share interesting bits of knowledge they know.
7/13
Two Brown Girls, hosted by Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay. Fariha and Zeba are writers and critics who dedicate each show to a mix of topics, ranging from culture politics to pop culture and style. I really enjoy when they delve into the topics that some people avoid (feminism, race, politics) and find their loose, conversational style a nice contrast to the sometimes slightly over-structured podcasts that seem to be all the rage.
8/13
The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva). The Kitchen Sisters produce a show for NPR (which hasn't started back up for 2015 yet) and other content for public media across the country. With a long history in radio, these incredible women cover stories ranging from food to serious discussions of life and death (their special on the World Trade Center bombing was so moving). If you haven't listened to them yet, be sure to check out their archives on NPR to get started.
9/13
Strangers, hosted by Lea Thau. Lea is the former director of NPR's beloved Moth series, and her show is dedicated to the same concept - sharing personal stories that mean something to both the teller and the listener. I believe in and fully share her belief that everyone's life contains an interesting story (or many) worth sharing, so I love hearing real people share their tales of love, life and loss.
10/13
Black Girls Talking, hosted by Alesia, Fatima, Aurelia and Ramou. This round-table format show is both a fun and informative listen. Their show with Janet Mock was my absolute favorite, but every week there's a great topic to be discussed and several opinions to weigh in. It's the thoughtful, smart version of "The View" I think so many of us would love.
11/13
Rendered (formerly Destination DIY), hosted by Julie Sabatier. Julie's show is one of my go-to sources of regular design and "maker" talk online - and I love that she's tackling more serious issues lately. Her episode on Etsy going public was really interesting and if you like listening to the creative community, this show is for you.
12/13
Radio Cherry Bombe, hosted by Julia Turshen. I'm obviously biased because Julia happens to be my wife, but long before I ever met her, Julia was busy building an incredible career as a food writer and cook. She hosted the first two seasons of Radio Cherry bombe, which was dedicated to speaking with women in the food community (an often over-looked segment of the food world) to tell their incredible stories. I watched almost every show live from outside the radio door and I learned so much about strength, perseverance and ingenuity from these amazing women.
13/13
The Spin, hosted by Esther Armah: Esther's show launched last year and it's a fantastic weekly show that discusses race, politics, culture and personal stories with women of color. These women are experts in their given fields and to say I've learned a lot from this show would be a massive understatement.

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Comments

  • Thanks for the suggestions, Grace! I’m always looking for new podcasts to check out, and I have some driving to do this weekend, so I can’t wait to dig in! My personal favorite female podcaster is Linda Holmes, who hosts NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. It’s a panel discussion that often features other great NPR ladies, like Audie Cornish, Kat Chow, and Barrie Hardymon. They have the most thoughtful (and often hilarious) discussions of pop culture, and they always have great recommendations for new books/movies/tv/etc to check out! It’s the one podcast I never miss.

    • Thanks for the list, Grace! Gotta check those out. Lauren, I’m addicted to podcasts too and I’m always game to try a show hosted by interesting women. I love NPR’s podcasts. Especially Serial, but who doesn’t love that one… right? Here are a few lesser known shows that that I enjoy: A geek girl show called “Anomaly” http://anomalypodcast.com and a gamer girl show called “Girl Tribe Gaming”. Both are loads of fun.

  • Thank you for this list! It drives me bananas that people are still creating lists of “Podcasts to Try” and include This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab…those are some of the most popular podcasts of all time!

    Excited to try out some of the ones you’ve listed as more conversational, which I personally prefer over the more over-produced podcasts (coughRadiolabcough).

    I might also recommend “Bonnie & Maude,” each episode they talk about a movie or tv show from their “femme-centric perspectives.”

  • Thanks for the awesome suggestions! I have one more to add to the list. Anne Friedman and Aminatou Sow are long distance best friends who record their musings on pop culture, feminism, politics and periods biweekly on “Call Your Girlfriend”: http://callyourgirlfriend.com/

  • Yay! I love Black Girls Talking! They are so fun and smart and I feel like I’m hanging out with good friends every time I listen to them.

  • I can’t wait to try these, Grace. I have a podcast to add to the recommendation list, Call Your Girlfriend. The two very funny hosts, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow, address the lack of diversity in podcasting—as well as other areas of modern life—and have given practical encouragement to women who are interested in starting a podcast, detailing exactly how they got their podcast up and running. (P.S. As a devoted fan of Radio Cherry Bombe, I’m THRILLED to learn that Julia new season will be starting soon.)

    • I was going to suggest CYG too! They are hilarious and thoughtful and I always find myself wanting to jump in the conversation!

  • Chiming in to agree with Rory and Patricia that Call Your Girlfriend is amazing. Aminatou and Ann never fail to make me laugh and to make me think.
    Looking forward to checking out some new-to-me podcasts from your list of recs!

  • I’m definitely adding these podcasts to my list; just the other day I was annoyed that I haven’t really added anything new to my playlist in a while. This American Life is fine, but you kind of know where it’s going, you know? Anyway, I did just start listening to Radio Cherry Bombe and I am super excited that there will be a season three. Thanks!

  • Yay for podcasts! With a standard poodle who needs a couple of walks every day (the Pepper man), I am always looking for something new to listen to. And extra happy for some diverse ones.

    I’m committed to reading (We Need Diverse Books <—— great group!) and listening to diverse voices this year. Book Riot is a good source and an advocate for more diversity in books if anyone is looking for suggestions.

    Glad you'll be back with your podcast too.

  • Anna Sale is kind of my Person Crush—you know: the person who seems to have such a cool, creative job, and just seems so nice. I always love DS&M.

    Can’t wait to check out Strangers. Thanks for the new ideas!

  • What a great list – I’ll be subscribing to these for sure! Another I’d recommend for creative business types would be Elise Gets Crafty and This Girl Means Business.

  • Great list but I have a minor correction. The Kitchen Sisters are currently producing a bi weekly podcast called Fugitive Waves. You can find it at radiotopia.fm and in all the usual podcast places.

  • I love listening to the Satellite Sisters. They have been podcasting for a few years together and they make you feel like you are part of their family.

  • Nerdette Podcast is a great one too! It’s hosted by Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda. They are doing a GOT series for all you lady nerds out there.

  • I’m more or less adding every single one of these to my podcast queue (podcasts make the BART commute and dish washing actually pleasurable!). I looked up the Kitchen Sisters and I found that their podcast, Fugitive Waves, is already up and going for 2015. Happy listening!

  • Hey Grace! Thanks for sharing this list. I’m new to podcasts, but just started one you might enjoy: Last Name Basis. It’s hosted by Francheska Ramsey and her husband Patrick! Check it out if you can. And I will check out yours!

    • I second Another Round!!! Super, super funny, while also exploring serious questions of worth, identity, mental health, gender, race, etc. Every single episode has me laughing out loud, but also thinking.

  • Ah, so happy to have found this list. Always on the lookout for new podcasts to listen to while I work and knew I could come here to find some good suggestions.

    Grace, I just have to say yours is still one of my favorites and I always go back and listen to old ones. :)

  • Great list!
    Also, some friends started this podcast a few months ago. It’s wonderful and by some awesome women who are a “creative team of women of color who are committed to social justice, living, and being free. We are inspired by LaVerne Cox’s concept of “possibility models” and the growing representation of marginalized voices in all forms of social media. The Get is our effort to take up space, to share our voices, and to encourage our listeners to do the same. ”

    http://www.wearetheget.com/about/

  • I love this list – it makes me excited to get listening to the new discoveries!
    I’m a woman (hi!)and I have a podcast in Australia that’s all about how people relate to their environment. I feature all sorts of people – like this scientific team who went searching for the biggest whale in the world in Antarctica:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/offtrack/the-biggest-underwater-choir-in-the-world/6914940

    Anyway, it’s called Off Track it’s available on iTunes and it’s a bit different from the style of listening you’ve got here already. Happy listening everyone!

  • Thank you for this great list! I’d like to add Can We Talk, which I produce and host for the Jewish Women’s Archive: jwa.org/canwetalk. It’s also on iTunes.
    Nahanni

  • A fantastic roundup! I host a podcast called Conscious Chatter – where I talk to people connected to the global garment supply chain, with hopes to impact a better future for fashion. You can tune in here if you’re interested in checking it out! bit.ly/ConsciousChatter

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