In order to add to my recommended list of women-led podcasts, I asked you for your favorite picks. And wow, did you all deliver. Your top shows explore everything from career paths to cute dogs to recaps of TV shows cancelled years ago; these hosts bring a spectrum of personal identities and lived experiences to their topics of choice. This list captures for me everything that is wonderful about the recent surge in sharing ideas via the podcast medium. I hope you find some new favorites—I did.
One little caveat emptor: there are hundreds (thousands?) of hours’ worth of podcasts here, so BALC can’t personally vouch for the quality of each episode or that you won’t encounter problematic material; however, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s a consistent or egregious issue with a particular show.
Okay, that slight bummer out of the way, here’s the podcasts!
Creativity or design
- After the Jump: seems to be on a longterm hiatus, but the archive is worth a listen.
- The Anti-Casserole: about women in the so-called creative fields; currently working on season 2.
- Design Life: explores strategies for balancing personal projects with all the other things you need to do in life.
- Heroine: women and creative leadership.
- Her Name Is…: interviews with creative women in the Toronto, Canada area.
- She Does: conversations with women in similar fields to what BALC covers.
- SWIM: stands for “strong women in motion”, in the animation sense of the word.
- Criminal: more “interesting” and “illuminating” than the more “titillating” variety of crime podcasts or TV.
- My Favorite Murder: and this would be more of your guilty-pleasure crime podcast.
Feminism and women
- Black Girl Squee: celebrating the accomplishments of black women, and discussing pertinent current events.
- Cavern of Secrets: a show featuring extraordinary women.
- Feminist Coffee Hour: a podcast with more of a political bent than other women-focused shows.
- Hysteria: The Podcast: plenty of women-related issues, some of them NSFW.
- The Riveters: interviews with various ladybosses.
- Stuff Mom Never Told You: a look at important issues facing women.
- What would a feminist do?: Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti takes on current feminist issues.
Food and culinary
- A Taste of the Past: world food culture—past, present, and future.
- Burnt Toast: conversations about cooking, from the editors of Food52.
- Gastropod: food, as approached from science and history.
Gaming and Geekery
- Black Girl Nerds: the most recent episodes are from 2014, but you can listen to previous discussions of geek pop culture from any podcast app using the iTunes store’s database.
- Fresh Out of Tokens: discussions of inclusivity—in many senses of the word—in gaming.
- Justice Points: social justice and feminism in video games. (At time of writing, however, they’ve since wrapped up the podcast.)
- Less Than Or Equal: equality in geekdom!
- Magic the Amateuring: as you may have gathered, this show is all about Magic the Gathering.
- The Misfits: a wide array of geekery, including comics and fandom-inducing movies and TV.
- Nerdgasm Noir: from live game play to interviews to discussion of current events, Nerdgasm Noir covers a lot of ground.
- Rocket: covers tech, comics, movies, games, books, and more!
- Unconsoleable: casual gamer and proud of it? This podcast covers console-free games (computer, iPad, phone gaming).
- 2 Dope Queens: a high-energy, live-recorded show where Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams, and fellow comedians share life stories.
- Another Round: I don’t know how they fit so much into one show, but I find myself laughing out loud at one moment, deep in thought the next.
- Baby Geniuses: a show hosted by an illustrator and a comedian, where guests set the episode’s topic.
- Blackwashed: the hosts explore issues relevant to their lived experiences, often with discussions on race and culture.
- The Conversation: Kim Chakanetsa talks with two women who have something in common, whether they’re Olympians, mechanics, heavy metal musicians…
- Fugitive Waves: The Kitchen Sisters dig up auditory treasures both old and new.
- Hoochim: four Hmong women discuss anything that seems interesting.
- Ladies Who Lunch: a weekly podcast covering “topics often left out of polite conversation “
- Nerdette: if “everybody is nerdy about something”, this podcast is nerdy about everything.
- Sampler: getting meta with a podcast about podcasts.
- Serial: covers one story across the span of a season, like the old days of radio.
- Whiskey, Wine & Moonshine: friends discuss current events, relationships, education, politics and entertainment.
- Stuff You Missed in History Class: what it says on the tin!
- You Must Remember This: a history show about the old days of Hollywood.
- Death, Sex & Money: frank discussions about some of life’s most important topics. Everybody has a story.
- Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: two women recount their experiences as Muslim Americans. Their about page explains the story behind the name, a play on what it means to be “good” and “bad”, and how that changes based on who’s judging.
- The Heart: an artful look at intimacy, love, and sex.
- Help Wanted: a humorous take on self-help.
- How to Be a Girl: a slice-of-life show about a woman and her young trans daughter, and the exploration of “girlhood”.
- Invisibilia: all about human behavior and the things that shape us.
- Imagine Otherwise: how can we apply the values of social justice to all aspects of life?
- Mashup Americans: exploring the experience of being a “hyphen-American”.
- Mystery Show: Starlee Kline solves everyday mysteries that can’t be resolved with the help of a search engine.
- On Being: spirituality and science and the essence of being a human.
- Otherhood: the stories of people who emigrated to the US or are the children of immigrants.
Literature and language
- The Allusionist: a podcast for all you etymology nerds out there.
- Morph Club: a show all about the Animorphs books series, which I can only assume is hilarious. Sure, this counts as literature.
- New Yorker Fiction: a guest who has had a story published in the New Yorker reads another writers’ story which has been published in the New Yorker.
Love, sex, and friendship
- Call Your Girlfriend: “a podcast for long-distance besties”, where you really do feel that you’re sharing a glass of wine with Ann and Aminatou.
- Friendshipping: digging into issues that can come up in any friendship.
- Sex Nerd Sandra: sex positivity for everybody!
- This Feels Terrible: comedian Erin McGathy continues to explore love, sex, and heartbreak.
- Unscrewed: how Western sex culture got messed up, and what it will take to fix it.
- Music Between Friends: self-proclaimed “weird, inaccessible music”.
- Tell Me Stories: backstage conversations with musical guests.
- Bad Fat Broads: current events seen through a body-positive lens.
- Girl-Fm Headline News: humorous takes on current events.
- Pop Culture Coven: each episode is an analysis of a single character from pop culture.
- SRSLY: coverage of music, books, film and TV, from the New Statesman.
- Two Brown Girls: everything-pop culture, hosted by writers and critics Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay.
- Flash Forward: speculation about ~*~ the future ~*~ This podcast might be slightly mis-categorized, as it features experts from a dizzying array of niches.
- Orbital Path: gazing at the stars and into…ourselves (cheesy copywriting my own).
- This Week in Science: a science variety show!
- Control+Click Cast: addresses pretty much any topic you can think of that falls under the spectrum of “web”.
- Note to Self: the human experience, as seen through the lens of tech.
- The Path to Performance: all about designing and building performant websites, featuring guests from the industry.
- Roboism: “a show about robots, technology, and feminism, but mostly robots”.
TV and film
- The Canon: film critics discuss whether or not a movie should be considered “canon”.
- Everything’s Coming up Podcast!: if you know this reference, you might like a podcast about The Simpsons.
- Faculty of Horror: a show for scary-movie fanatics.
- Gossip Girls: a podcast devoted entirely to discussing the show Gossip Girls. “Yes, we know it ended in 2012.”
- Being Boss: two biz-ladies cover the ins and outs of being a creative entrepreneur. American Southern accents abound.
- The Broad Experience: “a thoughtful, humane, and accessible analysis of the unique challenges facing women in the workplace.” (iTunes reviewer)
- The Intern: chronicles of young woman in tech.
- Joblogues: an industry-agnostic show about careers and work life.
…and other niche topics.
- Fat Mascara: news, stories, and professional advice, all about beauty.
- Can I Pet Your Dog?: interviews about dogs, dog news, dog sightings. D.R.E.A.M.
- Open-Ended: many of these general interest shows are driven by what the hosts find interesting. For Cher and James, much of that is tech and culture.
- Woolful: knitting! Sewing! Weaving! Yarn! But mostly knitting and yarn. Good for when your hands are busy with your own craft.
You can find more women-led podcasts via @podshe on Twitter, or tag your own show with the #podshe hash tag. At time of writing, Postloudness plans to release a few more shows led by women, as well as those hosted and produced by people of color and queer-identified folks; looking forward to listening!