10 fabulous podcasts hosted by fabulous women

Lauren Lapkus

Like many things in our culture, the burgeoning world of podcasting has been dominated by men. But Alex Madison at Bitch Magazine has a great piece about why women’s voices are becoming more prominent in the medium. Women host two of the top three podcasts on iTunes, Serial and the new Invisibilia. I am a huge podcast nerd and spend just about any spare moment I can find with my earbuds in working through my constantly updating feed. In the spirit of highlighting kickass women in podcasting, here are my recommendations for podcasts hosted by women to add to the ones Madison highlights in her piece.

  • Slate Culture GabfestOver years of listening to these cozy culture conversations, I’ve developed a platonic crush on film critic Dana Stevens where I just want to hang out and talk about movies or even making granola. She’s joined by the fabulous Julia Turner and Stephen Metcalf to talk about reality TV to fine art and everything in between.
  • With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus. You might recognize Lauren Lapkus as the timid prison guard Fischer on Orange is the New Black. Comedy podcast nerds know her as a hilarious improviser, and she finally has her own show. If you like freewheeling comedic improvisation, this one is for you. Lapkus’ characters are well known from other podcasts like Comedy Bang! Bang! I got the chance to see a hilarious live performance of her playing Beatrix Potter on an episode of Paul F. Tompkins’ Dead Authors podcast, so if you like what you hear, keep an eye out for the release of that episode too.
  • Call Your Girlfriend. I’ve always enjoyed Ann Friedman’s writing and humorous pie charts, and was delighted to discover this podcast where she talks with her friend Aminatou Sow about topics like sexism around vocal fry and radio voices, period jokes, office housework, men in jeggings and more.
  • Put Your Hands TogetherNot only is host Cameron Esposito hilarious, but you can count on frequent rants and jokes on women’s rights, LGBT rights and other social justice issues. I was really excited when this podcast started up as this live taping of a standup show in LA is a great way to get exposed to new comedians. She often brings up her fiancee and co-producer Rhea Butcher, and the show features lots of other funny and talented women (and hilarious dudes too).
  • CriminalPhoebe Judge hosts this infrequent but fascinating show about “people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” They’ve covered topics like controversy over using PMS as a criminal defense and the correspondence between a reporter and a female serial killer.
  • Filmspotting: SVU. This spinoff of Filmspotting “Original Recipe” (also highly recommended) focuses on discussing and recommending films and TV shows available to stream, thus they are the Streaming Video Unit. While I always love a good Law & Order reference, I love even more the spirited conversation and inspired recommendations from film critics Alison Willmore and Matt Singer.
  • Popaganda and Backtalk. These two podcasts come from beloved Bitch Magazine and explore feminism and pop culture. Popaganda takes on big topics like commercialism and Valentine’s Day or culture coming out of movements challenging racism and violence, and the new Backtalk focuses on pop culture news of the week.
  • Dear Sugar Radio. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how I am enraptured by this new podcast with former Dear Sugar advice columnists Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, and subsequent episodes have not disappointed. They give the same kind of frank, heartfelt advice as they did in the column, and have also pulled in great guests like feminist writer Roxane Gay and the aforementioned Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher.
  • Lies with Sara SchaeferComedian Schaefer conducts nonsensical interviews with other comedians in this podcast where nothing they say is true. If you’re  fan of Jenny Slate (and who isn’t?), her episode is a great place to start.
  • Fucking While Feminist.  Writer and activist Jaclyn Friedman brings on a roster of smart, engaging guests like Jill Filipovic of Cosmopolitan and artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez to talk about issues of reproductive freedom, politics and sex advice.

I know there are many more, so feel free to share your suggestions in the comments.

Author: Rebecca Griffin

I am a passionate advocate for progressive causes with over a decade of experience organizing for social change. That organizing experience informs the way I look at the world and the challenges we face in working toward social justice. I started Of Means and Ends to write about social issues I care about and share my thoughts on how we organize in a smart, strategic way. Please visit and join the conversation.

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