The Conversation-logo

The Conversation


More Information


United Kingdom








#MeToo: Two Women's Stories Beyond Hollywood

One year ago a #MeToo tweet by Hollywood actor Alyssa Milano encouraged an outpouring of women using the hashtag to talk about experiences of sexual harassment or assault. What followed were allegations against high profile figures in entertainment, the media and politics with many of the accused denying any wrongdoing. Kim Chakanetsa brings together two women who have made public allegations of sexual abuse in countries where that's highly unusual, to find out if the ripples of #MeToo are...


Women Bossing the Beauty Business

Does the beauty industry fuel insecurity and undermine a woman's choice to look how she wants? Kim Chakanetsa brings together two beauty entrepreneurs from Singapore and the UK who say they have lifted women up. Sharmadean Reid is a British Jamaican entrepreneur who founded WAH Nails, which she believes changed the beauty landscape with its millennial voice, feminist attitude and innovative salon space. Sharmadean went on to create FutureGirlCorp, workshops aimed at young businesswomen, and...


Fighting For Women's Health

How do you improve women's access to good healthcare? Two female doctors talk to Kim Chakanetsa about the issues they face in two starkly different places - Somalia and the United States. Paula Johnson is an American cardiologist who has dedicated her whole career to thinking about health from a woman's perspective, focussing on the different ways men and women respond to diseases. When Paula learnt that medical research and trials traditionally were only tested on men, she decided she had...


Women Defying Bans in Iran and Saudi Arabia

What is it like to put yourself in danger fighting for your rights as a woman? Kim Chakanetsa unites two women from Iran and Saudi Arabia, who decided to defy their governments' discriminatory laws - and suffered huge personal sacrifices as a result. In Iran women must cover their hair in public, according to the dress rule enforced after the Revolution in 1979. Masih Alinejad says she began to defy this compulsory wearing of the hijab as a teenager and continued to question it from within...


The Women Plumbers Changing The Trade

Two female plumbers on what puts women off from entering the industry, the messy reality of the job and the joy of solving problems with your hands. Judaline Cassidy has worked on the pipes of some of New York City's most iconic buildings in a career that has spanned two decades. She grew up in Trinidad & Tobago and came to plumbing because she didn't have enough money to go to law school. But she fell in love with the profession and has become a passionate advocate for women in trades....


Women Winning the Nobel Prize for Medicine

Just 12 women have won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine since it was founded in 1901. Kim Chakanetsa brings together two of these female Nobel Laureates - both extraordinary scientists from Norway and France. Professor May-Britt Moser won the prize in 2014 for the discovery of a type of cell in the brains of rats, which helps them locate their position in space. She won the prize jointly with her former husband Edvard, with whom she had collaborated since they were students. Now...


Female Computer Pioneers

The lost role of women in the development of the computer industry is brought into focus by an internet pioneer and a computer historian. Radia Perlman is an American computer programmer often described as the 'Mother of the Internet' for her invention of the spanning-tree protocol, an algorithm which allowed early networks to cope with large amounts of data. She describes it as a 'simple hack' and it is still in use today. Tilly Blyth is Head of Collections and Principal Curator at the...


Young African Authors

Two award-winning African writers sit down with Kim Chakanetsa to talk race, gender and getting published in your early 20s. Nigerian author Chibundu Onuzo started writing her first book aged 17, became the youngest woman ever to sign to her publishing house at 19, and released her first novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, at the age of 21. Chibundu is based in London and her second book is called Welcome to Lagos. Panashe Chigumadzi is a Zimbabwean-born novelist and essayist. Raised in South...


Ending Child Marriage

Is it possible to end child marriage in a generation? Kim Chakanetsa brings together two women working to make it a thing of the past in Malawi and in the United States. Memory Banda's sister was just 11 when she was forced to marry the man who'd made her pregnant. Determined not to have the same fate, Memory persuaded local leaders in Malawi to change their minds about this cultural practise and then - still a teenager - she successfully campaigned for the government to raise the marriage...


Crowning The Queens

Can hats be liberating for women? Nelufar Hedayat brings together a hatmaker to the British Queen and a turban designer to Beyoncé. Rachel Trevor-Morgan is a London based milliner who has been making hats for the Queen for over a decade. As well as royalty she also sells to top fashion retailers, and thinks it's a shame that we don’t wear hats as much as we used to. Rachel is not trying to push the boundaries of fashion with her hats - she says her mission is to make her clients look...


Women in Translation

Can translating a book be a feminist act? Kim Chakanetsa brings together two female translators from Egypt and the UK who explain why it matters that more women, and particularly more feminists, are translating texts into Arabic and English. Emily Wilson is the first woman to translate Homer's The Odyssey into English. She says she often found sexist language in previous translations by men which did not actually exist in the original ancient Greek. She believes that all translators have an...


Banishing Body Shame

Body shaming is discrimination against 'non-perfect' bodies and it is usually directed at women. Kim Chakanetsa sits down with a Danish comedian and a British blogger who are challenging society's perceptions of a beautiful female body. Chidera Eggerue - aka The Slumflower - is a British blogger whose hashtag #saggyboobsmatter started an online movement, empowering women who were considering plastic surgery and breast-feeding mothers to love their breasts. Through her public profile, she...


Star Chefs

The professional kitchen is often seen as a place where bravado, machismo and sexism are standard. Kim Chakanestsa brings together two top female chefs to ask why there are so few women in the industry - and what if anything is holding women back? Dominique Crenn is a French chef living and working in San Francisco. She has two Michelin stars at her restaurant 'Atelier Crenn' - the first woman in North America to do so. In 2017 she also won the Best Female Chef in the World award - although...


Female Financiers

Can financial markets transform women's lives? Kim Chakanetsa unites two financiers from Nigeria and Bangladesh who are trying to increase wealth for women in very different ways. Durreen Shahnaz was one of the first Bangladeshi women on Wall Street, and later founded Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) through which she set up the world's first social stock exchange. She recently launched a Women's Livelihood Bond, which will impact the lives of over 385,000 women across...


Mothers Fighting for Clean Water

Their children became sick, and they wanted to know why. Nelufar Hedayat brings together two women who identified toxic water supplies that were poisoning their children and their communities. Phyllis Omido is a Kenyan activist who won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015. Phyllis was working for a smelting factory in Mombasa, when she found out that her breast milk was giving her baby lead poisoning. She then discovered that the toxic waste had entered the local water supply and was...


Chess Grandmasters

What does it take for a woman to excel in the ruthlessly competitive, male-dominated world of chess? Kim Chakanetsa meets two outstanding female players from Hungary and China to find out. Judit Polgar is the strongest female chess player of all time. As a child prodigy she broke Bobby Fischer's record to become the youngest grandmaster, aged 15. She went on to beat the World No 1 Garry Kasparov, after he had said women shouldn't play chess. Judit says she made a decision very early not to...


Art Dealers

In the art world, how much power do women hold? In 2017, of the top 100 artists whose work fetched the highest amount at auction, just 13 were women. Two female art-dealers who have pioneered Czech and Asian art on the international scene, discuss how that affects the way they value and sell art made by women. Pearl Lam is an iconic art dealer and a pioneer in raising the profile of Chinese art. She is the founder of Pearl Lam Galleries which operate in Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong. She...


Social Media Influencers

We meet two women who earn a six-figure salary by sharing their lives, fashion tips and their most personal moments on social media. Kim Chakanetsa delves into this digital world of influencers and finds out how to be successful in marketing online. French-Cameroonian Freddie Harrel left her career in banking to start a fashion blog. She also writes about her own personal struggles and hopes to inspire other women to embrace their natural selves. Anum Bashir from Qatar blogs under the...


Tackling the Gender Pay Gap

Why do women earn less than men across the world, and what can be done to narrow this gender pay gap? Two experts from Italy and Kenya give their ideas on how to make the workplace more equal and pay women what they are worth. Paola Diana (@paoladiana_) is the founder of PariMerito or Equal Merit, an organisation through which she lobbied the Italian government to pass new equality laws in the workplace, including one requiring company boards to have at least 30% women. Paola started her own...


Head Gardeners

Planting, pruning and giving the orders - Kim Chakanetsa meets two female head gardeners who are challenging the idea that gardening is a hobby for women but a career for men. Sharon Cooke runs Andromeda Botanic Gardens in Barbados, the only Royal Horticulture Society Partner Garden in the West Indies. The garden was created in the 1950s by award-winning horticulturist Iris Bannochie. After Iris died, the garden fell into decline, but Sharon is now restoring it to its former glory. Sharon...