Woman's Hour-logo

Woman's Hour


Women's voices and women's lives - topical conversations to inform, challenge and inspire.

Women's voices and women's lives - topical conversations to inform, challenge and inspire.


London, United Kingdom






Women's voices and women's lives - topical conversations to inform, challenge and inspire.




Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4 Broadcasting House London W1A 1AA U.K


Scarlett Moffatt, Patricia Devlin, Gender and AI

There's to be an inquiry into the Covid pandemic. It will start in Spring next year. We speak to one of the women who's been pushing for it, but still thinking it's starting too late. Her name is Jean Adamson from the Covid-19 Bereaved families For Justice. Scarlett Moffatt, famous for Gogglebox and winning I'm A Celebrity ... has just become an ambassador for The Samaritans. She talks to Woman's Hour about how reality television has affected her mental health, and exchanges experiences with...


Female Astronauts, Second Chances, Jackie Weaver, Celebs and the male gaze

A total of 65 women have been into space - compared with 501 men. The last time the European Space Agency recruited for their Class of 2009, only 16% of applications came from women. That process led to Just one - Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy - being chosen. In a break from training for a 2022 mission to the International Space Station, Samantha joins Emma to discuss why so few women apply to be astronauts, the skills needed to make it in space, and how women can put themselves forward...


Mona Eltahawy on embracing female anger; Maternal ambivalence; Women in the Senedd

'We need to dismantle the patriarchy' is a familiar feminist rallying cry. But Egyptian-American writer and activist Mona Eltahawy believes we should stop just saying it, and start actively defying and disrupting the patriarchy now - with force if necessary. Mona's latest book is The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls. She joins Emma to explain why she wrote it with enough 'rage to fuel a rocket.' In a recent article, writer and travel editor at the Independent, Cathy Adams said she...


Singer-songwriter Dodie, TikTok and domestic workers in the Middle East

How domestic workers in the Middle East are using the video sharing app TikTok to raise awareness of abuse. Louise Donovan from the Fuller Project tells us how she found these women and why they are turning to TikTok. Dodie has just released her debut album Build A Problem. At just 26 she has already made a name for herself as a singer and a writer amassing millions of fans through her Youtube Channel with her intimate singing style and honest unflinching videos. She joins Emma to play a...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Tracey Emin; Susan Rogers, Prince's sound engineer; Panic attacks

Tracey Emin was one of the leading figures of the Young British Artists movement of the 1990s. She has recently undergone radical surgery to treat bladder cancer. For her latest exhibition - The Loneliness of the Soul – she has selected masterpieces by Edvard Munch to show alongside her most recent paintings. Mental health blogger and author of ‘F**K I Think I'm Dying: How I learned to live with panic’, Claire Eastham explains how she manages her panic attacks. She is joined by...


Covid in India; Susan Rogers, Prince's sound engineer; panic attacks; the novel Careless

India remains in the grip of a Covid crisis with record numbers of cases being reported every day. Oxygen and vaccines are running out and hospitals are overwhelmed. Save The Children has warned it could be facing thousands of additional deaths among children under five and an increase in maternal deaths, as hospitals and clinics are directing most of its staff and medicines to coping with Covid-19 patients. We hear from Dr Rajesh Khanna about the work he is doing to help women and children...


Anya Hindmarch, Women on Boards, Rosie Aycliffe, Ruthie Henshall on Care Homes

In 2016 Mia Ayliffe Chung was killed at a remote farmworkers’ hostel while backpacking in Australia. What she didn’t realise at the time and what her mum Rosie Ayliffe later discovered was backpackers like Mia were exposed to widespread exploitation including sexual harassment, inadequate health and safety and substandard living conditions. Since Mia's death Rosie has been campaigning to improve conditions for young casual workers, helping to change the law in three of the six states of...


Tracey Emin; Women and Nightclubs; Young Children and Mental Health

Tracey Emin was one of the leading figures of the Young British Artists movement of the 1990s. Hers is a uniquely provocative, confessional style which confronts issues such as trauma of abortion, rape, alcoholism and sexual history. Her famous artworks include: Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 and she came to greater prominence in 1999 with a Turner Prize nomination for her famous piece My Bed. One of her most powerful works is a hand-crafted quilt called Psycho Slut, with texts...


Male fertility; Gordon Brown on global vaccination; Celebrating Ailsa Burkimsher Sadler and Caroline Norton.

Fertility rates around the world are declining. It's partly through choice, as couples decide to have smaller families. But it's also the case that sperm levels among men in Western countries have halved in the past 40 years. . So what's going on? Shanna Swan, a Professor of Environmental Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York thinks we should be paying much more attention to the chemicals in our environment that come from everyday products - as her research is showing consistent effects on...


Breaking barriers to cycling for women

Have you always wanted to get on a bike, but something is holding you back? This is the programme for you, presented by Melanie Abbott. If you're completely new to cycling, there's no doubt it's intimidating on the roads. It's definitely worth sharpening up your road sense and many local councils now offer bike training courses. In East London, Bikeworks run cycling for wellbeing sessions for women returning to their bikes, after a long break. Melanie goes out with a group who've been...


Weekend Woman’s Hour: Dawn French; Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s sentence; Women’s Football

Today if you are a woman you are likely to live into your eighties. But what to do with those extra couple of decades? Dawn French is best known for her comedy and acting and is now an author long listed for the Women’s Prize. She talks about reinvention and still being relevant at any age. Kate Wilson talks about her court case against the Metropolitan Police and the National Police Chiefs Council. She's taking the legal action because she fell in love with a man who wasn't who he said he...


Morris Dancing, Jacqui Oatley & Ben Bloom, Maya Foa & Andrew Mitchell MP, Bletchley veteran Betty Webb

Anita Rani talks to Boss Morris the all-female Morris dancing team based in Gloucester who'll be marking May Day by leading a livestreamed dance. We hear from Bletchley Park veteran Betty Webb and discuss the issue of female football commentary and whether it needs to should become more critical as the success of the game develops. Around 15 British families remain detained in North East Syria. A new report released today by the NGO Reprieve suggests that the majority of British women there...


Arlene Foster, Kate Wilson, Kelly Critcher

Arlene Foster, First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the DUP, has stood down. She was the first woman and the youngest person to hold both jobs. In her resignation announcement she said that her election as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party broke a glass ceiling, and she also spoke about the trolling she's received. We discuss what her legacy will be. Kate Wilson has been giving evidence at The Royal Courts of Justice because she's suing The Metropolitan Police and the...


Dawn French, Claire Findlay, Second Chances, Caroline Slocock

Emma Barnett talks to Dawn French about her fourth novel "Because of You" which has been longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and we'll find out later today if it's made the shortlist. She'll also be talking about the post-menopausal years when women often say they feel invisible, afraid of change, unemployable or just plain 'past it'. If you're an Archers listener you'll be familiar with Alice's story of having a baby as an alcoholic and the stigma and struggle she faces. Our...


Nazanin's sentence and women's rights in Iran, The Barbizon Hotel, Orgasms

We now know that Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has been sentenced to another year in an Iranian prison, plus she's banned from travelling abroad. This time she's charged with spreading propaganda. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has not seen his wife since her initial imprisonment in 2016 and is living in London with their six year old daughter Gabriella. He maintains that his wife was imprisoned as leverage for a debt owed by the UK over its failure to deliver tanks to Iran in the seventies...


Breast cancer and cognitive behavioural therapy, The history of make-up, Second children

New research out today from the charity Breast Cancer Now, indicates that training breast care nurses to deliver Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - or CBT - can be effective in alleviating the distressing menopausal symptoms that some women experience as a result of breast cancer treatment. Emma discusses with Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Now and Natalie, who had breast cancer aged 37, and suffered frequent and debilitating hot flushes and night sweats while undergoing...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Julia Gillard on girls' education; Pauline Black of The Selecter; Dogs in Lockdown

We hear from former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard who is working to help children from developing countries get a quality education. Josephine Kamara and Selina Nkoile are Youth Leaders for Global Partnership for Education and are campaigning to keep girls in education. Pauline Black, lead singer of ska band The Selecter talks about her upbringing and the 2 Tone anti-racism message of the late 70s. Professor Basky Thilaganathan from St George’s Hospital talks about the rarely...


Daphne Oram - one of electronic music's female pioneers

In 'Come Fly the World', journalist Julia Cooke explores the history and legacy of Pan Am, one of the world’s most iconic airlines. Julia focuses on the adventurous lives and careers of the international jet-age stewardesses of Pan Am – a job which no longer exists - who were expected to fit a specific physical profile, speak multiple languages and demonstrate diplomacy. As the women worked to maintain the glamourous image of Pan Am, they interacted with international politicians and helped...


Diver Christine Grosart on 'Ghost Fishing'; Katya Adler discusses Annalena Baerbock; Teenage drinking research; Foetal medicine

Angela Merkel steps down as Chancellor or Prime minister of Germany in September. Nicknamed Mutti or mummy she has held the top job since 2005 so her departure is a huge shift at a challenging time in global and national politics. All eyes are focused on possible successors and one candidate in the frame is Annalena Baerbock. On Monday, the Green Party announced she would be its choice to take over from Angela Merkel. She is likely to be the only woman in the race for the job and she already...


Sexist abuse of MPs, Town Crier Brenda Willison, Vanessa Frake on The Governor, Second Chances

Vanessa Frake worked in the prison service for 27 years. For 16 of those years she was the head of security and operations at the notorious male prison Wormwood Scrubs. Her career saw her cross paths with some of Britain's most notorious criminals. She was the main officer responsible for serial killer Rose West whilst she awaited trial, she was made a cup of tea by Myra Hindley, and she looked after Pete Doherty. Vanessa was awarded an MBE for her work in the prison service in 2012, and...