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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


Sharon Horgan, Sport and periods, Fangirls

The British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith had to stop running at the European Championships this week because of cramp. She said it was because of her period, and now she's calling for more research into periods and sporting performance. Hepatahlon Olympic Bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton comes onto the programme, as well as Dr Richard Burden who's co-lead on Female Health & Performance at the English Institute of Sport We talk to Sharon Horgan and Eve Hewson, about a new black comedy series...


Alison Rodgers, Dan Scorer, Ros Coward, Anita Anand, Sarah Class, Tracey Cox, Dr Tristram Wyatt

If you’re a social media user you may well be familiar with the concept of vabbing – vaginal dabbing – where you use vaginal fluid as a perfume behind the ears and neck. Proponents claim it acts as an aphrodisiac to would-be lovers by spreading pheromones. Emma Barnett talks to sex expert Tracey Cox and the evolutionary biologist Dr Tristram Hunt. Have you tried it? Does it work? And is it sanitary? Adam Downs is one of 15 people with learning disabilities who is in a high security hospital....


Britain's secret war babies, Naomi Stadlen, Health impacts of anal sex

Mary Phillips was born to a white British mother and an African American GI father – who she never met. She was one of around two thousand mixed-race children born into white, rural communities after the second world war. She joins Emma Barnett to tell the story of how she found her four half siblings in America, decades later, and what she found out about her father. Who do Conversative-voting young women want to be their next Prime Minister? Woman's Hour can reveal new data from Ella...


Musician Self Esteem, Baroness Minouche Shafik and Female Astronomers

Self Esteem is creating pop with purpose, tackling the patriarchy, sexual abuse and toxic relationships to a fun danceable beat. She is nominated for this year's Mercury Prize for her second album Prioritise Pleasure and joins Emma in the studio. The cost of living crisis has been a central point of contention between the two candidates vying to be our next Prime Minister. Emma is joined by Baroness Minouche Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics. Previously deputy governor at...


Women in Afghanistan one year after the Taliban took control, Children's Commissioner Rachel de Souza

It has been a year since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. The country is in economic crisis, there are droughts and the lives of women and girls have been impacted hugely. Emma is joined by an expert panel including the first female deputy speaker for the Afghanistan Parliament Fawzia Koofi, the former Women’s Minister Hasina Safi and Samira Sayed Rahman, from the International Rescue Committee. They will discuss access to education for girls, what role the international community...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Leah Williamson, Women and Partition, Afghan women's radio

Having led the England women’s team to Euro 2022 victory, the Lionesses' captain, Leah Williamson, reflects on the Euro 2022 victory and answers young listeners' questions. The Armed Forces are not reaching their targets in terms of recruiting women. The MOD is hoping to increase the proportion of women in the armed forces to 30% by 2030 but they have not met the target set for 2020. We discuss with Lauren Godier-McBard and Ria Jackson. It's the end of an era - the actor playing Peggy in The...


The Partition of India in 1947 and its impact on Women

It’s been described as one of the most seismic events of the 20th century, but how did the Partition of the former imperial domain of British India into two countries, India and Pakistan, affect women? The split led to violence, disruption and death with women facing kidnapping, rape and forced suicide. It was a time of huge destruction and disruption but it was also a time of courage, compassion and survival of the women who overcame trauma to somehow rebuild their lives. We hear from...


England Captain Leah Williamson

Having led the England women’s team to Euro 2022 victory, Lionesses captain Leah Williamson joins Woman’s Hour for a very special programme. Leah joins Jessica Creighton to reflect on winning England’s first major trophy since 1966 and to discuss the future of women’s football both at the elite level and in schools. She also talks about her passions outside of football, including being a DJ. Jessica and Leah speak to Radio 1’s Adele Roberts and Dr Kelly Jakubowski, from Durham University who...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Recognition for first England women's football team, Harriet Harman MP & the poet Lady Unchained

In a report published on Friday, the Joint Committee on Human Rights says the Government bears ultimate responsibility for the pain and suffering caused by public institutions and state employees that railroaded mothers in the 1950s, 60s and 70s into unwanted adoptions in England and Wales. Anita Rani speaks to Harriet Harman MP, who is Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Veronica Smith, founder member of the Movement for an Adoption Apology. TikTok has become one of the most...


Tennis icon Serena Williams, Recruiting women to the armed forces, Afghan women radio, Stem cell donors, Women and bodybuilding

It looks like Serena Williams is leaving tennis. She's won 23 grand slam titles and four Olympic golds but has suggested it's time to move on. She's made the announcement in Vogue, where she's said retirement - "causes a great deal of pain. I hate it." So she hasn't explicitly said she's giving up but she's given a large hint, saying she wants to focus on her family. Jessica Creighton speaks to former tennis player, Jo Durie and sports journalist Natasha Henry about the tennis icon. The...


Brit and Mercury Prize-winning singer Heather Small, Chronic illness, Abortion

The British-born actor and singer Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of 73. Best remembered for playing the iconic role of Sandy in the musical film Grease. We pay tribute with Stockard Channing who played Rizzo in Grease, and the film critic Karen Krizanovich and Olivia Moore who is currently playing her in the stage version in London's west end. Brit & Mercury prize winner Heather Small on ‘Colour My Life’, her first album in sixteen years. For the album, she teamed up with the London...


Child strip searches, Dr Sam Roberts of NICE

In 2020, a black 15-year-old schoolgirl, known as Child Q, was strip-searched by police while on her period after being wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis. A safeguarding report on the incident concluded it was unjustified and racism was "likely" to have been a factor. New data published by the Children’s Commissioner has found what she calls a “concerning” number of children have been strip-searched by the Metropolitan Police without an appropriate adult present. BBC reporter Celestina...


England's netballers - the Roses, School exclusions, South Asian women in WWII, Rape survivors and therapy, Women artists

This time last week we were looking forward to the big match: The Lionesses at the European Championship Final at Wembley. We hoped, but we just couldn't predict what would happen, but what a great moment when they won against Germany! But don't let the success of women's football overshadow the sport that's been with us all along: netball. At the Commonwealth Games, the English team - known as the Roses - are in the semi-final tomorrow, up against Australia. If they win, they'll be in the...


Manipulating body images in ads. National Poet of Wales Hanan Issa . Abortion stories. Nancy Pelosi Taipei visit.

Last week we talked about the Spanish equality ministry’s summer campaign promoting body positivity on the beach featuring diverse women of different shapes and sizes. But the campaign has received a lot of criticism since as it used multiple women’s images without their permission. We hear from one, Juliet Fitzpatrick who had a double mastectomy, who believes her face was manipulated and put onto the body of another woman - who had only one of her breasts removed. US House Speaker Nancy...


Euros 22 legacy, Kansas and abortion rights, Dance music and women, Sam Smith, Juliette Pochin

Kansas is the first state in the US to decide in a referendum to protect abortion rights in a major victory for pro-choice groups. What impact could this have across the rest of America after the overturning of Roe vs Wade? Professor Fiona De Londras, Chair of Global Legal Studies at Birmingham Law School updates us. The Lionesses win is still being celebrated, with thousands gathering in Trafalgar Square on Monday to celebrate. The women’s game, however, has a history of being dramatically...


Commonwealth Games, Body image and mental health report, Lizzo and Beyonce lyrics, Personality disorders

The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are underway and for the first time in a major multi-sport event, more medals will be awarded to women than men, with the medal programme confirming a total of 136 events for women compared to 134 for men. Jessica speaks to BBC Sports presenter Clare Balding as well as the first ever female Chef de Mission for Team Scotland, who for the first time have more women competing in their team than men. Six weeks after pop star Lizzo changed the lyrics of her...


Women's Euro 2022

In today's Woman's Hour we dedicate the programme to Women's Football after the Lionesses won the Euro 2022 Championship last night. Rebecca Myers is a journalist for The Times and a prominent voice in Women's Sport, she joined Andrea to give a match report and described some of her favourite moments. What will the legacy of last night’s Women’s Euro 2022 be? The former lioness and second highest goal scorer for England Kelly Smith joins Andrea Catherwood alongside Dame Heather Rabbatts,...


Actor Samantha Womack, The Lionesses win, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, Dear Daughter podcast, Jane Roe's daughter, The Home Edit

The actor Samantha Womack on her new role as the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. As the Lionesses reach the final of the Euros on Sunday let's not forget that the FA, the Football Assocation, banned the women's game for fifty years. Jacqui Oatley, the first female Match of the Day commentator, reflects on the women's game. Women with learning disabilities die on average 26 years younger than the general population. In her first interview since taking up the role of chair...


Fiona Govan, Louisa McGeehan, Tom Bennett, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, Namulanta Kombo, Helen Wood.

We talk to journalist Fiona Govan based in Madrid who writes for Olive Press about the controversy surrounding a new ad campaign in Spain proclaiming “All Bodies are Beach Bodies”. Posters including women of all shapes and sizes, including women with mastectomies with a slogan “Summer Belongs to Us too.” Helpful messaging? Or “absurd” as some opposition politicians claim which is creating “a problem where it doesn’t exist”. Should children who misbehave be excluded permanently from school?...


Clea and Joanna from The Home Edit, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, Menopause report

Friends and business partners Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin have become stars of pandemic feel-good TV, with their Netflix show Get Organised with The Home Edit. They go into someone’s home – be it a Hollywood celebrity or a stressed family of five - and transform a cluttered space into something beautiful and functional. The emphasis is firmly on giving busy women back some time and headspace through better organisation of their homes. Clea and Joanna join Emma to give some pro tips and...