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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


Kate Shortman & Izzy Thorpe, Dame Katherine Grainger, Nicola Adams, Anna Kessel, Frankie Miren, Laura Middleton-Hughes.

The Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics starts today and Team GB are taking more women athletes than men for the first time in 125 years. Of the 376 athletes selected, 201 are female. So could this be the best ever Games for women? We talk to Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain's joint most decorated female Olympian and Chair of UK Sport; double Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams and Anna Kessel, Women's Sport Editor at The Telegraph. Staying with the games, we’ll hear from artistic...


Off the Rails Film, Bella Mackie, Long Covid, #MeToo around the world

Jules Williamson has directed her first feature film in her fifties. The premier is tonight. Off the Rails is a celebration of women. It centres round four friends who went Inter-railing when they were 19, who when one of them dies, revisit the same journey later in life taking her daughter this time. It’s a comedy drama with a great female cast - starring Sally Phillips, the late Kelly Preston (in her final role), Dame Judi Dench and Jenny Seagrove. Jules and Sally Phillips join Chloe...


Amy Winehouse remembered; Women's cricket; Botox and fillers; Violence against women strategy

This Friday marks 10 years since the tragic death of the singer Amy Winehouse from alcohol poisoning at the age of just 27. A new documentary film, Reclaiming Amy on BBC 2 on Friday at 9pm features Amy's closest friends and family and seeks to tell the story of the real Amy. We hear from her mother, Janis and close friend Catriona Gourlay. A brand-new cricket competition, the Hundred is launching today. It's the first time a major team sport competition, which features both male and female...


Typewriters; Canadian residential schools; Isy Suttie; Stealthing

In the digital age, the humble typewriter seems rather quaint. But according to a new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, the typewriter is a technology with a key role in the story of female emancipation. The exhibition's principal curator, Alison Taubman, talks to Chloe Tilley about how typewriters provided a key opening into the world of work, propelled women into the public sphere, and played a major role in the fight for women's suffrage. More than 1000 bodies of indigenous...


Maria Callas, Loulou Storey & Lucy Adlington on casual workwear, International Aid legal challenge & slavery reparations

Maria Callas is one of the most famous opera singers. She was brought up in New York and Greece by an emotionally abusive mother who forced her to sing. Despite being admired by Hollywood stars and royalty, she fought sexism to rise to the top but never had a happy private life. Lyndsy Spence's new book Cast a Diva draws on previously unseen documents to reveal her tragic story. Stacie Marshall has inherited her family's farm in a small Appalachian valley in the US state of Georgia. She'd...


Weekend Woman's Hour: The Three Hijabis, 150 years of Female GPs & going braless

Three female football fans – hashtag ‘TheThreeHijabis - as they called themselves set up a petition calling for racists to be banned for life from all football matches in England. Shaista Aziz, Amna Abdullatif and Huda Jawad tell us about the petition which now has over a million signatories. As the Royal College of GPs marks 150 years of women in general practice we ask why more than half of GPs in the UK are women. We also discuss why women GP’s may still face issues like lower pay...


Bronwen Lewis, Football Racists Ban and 'The Three Hijabis', Pregnancy & the Covid Vaccine, The Joy of Skating

Bronwen Lewis is a Welsh singer songwriter whose style sits between Country, Pop, Folk and Blues. She starred in the BAFTA Award Winning and Golden Globe nominated film ‘Pride’ where she sang the theme song ‘Bread and Roses' and brought Tom Jones to tears during her time on BBC’s The Voice in 2013. Proudly bilingual, this year her TikTok following grew as she went viral for her Welsh language covers of famous Pop songs and singing the Welsh National anthem in the lead up to the Wales v...


Going braless; Em Sheldon and trolling; Continued shielding; Anne Theroux

After more than a year of many of us working from home during the pandemic, there's been a lot of talk about the lack of requirement to put on a bra. Just this week actor Gillian Anderson announced that her relationship with bras is over. Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, Professor in Biomechanics at University of Portsmouth talks to Emma about the pros and cons of not wearing a bra. Social media influencers who document their lifestyles receive daily online abuse which increases when they promote...


Deborah James; Colin Pitchfork Parole and Falling in love with an object

Deborah James is a the host of the BBC's You, Me And The Big C podcast, a campaigner, writer and mother of two. As @bowelbabe she blogs about living with stage 4 bowel cancer since Christmas 2016. After trialling experimental drugs she was told she had ‘no sign of active disease’, not once but twice. She joins Emma to discuss her recent experience of liver failure followed by sepsis, how she attended Wimbledon only 12 hours after leaving hospital, her mission to protect cancer care, and why...


150 years of female GPs. Chief Constable of the British Transport Police Lucy D’Orsi. Anne Sebba on US spy Ethel Rosenberg.

This week, the Royal College of GPs is marking 150 years of women in general practice. More than half of GPs in the UK are women - but despite this, many still face issues like lower pay compared to men in their field. President of the College, Dr Amanda Howe and GP trainee, Dr Sophie Lumley join Emma to discuss why general practice is so appealing to women - and if they should continue to fill the ranks. Lucy D’Orsi, the new Chief Constable of the British Transport police is declaring a...


Baroness Cumberlege, Euro 2020 men's football final, Equality in opera

Baroness Julia Cumberlege, who led a critical review into how the health service has treated female patients, says she is angry and frustrated that not enough progress has been made. A year ago her report looked into two drugs and a medical device which caused women or their babies harm. It made a list of recommendations to support victims and prevent future, avoidable damage. The four UK governments are still considering the recommendations. Baroness Cumberlege joins Emma. It’s been four...


Lady Lavinia Nourse; Caitlin Moran; Female truckers; Comedian Gina Yashere; Football and Atomic Kitten

Lady Lavinia Nourse, the 77-year-old widow of the High Court judge Sir Martin Nourse was cleared of all 17 counts of historical child sex abuse involving a boy under the age of 12. In her first broadcast interview, she tells Emma about the case and why she's calling for those accused of child abuse to be granted anonymity until charged. There is a huge shortage of road hauliers in the UK. But of the half a million licensed lorry drivers, only 5% are women. Why is this? And what would...


Gina Yashere; Afghanistan; WAGs; Helen Epega

British comic Gina Yashere has made it big on both sides of the Atlantic. A veteran of the UK comedy scene, she's also had huge success in the US. Now she's just released her first book, a memoir called 'Cack-Handed' in which she writes about growing up as a child of Nigerian immigrants in working-class London, and how this unique background helped her to make it in Hollywood. The Prime Minister confirmed yesterday the end of Britain's mission in Afghanistan. It follows the decision by US...


The Euros, Money, Atomic Kitten

The Footie! England's through to the final of the Euros after a nail biting match against Denmark last night. We speak to Emma Hayes, Chelsea Women Manager who was on the TV commentary team last night; to Jacqui Oatley who's commentated for World Cups and European Championships for both the BBC and ITV, and to Jane Merrick, Policy Editor at the i newspaper who tweeted last night about loving the celebration. We also hear from 2 members of Atomic Kitten, who sing us some of their song, Whole...


Lady Lavinia Nourse; Early labour; Chile’s constitution

Lady Lavinia Nourse is calling for those accused of child abuse to be granted anonymity until charged. Speaking exclusively to Woman’s Hour just over a month after she was cleared of child sex abuse, the 77-year-old widow of the High Court judge Sir Martin Nourse was cleared of all 17 counts of historical child sex abuse involving a boy under the age of 12. In her first broadcast interview, she tells Emma Barnett what she wants to achieve by speaking out, and the trauma of the ordeal. Emma...


Female truckers; Dealing with disappointment; Caitlin Moran; Maternity failings

There is currently a huge shortage of road hauliers in the UK. According to the Road Haulage Association, up to 100,000 more lorry drivers are needed to transport the food, medicines and equipment vital to the UK economy. It’s estimated that 95% of all the products we consume are at some point moved around by road freight. And with Brexit, the Suez Canal blockage, and coronavirus restrictions causing big logistical issues, more people are urgently needed…. But of the half a million licensed...


Claudia Winkleman, Yvette Cooper, Heidi Carter, Lillie Harris

Studies have found that men are more reluctant than women to wear face covers. So, in a couple of weeks when restrictions are likely to be lifted, making it a personal choice, what are we likely to see happen. Emma talks to Christina Gravert, behavioural economist from the University of Copenhagen. Labour’s Yvette Cooper tells Emma about an amendment she's tabling today to the Police Courts Crime and Sentencing Bill to try to change the law on common assault. Critics of the law are concerned...


Weekend Woman's Hour - Libby Scott and mum Kym on Autism, the future of the High Street & Anne Robinson

The novelist Libby Scott has just released her third novel ‘Ways to Be Me’ in collaboration with the author Rebecca Westcott. Along with her mum she tells us about her new book and it’s realistic portrayal of autism, and her own diagnosis at the age of 10. The presenter, journalist and “Queen of Mean”, Anne Robinson, tells us about becoming the first female host of Channel 4’s longest running series Countdown We discuss why the future of the high street needs to put women at the centre of...


Rachel Weisz; Euro 2020; Kanya d’Almeida; Abortion in Northern Ireland; Emily Rapp Black

Rachel Weisz seems to have had constant work in the film industry since the early nineties. She's been in all kind of films: historical, action, science fiction, serious, art-house. Now she's diving into the world of superheroes with the new Marvel film, 'Black Widow'. Anita speaks to her about her latest role. The nation is transfixed - after many years of hurt could England be on the road to winning a major trophy? Football journalist Flo Lloyd-Hughes joins Anita. Sri Lankan author Kanya...


Mary Portas & Suzannah Clarke; Summer childcare; Eilidh Doyle; Mackenzy Beard; Prof Dame Caroline Dean

The future of the High Street looked challenging before the pandemic but as shops have reopened it’s become evident how urgent the situation now is. Many brands or their outlets have gone bankrupt or moved online. More than a decade ago Mary Portas outlined this trend with a government review into the problem, but she is now urging people to rethink their whole relationship with shopping and consumerism and move towards a 'kindness economy' as we come out of the lockdown. She has now written...