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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



Highlights from the Woman's Hour week


Pretty Privilege, Baby Deaths Report, Thea Gilmore, Victory for rubbish stink woman

Are you familiar with the phrase ‘pretty privilege’? A new trend on Tik Tok is seeing young women sharing stories about when they first realised good looks can get you far in life. From relationships, to work, and even within the legal system – the association between beauty and talent, social success and health is a real thing. Anita Rani talks about the issue with model Marike Wessels, and Caterina Gentili from the Centre for Appearance Research. A new report investigating the serious harm...


Dame Elizabeth Anionwu; Alison Goldsworthy; Linda Edwards; Ministerial reshuffle

With a career spanning five decades, Britain’s first sickle cell and thalassemia nurse specialist, Prof Dame Elizabeth Anionwu revolutionised treatment of the disease. As an academic, she became a professor and dean of the nursing school at the University of West London, then established the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice, to address racial inequalities in the profession. When she retired she campaigned for a statue in honour of the pioneering Jamaican nurse, Mary Seacole. She...


Amy Hart, Covid Limbo, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP

Amy Hart, who was on Love Island two years ago was in front of politicians yesterday describing the problems she's had on social media. Appearing in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee she explained that she's been trolled by nurses, and she found out that a 13 year old boy had sent her death threats. We tells us how she copes. Professor Devi Sridhar from The University of Edinburgh talks to us about the Government's Plan A, Plan B and Plan C for covid as we go...


Women rowers in Venice; Former Afghan women's minister; Julia Peyton-Jones; Non-disclosure agreements

It's the first year in which women and men are awarded equal prize money in Venice's annual rowing race, the Regata Storica. Emma speaks to lead campaigner and professional rower, Elena Almansi. This week the Taliban announced that all women must wear hijab and will be segregated in universities. Emma is joined by the former Minister for Women's Affairs, Hasina Safi, who is now with her family in a hotel in the UK having escaped under cover in the final days of the evacuation. Emma also...


Jennifer Saunders, Fashion editor Justine Picardie on the real "Miss Dior"

From Ab Fab to Jam & Jerusalem, Jennifer Saunders has been gracing our TV screens for decades. She now returns to theatre as eccentric mystic Madame Arcati in a production of Noel Coward’s comedy Blithe Spirit. She discusses what attracted her to the role and reflects on her wide ranging comedy career. When a cancer nurse Aimee Winfield posted on social media about how much she was looking forward to a break, it provoked a flurry of abusive messages. She talks to Emma about the impact it's...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Michaela Coel, Rafia Zakaria & Japanese ‘Womeneconomics’

We hear from the Screenwriter, director, producer and actor Michaela Coel about her first book ‘Misfits: A Personal Manifesto’. The book draws on topics covered in her MacTaggart lecture in which she spoke about dealing with trauma and the ways in which young creatives are exploited by the television industry. Sarah Gilbert the scientist who led the team that developed the Oxford Vaccine tells us why she doesn’t think we all need booster covid jabs this winter and tells us about being named...


Comedian Sophie Willan, Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Emma Raducanu, the Unofficial Bridgerton the Musical Afghanistan update

In May this this year, the comedian Sophie Willan won a BAFTA for best comedy writing, for the pilot episode of her BBC 2 comedy Alma’s Not Normal. She now has a six part series on BBC2 which begins on Monday night. Drawn from her own experiences, she plays the central character Alma who grew up in an out of the care system in Bolton. We find her eternally optimistic with no job or qualifications trying to get her life on track and follow her dreams. British teenager Emma Raducanu has...


Coughing; Rafia Zakaria; Rosie Jones; Population and climate; Cressida Dick

Thanks to Covid, coughing in public has joined the ranks of socially-unacceptable behaviours. Anecdotally there seems to have been a decline in coughing in theatre audiences since Covid came on the scene. This suggests that loud, irritating throat clearances may not have been necessary physical responses to obstructions after all. Emma talks to Dr Kim Dienes from Swansea University about the social side of coughing and tips for suppressing that irritating tickle. Pakistani-American author...


Jennifer Hudson on Aretha Franklin; Julie Bindel; Social Care; and Soviet Women in WWII.

RESPECT, is the new Aretha Franklin biopic which will be released this Friday. Aretha Franklin handpicked the Oscar Award winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson to play her in the film. Jennifer talks to us about her relationship with Aretha, their parallel life stories, their grounding in gospel music and the guiding force of the women in their lives. The government has announced plans to reform the way social care is funded in England. National Insurance contributions from your wage...


Michaela Coel, Lockdown in paradise, Female HGV drivers, Tribunal win

In 2015, Michaela Coel’s Channel 4 series "Chewing Gum", adapted from a one-woman play she wrote while in drama school, about an awkward virgin became an instant hit. She's an established screenwriter, director, producer and actor and now well know for shows like "I May Destroy You," a story based on her own experience. She talks to Emma Barnett about her first book ‘Misfits: A Personal Manifesto’ which is a call for honesty, empathy, inclusion and champions those who don’t fit in. As you’ll...


Val McDermid on Miss Marple; Sarah Harding's death; Sam Quek; Japanese 'Womeneconomics'

Miss Marple is one of the classic heroines of crime fiction. Quick-witted, devilishly observant and with a keen sense of justice, Jane Marple has delighted readers since she first appeared in a series of short stories by Agatha Christie in 1927. But now, almost a century later, she is being given a new lease of life in a collection of short stories penned by twelve of today's most famous crime writers, due out next year. Queen of crime fiction Val McDermid joins Emma to talk about writing...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Greenham Common, 'Girlboss' & the magic of Mirrors

Forty years ago a campaign group called Women for Life on Earth marched from Cardiff to the Greenham Common RAF Base in Berkshire to protest against the British government allowing US nuclear missiles on British Soil. We hear from two women Rebecca Mordan, co-author of Out of the Darkness Greenham Voices 1981-2000 and Sue Ray who were part of the original movement and are walking to Greenham Common again this week. We hear from Fran Lebowitz the American writer, social commentator,...


Roe v. Wade, Girlboss and women of colour, Conscious sex work, Greenham Common banners

In Texas, a law banning abortion from as early as six weeks into pregnancy has come into force this week. This means that a woman can't have an abortion once a foetal heartbeat is heard, something medical authorities say is misleading. On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court refused an appeal from reproductive health care organisation, Planned Parenthood to stop the law. What will this mean for women and abortion access in Texas? “Girlboss” has been used as a term of empowerment - referring to a...


Fran Lebowitz, Parent Blame, Heiresses

She's been described as the funniest woman in America. We talk to Fran Lebowitz, the American writer, social commentator, humorist, and New York legend. She shares her opinion on everything from gender, Covid and marriage. We hear from our political correspondent at Holyrood about proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act in Scotland. Do you have a child with special educational needs, and are you getting the support that you need? We hear from one mother who's been trying to do the...


Greenham Common, Afghan Refugee Resettlement, Sarah Rainsford, Rebecca Welch

Forty years ago this week, 36 people from a campaign group called Women for Life on Earth marched from Cardiff to the Greenham Common RAF base in Newbury in Berkshire to protest against the British government allowing US nuclear missiles on British soil. They stayed there for almost 20 years. Last week another group set-out from Cardiff to follow the route of the original protesters. We speak to Rebecca Mordan and Sue Say live from their walk. For the last few weeks on Woman's Hour, we've...


Cookery pioneer Claudia Roden, getting a SEN diagnosis, the impact of vaccine hesitancy among care workers

It is not an exaggeration to call Claudia Roden a culinary pioneer. For over 50 years she has been collecting recipes from home cooks throughout the MIddle East and Mediterranean. She shares with Emma details of her new “Med” based on remembered dishes that she’s encountered over decades. Care home managers in England say they're terrified of future staff shortages because of the 'no jab, no job' policy, brought in by the government, which says care home workers have to be double vaccinated...


Afghanistan, Paralympics, Mary Poppins

We get the latest on Afghanistan with BBC journalist Sana Safi and talk to Seema Malhotra MP whose constituency in West London has a large Afghan community. She explains the help that's being provided to refugees. We go live to BBC Sports Correspondent Katie Smith in Tokyo who talks about female success at the Paralympics in Tokyo. We hear a live performance from the Zizi Strallen who plays Mary Poppins in the West End. She sings Practically Perfect accompanied by Isaac McCullough on the...


Listener Week: Afghanistan, Women and trades, Being Average, Clearing out the attic, Titles

Alice Bromage served in Afghanistan as a Major and left in 2016. She tells us what's she is hearing from the troops serving on the ground in Afghanistan. A recent survey revealed that tradespeople are £35,000 better off than university graduates. But only 14.5% of the construction workforce as a whole is female, and that drops to just 2% when it comes to skilled manual trades, according to CITB figures. Emma hears from painter and decorator Barbara Marshfield, plasterer Steph Leese and Fiona...


Sislin Fay Allen, The situation for women in Afghanistan, Miss, Ms, Mx or Mrs?, Women & Pensions, Women & Munitions

Two explosions hit Kabul airport yesterday, killing some 90 people and at least 150 people were also wounded in the attack. The UK government has just announced the final stages of the evacuation... which means the processing centre at the airport has been closed and no further people will be called forward. So what is the situation on the ground for the women and children in Afghanistan? Anita speaks to Mahjooba Nowrouzi, from the BBC Afghan Service. Raffaela Baiocchi is an Italian...