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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


Female Offender Strategy, Midwife shortage, Zara Rutherford, Annalena Baerbock

Concerns that the criminal justice system is not responsive enough to the specific needs of women are longstanding. In June 2018 the government published its Female Offender Strategy. It sought to reduce crime, pressure on services and the cost of dealing with women in the CJS, and to improve outcomes for women at all points in the system. The National Audit Office have just released a report examining the success of that strategy so far and are critical of the government’s efforts in...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Tracey Emin, Ashling Murphy, Adult Literacy

Artist Tracey Emin shares why she wants an artwork she donated to the government’s art collection to be removed from display in Number 10 Downing Street. Last Wednesday afternoon, 23-year-old school teacher Ashling Murphy was killed while jogging along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Ireland. The case has shocked the nation and revived concerns about women’s safety in public spaces in Ireland and the UK. We speak to Irish Times reporter Jade Wilson and veteran women's rights...


Mary Ward, Georgina Lucas & Ladette Culture

We discuss the life of Mary Ward the 17th century Catholic nun who actively championed education for girls - and even spent time in prison for her cause. Now, almost four hundred years after her death, Mary Ward's legacy lives on via a network of almost 200 Mary Ward schools worldwide – including St Mary's School in Cambridge. She is considered the first sister of feminism and a pioneer of female missionary work. Sister Jane Livesey and Charlotte Avery headmistress at St Mary’s school for...


The future of IVF. Self-love. Reclaim These Streets judicial review. ENB's Tamara Rojo.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh are preparing to begin testing a new IVF treatment which could allow women to freeze their eggs at a much younger age and increase the likelihood of successful pregnancies in older women. Professor Evelyn Telfer, chair of reproductive biology at the University discusses how this research could change fertility treatment in the future. We hear from artist Tracey Emin about why she she wants an artwork she donated to the government’s art collection...


Georgina Ballantine - record-breaking fisherwoman, Dame Rachel de Souza, Dianne McKay, Rising cost of living, Rachel Krantz

The Raise the Roof project in Perth in Scotland, is gathering the lesser-known histories of a number of influential and fearless women to feature in the new Perth City Hall Museum when it opens in early 2024. A list of over 50 women who have lived in Perth over the centuries – from a witch to a pioneering photographer and the first female MP has been drawn up. But it is down to a number of different community groups to decide which women will be celebrated. They will work with an artist to...


Netball, Ashling Murphy, Adult Literacy, Universities & NDAs

Yesterday on Woman's Hour we talked about the outpouring of grief in Ireland and beyond about the murder of Ashling Murphy. Today we are looking at solutions to ending violence against women. Sarah Benson, CEO Women's Aid Ireland joins Chloe. Universities are being called on to end the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements to silence complainants in sexual harassment cases by signing up to a new pledge today. Higher Education Minister Michelle Donelan MP joins Chloe to discuss her concerns that...


Winter Olympics; Ashling Murphy; Gender roles and parenting; Investing in female-founded companies

The Winter Olympics begin on 4th February in Beijing and Team GB will be sending around 50 athletes with the hopes of bringing back a clutch of medals. The run up to the Games has been challenging – Covid has made competition extremely difficult for athletes and there have been diplomatic rows over China’s human rights records - but who are our medal prospects? Chloe Tilley speaks to Georgina Harland, Britain’s first ever female Chef de Mission and Lizzy Yarnold, Britain’s most successful...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Anti vaccine mandate, Witchcraft, Helen Pankhurst

A midwife from a maternity unit tells us why she and over thirty of her colleagues are refusing to have the Covid jab. We hear from the Royal College of Nursing who want the Government to pause the vaccine mandate for NHS staff immediately because of the threat to an already understaffed NHS. And we speak to Professor Ian Jones, a Virologist at the University of Reading about the science of infection and transmission. Almost 300 years after the Witchcraft Acts were repealed, a bill has been...


Midwives refusing the vaccine, Spiking inquiry, 50 years of diet & fitness with Rosemary Conley, Slam poetry

A midwife from a maternity unit tells us why she and over thirty of her colleagues are refusing to have the Covid jab. They will all lose their jobs when the Government’s vaccine mandate for NHS staff comes into force on April 1st, putting the unit at risk, and leaving pregnant women wondering what it means for them and their babies. We also hear from the Royal College of Nursing who want the Government to pause the vaccine mandate for NHS staff immediately because of the threat to an...


Emma Gannon on her new book (Dis)connected, Virginia Giuffre US civil case, Helen Pankhurst

How can we have a healthier relationship with tech, the internet and social media? In her new book Disconnected, podcaster Emma Gannon looks at how we can take back control, set boundaries, and unlearn bad habits from doomscrolling to having opinions for opinion’s sake. She also reflects on whether a constructive call-out culture is more beneficial than cancel culture online. Helen Pankhurst, the granddaughter and the great-granddaughter of Suffragettes, Sylvia and Emmeline Pankhurst talks...


Safety of Women; Sarak Sak; Adjoa Andoh and Julie Cooper; Women on Coins; Adolescent Skin

Adjoa Andoh is British actor who has graced stage and screen and is perhaps best known as Bridgerton's Lady Danbury - but you may not be aware that in addition to being a director and producer she is also a writer. She has collaborated with the award-winning British composer Julie Cooper on the title track of a new album called Continuum. Julie wrote the music and Adjoa responded with a poem called "Hold out the Heart" capturing the emotions of the pandemic and timed to the ebb and flow of...


Rhian Graham, Who is Sue Gray?, Hopeline19

Who is Sue Gray, the civil servant tasked with investigating the Downing Street parties and has she been put in an impossible position? Caroline Slocock former private secretary to Margaret Thatcher and John Major and political journalist Jane Merrick discuss. Rhian Graham along with three other defendants were cleared of criminal damage by Bristol Crown Court after toppling the statue of the 17th century slave trader Edward Colston. Rhian joins Emma. Nearly 5000 messages have been left on a...


Helena Merriman, Bus driver Tracey Scholes, Pardons for women tried as witches

Three years ago, BBC radio broadcaster Helena Merriman received a shock diagnosis related to hearing loss after giving birth to her son. This prompted her to explore how people handle life-changing news about their health in a new radio series called Room 5 that airs on Radio 4 this week. Helena joins Emma to discuss the power of resilience. One of the first female bus drivers in the UK says she is fighting to keep her job after a new bus design left her unable to reach the pedals. Emma...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Putting your life on the page, Dr Lin Berwick, Poorna Bell

We explore why so many of us want to put our lives on the page. Can writing stand in for therapy? What are the ethical and moral considerations of such sharing. Julia Samuel is a psychotherapist and the author of Grief Works. Dr Lin Berwick MBE has cerebral palsy quadriplegia and became totally blind at the age of 15. She also has partial hearing loss and is a permanent wheelchair user. Now in her seventies, she has been a fierce advocate and ambassador for people with disabilities and their...


Preet Chandi/'Polar Preet'; 'Collector culture'; Playwright, Nell Leyshon; Drones & night street safety; Novelist, Nikki May;

British Army officer and physiotherapist Preet Chandi has made history as the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition in Antarctica. 'Polar Preet' trekked 700 miles in 40 days, facing temperatures of -50C, poor visibility and fatigue along the way. She used skis, and dragged a 90kg pulk (a sled) for between 10-12 hours a day. Preet catches up with us from the Union Glacier camp in Antarctica. 'Collector culture' - the swapping, collating and posting of nude images of women...


Jamie-Lee O'Donnell, Dr Lin Berwick, Women in the 1921 Census

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell is best known for playing the wise cracking Michelle in Channel 4’s Derry Girls, the comedy series about a group of teenagers growing up in 1990's Northern Ireland. Jamie-Lee has swapped the school uniform for a prison uniform for new drama Screw on Channel 4, about working in a men’s prison. This time last year shocking footage coming from Washington DC, as supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building, captured the world's attention. Two women, who were part...


Scottish Government consultation on gender recognition laws, Hazel Hunt, Pragna Patel, Rosie de Courcy & Megan Nolan

How widely is the Scottish Government consulting on its plans to allow people to legally change sex without a medical diagnosis? Emma Barnett speaks to Lisa Mackenzie from MurrayBlackburnMackenzie, an Edinburgh-based policy analysis collective who say the SNP is breaking a manifesto promise, by only meeting with groups representing trans rights since last May’s Holyrood election. Military mums rally in protest at the decision to award former Prime Minister Tony Blair a knighthood. Hazel...


Poorna Bell, Scars, Adele Parks

Many of us will be thinking about making a change for the better now that we're in a new year. Poorna Bell, author and journalist, gives us some inspiration and talks about getting stronger, both emotionally and physically. Poorna took it literally and started weight lifting after illness and bereavement. We hear from Dr Ann Olivarius a lawyer who specialises in sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination. She explains the technicalities of the civil claim against Prince Andrew, the Duke of...


Putting your life on the page with Ann Patchett, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Julia Samuel and Arifa Akbar

Today, Emma and guests explore why so many of us want to put our lives on the page. What stops us, what gets in the way and is it always a good idea? Is getting published the answer or are there are other ways to tell your stories. How different is writing personal essays or a memoir to creating a fictional world? Can writing stand in for therapy? What are the ethical and moral considerations of such sharing? To discuss these and many other questions Emma is joined by prize-winning author...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Sarah Ransome, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Donna Ward

British woman Sarah Ransome says she wanted to be at Ghislaine Maxwell trial when it started: not to testify but to see justice take its course. Like the four women who gave evidence, she says she's also a victim of Epstein's and Maxwell's. She tells us more about her story and Harriet Wistrich, founder of Centre for Women's Justice discusses the wider impact this case could have. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, is a world renowned human rights and climate change activist, who has made it her life's...