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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


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe talks to Emma Barnett

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe talks for the first time to Emma Barnett for this special Woman’s Hour programme. In this exclusive interview she reveals the full story of her imprisonment in Iran. Nazanin explains how she survived solitary confinement, how the love of her daughter kept her alive and what Prime Minster Boris Johnson told her about the real reason for her imprisonment. Nazanin was arrested in April 2016 after visiting her parents in Iran with her 21 month-old daughter Gabriella, on...


Mary Anning statue, Sean O'Neill and daughter's death from ME, Social care

This month, the health secretary announced a new plan to tackle ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in England. Woman’s Hour is joined by Sean O’Neill, a senior writer for the Times, whose eldest daughter Maeve, passed away last October at the age of 27, after suffering from ME since she was a teenager. Emma also talks to Dr Charles Shepherd, medical advisor to the ME Association. ITV's reality TV show Love Island has dropped its fast fashion sponsors for more sustainable, preloved fashion for...


Weekend Woman’s Hour: Siobhan McSweeney, Anne-Marie Duff, Mel C

Do you know much about nuns? Many people don’t, but some nuns in the US are turning to social media to bring religion into the 21st century. Sister Monica Clare from the Community of St John the Baptist went viral on Tik Tok after followers wanted to know her skin routine - now she answers people’s questions about being a nun. She joins Krupa as does Siobhan McSweeney, who plays fictional Sister Michael in Derry Girls to talk all about nuns. Actor Anne-Marie Duff talks to Emma about her new...


US singer/songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman, Laura Bates, Menstrual leave/abortion reform in Spain, Feminine power & goddesses

It’s been ten years since the writer and activist Laura Bates founded the Everyday Sexism project, giving a platform to thousands of women to document their everyday experiences of sexism, harassment and assault. In her new book, ‘Fix the System Not the Women’ she argues we have wasted decades telling women and girls how to fix things, how to fix themselves, how to stay safe, it hasn’t worked because women were never the problem in the first place. She is calling for systematic reform of our...


Actor Anne Marie Duff, Chinese feminism, the story of Henrietta Howard

Actor Anne Marie Duff talks to Emma Barnett playing a working class matriarch in a new play that spans five decades of the lives, and deaths, of the Webster family. Last September 19, 2021, Sophia Huang Xueqin, the Chinese journalist who kick-started China’s #MeToo movement, disappeared. We find out what has happened to her from BBC Eye journalist Jessie Lau who's been investigating her disappearance,. Plus writer and journalist Lijia Zhang explains what it's like to be a feminist in China....


Helen Fitzgerald, Abortion Clinic Harassment, Nuns and Juliet Stevenson on Acting Your Age

Helen Fitzgerald grew up in rural Australia as one of 13 siblings. Her new novel Keep Her Sweet looks at what happens when 'normal' sibling rivalry turns into something else. She joins Krupa to explain why she's so fascinated by the dark corners of family life. When was the last time you saw a nun? It feels like a very old-fashioned vocation – and there are less and less in the public eye now. But some nuns in the US are turning to Tik Tok to bring religion into the 21st century through...


Kate Rusby, Gay Women and Sport, Motor Racing

Kate Rusby is one of the UK’s leading folk singers. She joins Andrea Catherwood to talk about her latest album 30: Happy Returns. She's collaborated with musicians such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, K. T. Tunstall and Richard Hawley to sing new versions of her old songs and to celebrate thirty years of making music. The footballer Jake Daniels has come out as gay. He's the first current male professional footballer to do so, which shows you how unusual it is. So, is it harder to be yourself in...


Girl Bands, Period Tracking Apps, Couples Therapy

After Little Mix said goodbye to their fans with their final show on Saturday before going on hiatus, it seems that for the first time in decades, Britain is without a major girl band. Emma is joined by Melanie Chisholm from the Spice Girls and music journalist, Jacqueline Springer. We discuss recent work from home data with Dr Jane Parry, Associate Professor of work and employment at Southampton Business school and Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff. In the wake of the tragic killings of...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Emeli Sandé, Abi Morgan, Sophie Willan

Emeli Sandé is one of Britain’s most successful songwriters - with 19 million singles sold; including three number one singles, six million albums and four BRIT awards. Emeli joins Emma to discuss her music and career. How are disabled children being affected by the war in Ukraine? There are claims that thousands have been forgotten and abandoned in institutions unable to look after them. The human rights organisation, Disability Rights International, has carried out an investigation. Their...


Alice Urbach, Your children's friends, Katrina and The Waves

‘Alice’s Book’ by Karina Urbach tells the story of Karina's grandmother Alice Urbach. Before the Second World War Alice wrote a cookbook called Cooking the Viennese Way! but when books by Jewish authors couldn't be distributed, Alice was taken off it. Karina talks about her family history, intellectual theft by the Nazis and her mission to restore Alice Urbach’s name to her cookbook. The Taliban have ruled that Afghan women will have to wear the full face veil for the first time in decades....


Michelle Kholos Brooks, Monica McWilliams, Mandy Garner, Cecilia Floren, Sophie Willan

H*tler’s Tasters is a dark comedy about the young women who have the “honour” of being Adolf Hitler’s food tasters. The play explores the way girls navigate sexuality, friendship, patriotism, and poison during the Third Reich. Emma Barnett talks to its award winning playwright, Michelle Kholos Brooks After a record number of women are elected to Stormont we talk to Monica McWilliams an academic, peace activist, human rights defender and former politician who co-founded the Women’s Coalition...


Jules Montague on diagnosis, Abortion in the US, A scratch and sniff T-shirt, Disabled children in Ukraine

In former consultant neurologist Jules Montague's new book, The Imaginary Patient, she looks at how they can be influenced by many external factors. Who gets to choose which conditions are "real" or not, and is that a helpful question to ask? And what implications does that have for women? She joins Emma. Michael Gove, The Levelling Up Secretary, confirmed that there will be no emergency budget to help with the cost of living, even though the Queens Speech yesterday said that the Government...


Abi Morgan, Toddlers running errands, Suzie Miller

Abi Morgan is a BAFTA and Emmy-award winning playwright and screenwriter whose credits include The Iron Lady, Suffragette, Sex Traffic, The Hour, Brick Lane and Shame. She is the creator and writer of BBC drama, The Split. She has now written her first book. This is not a Pity Memoir about an extraordinarily tumultous period in her and her family's life. Prima Facie starring Jodie Comer, best known for her role as Villanelle in Killing Eve, is making her West End debut. Both star and play...


Artificial wombs, exam stress, and celebrating the role of grandmothers

Childbirth is something that more than 80% of women go through in their lifetime. But could that be about to change? Sci-Fi author Helen Sedgwick thinks we’re just a generation away from external, artificial wombs being used for childbirth. But what does this mean for the concept of motherhood and a woman’s place in society? Anita is joined by Helen and designer of an artificial womb Lisa Mandemaker. Exam season is upon us - Highers have begun in Scotland and A-levels and GCSEs start on the...


Emeli Sandé, Depp v Heard, Afghanistan

Emeli Sandé is one of Britain’s most successful songwriters. With 19 million singles sold including three number one singles, 6 million albums and four BRIT awards (including Best Female twice!). Emeli joins Emma to discuss her music, and has a specially recorded version of There Isn’t Much – a track written with Naughty Boy and Shaq, from her new album Let’s Say For Instance. Over the weekend in Afghanistan the Taliban ordered that all women must wear a burqa in public. It's the latest blow...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Peggy Seeger, Exam Stress, Candice Carty-Williams

Emma talks to Peggy Seeger who has enjoyed six decades of success with her music. Peggy was married to the singer Ewen McColl. Together they revitalised the British Folk Scene during the 50s and 60s. Now 86 years old, Peggy's own songs have become anthems for feminists, anti-nuclear campaigners and those fighting for social justice. Exam season is upon us - Highers have begun in Scotland and A-levels and GCSEs start on the 16th May, but maybe your kids have end of year exams coming up too....


Adele Roberts, Homes for Ukraine - Judith and Oksana, Sylvia Young, Ruth Dodsworth

Radio 1’s Adele Roberts won Radio Times’ Moment of the Year award at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards this week, for the moment when she spoke to her listeners about being diagnosed with bowel cancer. She joins Emma to talk about her ongoing treatment and how she’ll celebrate when it’s done. Judith Hutchinson has been trying to house Ukrainian citizen Oksana Melashchuk and her two children for several weeks now. Oksana’s visa finally came through yesterday, and both women are able to join...



As Anne Robinson announces she's stepping down as the host of the Channel 4 quiz show Countdown, Emma Barnett catches up with her. Robinson was the first female to ever host the show, with 265 episodes under her belt since she joined just a year ago. After a career as a national newspaper journalist, she found fame in 2000 hosting the BBC quiz show The Weakest Link. Her acerbic wit led to her becoming labelled the “Queen of Mean”. For months now the apparent increasing shortage of hormone...


Candice Carty-Williams, Russian Feminist Protestors, Roe v Wade

Candice Carty-Williams described her very successful first novel Queenie as 'the black Bridget Jones'. In the opening chapter of her new novel People Person absent father Cyril climbs into his gold jeep and drives around London collecting the five half-siblings he has sired, introduces them all for the first time and buys them an ice-cream. Candice has called this her ‘daddy issues’ book and in it she celebrates families of all sorts. Her aim, she says, is to make visible the people she...


Women and Folk Music

This May bank holiday Emma looks at women and the tradition of folk music. You may have a stereotypical image of a woman in a floaty dress walking through a flower meadow - but we want to challenge that. From protest songs and feminist anthems - it's not all whimsy in the world of folk. Emma talks to Peggy Seeger who has enjoyed six decades of success with her music. Peggy was married to the singer Ewen McColl. He wrote the song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" for her. Together they...