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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.


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Women's voices and women's lives - topical conversations to inform, challenge and inspire.




Lockdown Hair, 'Red Wall' Mums, Greek Goddesses

As the government announces plans for summer school and tutoring to help children catch up on their learning we hear from parents who think it’s more important to just let them go out to play with their friends. Recent polling suggests that mums in the “Red Wall” seats of the Midlands and North of England – areas which traditionally voted Labour but have switched allegiance to back the Conservatives – are against cutting short summer holidays after such a difficult year. We hear from the...


Weekend Woman's Hour - Camila Batmanghelidjh, Surrogacy, Women in Jazz

In her first in-depth broadcast interview since winning the High Court disqualification case regarding the disbanded children's charity Kids Company, its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, explains why she fought so long and hard to be cleared. David Watkins is one of the first single men in the UK to have a surrogate baby after a law change in January 2019. David talks about becoming a father to baby Miles in July 2020. Faye Spreadbury, a married mother of two, explains what it was like to...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Women at breaking point, Revenge porn, The term 'witch'

Why the latest lockdown has left so many women feeling at breaking point as they try to juggle home schooling and working from home simultaneously. Annie tells us her story and we hear from Leann Cross the Director of Homestart Greenwich and Sam Smethers the former Chief Exec of the Fawcett Society,. Model and TV personality, Zara McDermott talks about revenge porn. Intimate images of her were shared without her consent when she was 14 and again when she was 21. Sharing explicit or intimate...


Buying sperm online. Author Julie Ma. Vintage wedding photos

People wanting to start a family, who need to use a sperm donor say they feel forced into finding sperm online in unregulated spaces because NHS funding is rationed or they don’t qualify for it and it's too expensive to go to a private clinic. The UK’s fertility regulator has warned that doing so carries “significant risks”. We hear from the Chair of the HFEA and from two women who sought donors via the internet. Julie Ma's first novel Happy Families won the Richard and Judy/WH Smith 'Search...


Camila Batmanghelidjh

In her first in-depth broadcast interview since winning the High Court disqualification case regarding the disbanded children's charity Kids Company, its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, psychotherapist and author, joined Emma earlier this week. The High Court judgement came about because the Official Receiver claimed that Camila Batmanghelidjh, and seven former trustees of the charity Kids Company, had failed to properly manage the charity in the final months of its existence. After a three...


Surrogacy and Single Fatherhood

It's been announced that around 31,000 women in England will be offered the opportunity to do a smear test at home. It's all part of a trial by the NHS and experts hope it'll be a way to encourage more women to screen for the early warnings of cervical cancer. It's another step in helping women take charge of their own reproductive health. There are two consultations open at the moment. One which may see us being able to buy two brands of the contraception ‘Mini’ pills over the counter. The...


Leadership and the effect of Covid-19 on leadership styles, Sex, Gender & the Census, Breast Reduction

Is being a tough guy (or girl) no longer the key to getting on? How important is empathy in leadership now that we know the effect that working from home, juggling child-care, concerns about unemployment and dealing with grief are having on mental health and well being. Can businesses afford to be empathetic? Emma speaks to Chef Angela Hartnett and Belinda Parmar, CEO of the Empathy Business. The census is being held next month and for the first time the public will be asked about their...


Women in Jazz, What women think about during sex, Japan: Women in meetings, One punch assaults.

Are women in the UK jazz scene facing discrimination and sexual harassment? Sarah Raine, an academic and anthropologist, carried out research of ten interviews with anonymised female jazz musicians of a “notable level of success” who performed at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival event in 2019. Emma discusses the issues with Sarah, who is an academic at Edinburgh Napier University and researcher into gender equality in the music industry and with Jas Kayser, who is a jazz drummer and musician. In...


Zara McDermott & Baroness Morgan on Revenge Porn, The "Good Enough" mother, & Mehreen Baig on Covid 19 Jab campaign

Anita Rani talks to Love Island Star Zara McDermott about her new documentary on the growing issue of Revenge Porn and we hear from Baroness Morgan about the government's efforts to tackle the problem. Dr Angela Joyce and Dr Tracey Jensen about the idea of the "Good Enough" Mother, a phrase first coined by the paediatrician and child psychoanalyst D W Winnicott as we mark the 50th anniversary of his death and presenter Mehreen Baig talks about the new tv film campaign urging people from BAME...


Harry Dunn's Mum, Broken Hearts, TikTok Twins

Harry Dunn was 19 years old when he was killed on his motorbike by an American woman driving the wrong way. His parents have been fighting for justice for their son since it happened in 2019. It happened near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. The suspect, Anne Sacoolas returned to the States claiming diplomatic immunity. Now Harry's family has been told Anne Sacoolas will face a civil claim and it'll be held in the States. Charlotte Charles joins us on Woman's Hour. There's a consultation...


Mary Beard on witches, The Salmond Inquiry, Vulva anxiety in teenage girls

Emma Barnett presents Woman's Hour with Mary Beard who talks about her new BBC Two show Inside Culture looking at witches and their enduring presence in culture. We get the latest from the Salmond Inquiry from BBC Scotland's Political Editor Sarah Smith and we hear from Dr Naomi Crouch and Alex Fox about the problem of vulva anxiety in teenage girls. Presenter: Emma Barnett Producer: Lisa Jenkinson Studio Engineers: Donald MacDonald and Matilda Macari.


Mums at breaking point...

The pandemic has pushed many working mothers to breaking point. Juggling family and career is nothing new, but working a full-time job while simultaneously home schooling children for many weeks is unprecedented. A recent TUC report revealed that women are shouldering the lion's share of this responsibility, and that a lack of employer flexibility has left mums in an impossible situation. So how are these women coping? And for those that aren't, why do they feel so reluctant to talk about...


Losing a friend to suicide, Period pants, The release of Loujain al-Hathloul

Loujain al-Hathloul, the Saudi women's rights activist, has just been released from prison after spending nearly three years in prison. Instrumental in the movement to allow women to drive in the kingdom, she was imprisoned in 2018, just weeks before the ban was lifted. We speak to her sister Lina who has led the campaign to free Loujain for the last three years. Why are period pants still being taxed and not classed as a sanitary product? With Ruby Raut, founder of WUKA period pants and...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Alleged systemic racism in NHS maternity, Care homes, It's a Sin

We hear from Sandra Igwe, co-chair of an urgent inquiry set up to investigate how alleged systemic racism in the NHS manifests itself in maternity care and Dr Karen Joash, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Imperial College. After the Topshop buyout by online fashion retailer Asos, Topshop worker, and a lifestyle fashion blogger Kirsty Mead tells us what it’s like to pack up one of the shops in Leed for the final time. Some women in the ultra orthodox Jewish community believe the...


Inquiry launched into NHS maternity 'systemic racism'

An urgent inquiry to investigate how alleged systemic racism in the NHS manifests itself in maternity care was launched this week. Anita is joined by Sandra Igwe, co-chair of the inquiry and who set up The Motherhood Group to support Black mothers after her experiences of giving birth, and Dr Karen Joash, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Imperial College and spokesperson for race equality at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Girls sit at home waiting for 'Mr...


Children's Minister Vicky Ford; Scottish Care Homes; Novelist Daisy Buchanan

As many as one in six young people now experience mental health problems ranging from depression to self-harm and anorexia. The situation’s got worse over the last year during the pandemic leading some doctors to warn that this is just the “tip of the iceberg” with a “timebomb” on the horizon. The children’s Minister Vicky Ford talks to Emma Barnett about the issues and how Children's and Mental Health Services around the UK are coping as well about her own battles with anorexia whilst...


Sailor Pip Hare. Children and puberty blockers. Stalking slogans on Valentines Day Cards

Pip Hare has been competing in the Vendee Globe race, sailing around the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. She is on the home straight now and currently 20th place. Pip speaks to Emma from the Atlantic Ocean. Following a ruling by the High Court at the end of last year that children under 16 with gender dysphoria are unlikely to be able to give informed consent to being treated with puberty-blocking drugs, younger children now need a clinician to apply to the Court to be able to...


The women at the centre of the new drama 'It's a Sin'. Plus a look at the gendered economic impact of covid.

'It’s a Sin', the new drama on Channel 4 by Russel T Davies tells the story of a group of young gay men living in London during the Aids crisis of the 1980s and 90s. At the centre of their lives is their friend Jill Baxter, who offers unconditional love and support. We meet the woman who inspired the character, Davies' long-time friend Jill Nalder, the actor who plays her on screen Lydia West and Lisa Power an LGBT rights campaigner and co-founder of Stonewall. A new report from the Women...


Can all nurseries survive the pandemic?; Forced marriage; Re-creating the Bayeux tapestry

At the beginning of the pandemic nurseries, pre-schools and many child minders shut down at the same time as schools, to all but the children of key workers and the most vulnerable. Most reopened in June and have remained open ever since. Providers of early years education have been urging the government for more money, saying that a lack of demand over the last year has put them under even more financial strain and many may not survive. Emma speaks to Stephanie Carless who runs a preschool...


Weekend Woman's Hour: Arlo Parks performs, Susannah Constantine and alcoholism & internet sensation Jackie Weaver

The singer/songwriter Arlo Parks was named the BBC Introducing Artist of the Year in October. She tells us about her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams – and performs the track Green Eyes. Susannah Constantine the author, journalist and fashionista tells us about her alcoholism. Sober now for seven years, she believes a lot of women are struggling with alcohol addiction during lockdown. She tells us about the feelings of shame surrounding her drinking and how she believes it leads to a sense...