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.
Weekend Woman's Hour: Period Inequality, Dr Katriona O’Sullivan, Electropop duo Let’s Eat Grandma
A recent survey of a thousand teenage girls has found that nearly half of them have struggled to access products at school. On Sunday a Period Parade will make its way through London to call for continued support to combat period inequality and shame. We hear from Emily Wilson - the International chief executive of I Rise, a period-equality charity. Dr. Katriona O’Sullivan grew up as one of five children living in dire poverty, surrounded by addiction. She is now an award winning lecturer, whose work explores barrier to education. She tells us about her extraordinary life story, as told in her memoir ‘Poor’ and to explain how she triumphed through sheer determination. As the Online Safety Bill progresses through the House of Lords, the former culture secretary Baroness Morgan of Cotes has tabled an amendment to the Bill calling for a Violence Against Women and Girls Code of Practice. She tells us why she believes a code is desperately needed to specifically address the harms to women and girls. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK will end by 2030, but women are less likely than men to consider buying an electric vehicle, and the gap seems to be widening. Erin Baker, Editorial Director from AutoTrader and Beth Morley, a mobility and human insights manager from Cenex, discuss. Let’s Eat Grandma are an electro-pop duo composed of best friends Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth. They tell us about their friendship since the age of four and perform ‘Two Ribbons from their latest album. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Rabeka Nurmahomed
Woman's Hour: Weekend Woman's Hour: Period Inequality, Dr Katriona O’Sullivan, Electropop duo Let’s Eat Grandma
Period inequality, Dr Katriona O’Sullivan and Let’s Eat Grandma.
The Turkish elections and female voters
In the last two years Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention which "creates a comprehensive legal framework and approach to combat violence against women" and at the same time international observers have raise concerns over femicide rates in the country as well as violence against women and girls. Anita Rani talks to the independent journalist Barcin Yinanc and Ravza Kavakci from Erdogan’s ruling AKP party. A recent survey of a thousand teenage girls has found that nearly half of them have struggled to access products at school. On Sunday a Period Parade will make it’s way through London to call for continued support to combat period inequality and shame. We talk to Emily Wilson - the International chief executive of I Rise, a period-equality charity Tracey Curtis-Taylor is a British aviator who has paid tribute to pioneering female aviators like Lady Mary Heath and Amy Johnson by flying the paths they once flew. Now she’s written a book all about her flights, and the reasons behind them. She joins Anita in the studio to talk more about her adventures. Bar Pandora is the emerging alt-pop project and stage name of Coventry-based musician, writer, artist & performer, Charlie Tophill. The new single Ultramess is out this week. Charlie joins Anita to discuss the inspiration for her work, overcoming shame and self-policing in the music industry. Liz Harvie and Debbie Iromlou are both adult adoptees in their 50's and Woman's Hour listeners. Having heard our discussion about adoption on Tuesday they decided to get in touch. They wanted to talk about the impact of being adopted on their mental health all through their lives. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Lisa Jenkinson Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant
Woman's Hour: The Turkish elections and female voters
Voters in Turkey go to the polls for the second round of presidential elections on Sunday.
Tina Turner legend, Let's Eat Grandma, Whips, Sudan's women, Helen Hardy
Tributes are being paid to the Queen of Rock n Roll, Tina Turner, who has died aged 83 after a long illness. Turner became one of the world's most famous music icons, known for her smash hits What's Love Got to Do With It , We Don't Need Another Hero and The Best. To pay tribute to this music legend, Anita is joined by the music journalist Jacqueline Springer and Dhivya Kate Chetty, the director of When Tina Turner Came to Britain. More than a million people have been displaced over the last five weeks as two men fight for control of Sudan. The United Nation’s Population Fund says there’s been a 900% increase in reports of gender based violence since the start of the conflict and doctors are reporting a rise in the number of women seeking help after being raped. Anita Rani talks to Nima Elbagir, a Sudanese-born journalist and CNN's Chief International Investigative Correspondent and Dr Attia Abdullah who’s a doctor in Khartoum and General Secretary of the Sudan doctors trade union. Helen Hardy grew up in Newcastle loving football, playing it and watching it. At the 2019 Women's World Cup in 2019 she had a lightbulb moment as she looked around the stands and realised all the female fans were wearing men's football shirts, despite clearly being fans of the women's game. She set up Foudy's in 2020, the first retailer dedicated to selling shirts for women's football. The judges for this year's Woman's Hour Power List put her at Number 6 on the list. Cleo Watson served in 10 Downing Street as Theresa May’s political adviser then Boris Johnson’s co-deputy chief of staff. She joins Anita to talk about her novel, Whips, which follows three young politicos trying to make a life for themselves in Westminster. It's got scandal, sisterhood and a lot of sex! But just how much of it is based on Cleo's own time behind the most famous black door in the UK? Let’s Eat Grandma are an electro-pop duo composed of best friends Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth. They used to write together in Rosa’s family home in Norwich and made their first song together aged just 10. Three albums later, including one which was nominated for an Ivor Novello award, they are soon to be performing at Meltdown Festival in London. They join Nuala in the studio to discuss their career, friendship and perform a song from their latest album ‘Two Ribbons’. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Rebecca Myatt Studio manager: Gayl Gordon and Michael Millham
Woman's Hour: Tina Turner legend, Let's Eat Grandma, Whips, Sudan's women, Helen Hardy
Let’s Eat Grandma, electro-pop duo perform 'Two Ribbons'.
Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse, writer Katriona O'Sullivan, electric cars, fertility laws in France
After more than seven years taking evidence, six months ago the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published their final report which put forward 20 recommendations for the government. This week the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, announced they had accepted 19 of those put forward. Professor Alexis Jay, who chaired the IICSA for seven years, joins Nuala to explain why she is deeply disappointed with their response. Dr. Katriona O’Sullivan grew up as one of five children living in dire poverty, surrounded by addiction. She is now an award winning lecturer, whose work explores barrier to education. She joins Nuala to discuss herlife story, as told in her moving, funny, brave and shocking memoir – Poor. Sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK will end by 2030, but women are less likely than men to consider buying an electric vehicle, and the gap seems to be widening. Erin Baker, Editorial Director from AutoTrader and Beth Morley, a mobility and human insights manager from Cenex, join Nuala to discuss. This month marks ten years since a law authorising same-sex couples to marry and adopt children was passed in France. But it wasn’t until 2021 that single women and lesbian couples were allowed to get fertility treatment following two years of parliamentary debate. A new French film - La Graine or The Seed - looks at the journey of a lesbian couple, Ines and Lucie, on their quest to have a baby, set before the law came into force in France To discuss the current situation I’m joined by the director Eloïse Lang, & journalist for France24, Claire Paccalin. Presenter: Nuala McGovern Producer: Lucinda Montefiore Studio manager: Sue Maillot
Woman's Hour: Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse, writer Katriona O'Sullivan, electric cars, fertility laws in France
Professor Alexis Jay's reaction to the government’s response to IICSA.
Adoption, Protesting Indian Wrestlers, Naoise Dolan
According to a new report from Adoption UK nearly half of families with adopted children aged 13 to 25 say they are at ‘crisis point’ or ‘facing severe challenges’. Author, Becky Brooks, discusses her report alongside Clare, a parent of adopted children. Indian women wrestlers have been living on the streets of Delhi in protest after they accused their sport's federation's top official of sexual harassment and abuse. There is just three months until the World Championships and the Asian Games when ordinarily these women would be focussed on intense training. Nuala discusses the situation with Divya Arya, Women's Affairs Journalist at BBC Delhi. A new production of Rigoletto opens next week at Opera Holland Park. Described as “a propulsive tragedy of toxic masculinity and unfettered power”, the director, Cecilia Stinton, explains why she has set it in an Oxbridge-style college post World War I, and the relevance of the story to a modern audience. The soprano, Alison Langer, who plays the role of Gilda, also joins Nuala and performs live in the studio. New research has found that women are twice as likely to die within 30 days of a heart attack compared with men. To explore why women continue to appear more vulnerable after having a heart attack Nuala is joined by consultant cardiologist Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan. The Happy Couple is the second novel by the acclaimed Irish novelist Naoise Dolan, whose debut Exciting Times was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It follows a young couple, Celine and Luke, in the run-up to their wedding and explores the creeping doubts they have about each other, marriage and monogamy. Naoise joins Nuala in the studio. Presenter: Nuala McGovern Producer: Emma Pearce
Woman's Hour: Adoption, Protesting Indian Wrestlers, Naoise Dolan
Families of adopted teenagers are at 'crisis point' according to a new report.
Women of Northern Ireland; Baroness Nicky Morgan; Looking good for your age; Menopause drugs update
Starting on BBC Two, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC iPlayer tonight, Once Upon A Time In Northern Ireland gives voice to the people who lived through the Troubles, sharing intimate stories from all sides of the conflict. The series airs today on the anniversary of the referendum that ratified the Good Friday Agreement, on 22nd May 1998. Nuala is joined by two women, Denise and Bernadette, who chose to take part in the series to share their stories. As the Online Safety Bill progresses through the House of Lords, the former culture secretary Baroness Morgan of Cotes has tabled an amendment to the Bill calling for a Violence Against Women and Girls Code of Practice. She said a code is desperately needed to specifically address the harms to women and girls. Further discussions will take place this week on the Bill. Baroness Nicky Morgan joins Nuala to discuss. How do you feel if someone tells you you’re 'looking good for your age'? Not so secretly thrilled? Slightly indignant? Why are we likely to take it as a compliment if someone believes you look younger than you actually are? The American businesswoman and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart recently became the oldest woman on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and has been praised for looking less than her 81 years. Why? Nuala is joined by Sam Baker of The Shift podcast, and Lucy Baker who blogs as Geriatric Mum. A new menopause drug to deal with hot flushes could be available by the end of the year in the UK. The non-hormonal drug fezolinetant has been hailed as 'game-changing' by some experts. At the same time, the supply of the HRT drug Utrogestan has been restricted by the government because of shortages. To find out more, Nuala is joined by Dr Annice Mukherjee, a consultant endocrinologist and visiting professor at the University of Coventry; and Dr Nina Wilson, an NHS GP and founder of the One Woman Health menopause clinic.
Woman's Hour: Women of Northern Ireland; Baroness Nicky Morgan; Looking good for your age; Menopause drugs update
Two women's stories of living through the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Suranne Jones, Karen Millen, Eating disorders, Men and contraception, Kissing
Psychiatrists say they’re worried that some people with eating disorders are being offered palliative care. They say an eating disorder is not a terminal illness and most people can recover. Our reporter Carolyn Atkinson speaks to two women who currently have an eating disorder, and reports on what charities and professionals are saying about recover, and Hayley talks to mental health campaigner Hope Virgo about her experience. Karen Millen started setting up her fashion brand just after she left college. She later sold the business, and made millions. Now, 20 years later, she’s back working for the company, creating a new collection. Anita speaks to her about what happened in between, and how it feels to be back. Bafta-winning actor Suranne Jones is back on our screens with Maryland, a three-part drama about two sisters discovering that their mother was leading a secret life. Suranne plays the younger sister Becca. She joins Hayley to explain how the idea, which came to her in a dream, made it onto the small screen. A new study suggests that humans kissing may have started more than a thousand years earlier than was previously thought. Dr Sophie Lund Rasmussen from the University of Oxford joins Anita to talk through what it means, and how the investigation came about because of a conversation at the dinner table. Are men responsible for unwanted pregnancies? 'Ejaculate Responsibly: The conversation We Need to Have about Men and Contraception' is a stirring manifesto by American writer and award-winning blogger Gabrielle Blair, who thinks they are. According to Gabrielle, if you boil it right down all unwanted pregnancies are caused by irresponsible ejaculations. She joins Hayley to discuss her argument. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Lottie Garton
Kesha, Kissing, Holly Smale on The Cassandra Complex, 'Depp v Heard' series, Manisha Tailor, assistant head of coaching at QPR
The American singer/songwriter Kesha’s first major success came in 2009 when she was featured on rapper Flo Rida's number-one single "Right Round". She’s since had two number one albums and nine top ten singles including Tik Tok, We R Who We R, "Your Love Is My Drug," "Die Young, and "Timber" with Pitbull. She has earned two GRAMMY nominations. Today she releases her latest album – Gag Order. She joins Anita to discuss the themes of love, anxiety and spiritual awakening. In a new study out today, scientists have suggested that humans kissing may have started 4,500 years ago in the ancient Middle East – that’s 1,000 years earlier than previously thought. Anita finds out more from the scientist Dr Sophie Lund Rasmussen from the University of Oxford. The best selling author of the Geek Girl series, Holly Smale, was diagnosed as autistic in 2021, at the age of 39. She said she felt relief that she now has an explanation for why she’s felt she’s never “fitted in”. She couldn’t herself anywhere. She needed to see herself in a book, so she wouldn’t feel so alone. Holly has now written her first adult fiction – the highly autobiographical, The Cassandra Complex. She joins Anita to explain why it’s important to her that autism is represented in the media. Anita is joined by another one of the women on our Power List celebrating 30 women in sport. Manisha Tailor is the Assistant Head of Coaching at Championship club Queen's Park Rangers and is the first woman to hold such a position in men's professional football in England. Manisha is also the founder of Swaggarlicious, an organisation that uses community football sessions to engage with minority groups including women and girls, and especially those with mental health challenges. ‘Depp vs Heard’ is a three part C4 series that charts the tumultuous defamation trial between Johnny Depp and his former wife Amber Heard that was broadcast live in full. Mixing courtroom footage with the reaction from the millions who viewed it online, it’s a story of twists and turns. And questions if a jury ever be truly fair in the age of social media? The BAFTA-nominated documentary director Emma Cooper, joins Anita from Los Angeles. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Louise Corley
Feminist porn, Karen Millen, I Can Hear The Cuckoo, Forced marriage
Erika Lust makes adult films that focus on female pleasure, diversity and what she calls ethical production. She has big ideas about how to change the porn industry and joins Anita Rani in the studio to discuss them. Karen Millen, creator of the eponymous fashion brand has created a new collection over 40-years after she set up her first shop. She sold the business in 2004, but in later years she filed for bankruptcy. Now aged 61, Millen is returning to designing clothes. She joins Anita to talk about the highs and lows of her life so far, and starting over. Forced marriage has been illegal in England and Wales since 2014, but a study jointly by the Universities of Lincoln and Bristol, has revealed that the crime remains rife. Their research on the use of Forced Marriage Protection Orders, designed to prevent forced marriages, used data from nearly 600 case files from police forces nationwide. Anita is joined by the criminologist, Professor Aisha Gill, one of the leads on the research, who is proposing new measures to protect victims. Journalist Kiran Sidhu moved from London to the Welsh countryside after the death of her mother. She has written a memoir about what she learnt there of grief, community and unlikely friendships, ‘I Can Hear the Cuckoo’. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Rebecca Myatt Studio manager: Michael Millham
Suranne Jones, Housing, Eating disorders, Physicist Professor Dame Athene Donald
Bafta-winning actor Suranne Jones is back on our screens with Maryland, a three-part drama about two sisters discovering that their mother was leading a secret life. Suranne, who plays the younger sister Becca, is also executive producer on the series. She joins Hayley to explain how the idea, which came to her in a dream, made it onto the small screen. A new law to be tabled in Parliament today would abolish no-fault evictions and make it illegal for landlords to refuse tenancies to those in receipt of benefits, as part of a long-promised overhaul of the private rental sector in England. Housing campaigners said the bill was a "huge opportunity" to improve the lives of the 11 million renters in England - but its still doesnt go far enough to help many renters, 40% of which are women. Melissa York, the assistant property editor at The Times and The Sunday Times & Polly Neate, Chief Exectuive of Shelter. Psychiatrists say they’re worried that some people with eating disorders are being offered palliative care, warning it is not a terminal illness and most people can recover. Carolyn Atkinson reports and Hayley talks to mental health campaigner Hope Virgo. Hayley talks to scientist and academic Athene Donald about her new book Not Just for the Boys which examines the historic societal exclusion of women from science and the systemic disadvantages women in science operate under. She looks at the common myths that science isn't creative and that it is carried out by a lone genius in an ivory tower, offering her perspective on what progress has been made, and how more is needed. Presenter: Hayley Hassall Producer: Lucinda Montefiore Studio Manager: Steve Greenwood
Calls for allergy tsar, Men and contraception, Judy Blume books
Tanya Ednan-Laperouse and Emma Turay are two women who lost their teenage daughters due to severe allergic reactions to food they had eaten. They are calling for the government to put in a place an ‘allergy tsar’ to prevent what they say are unnecessary deaths and illnesses. They explain their demands to Hayley Hassall. 'Ejaculate Responsibly: The conversation We Need to Have about Men and Contraception' is a stirring manifesto by American writer and award winning parenting blogger Gabrielle Blair. Why, she asks, are women expected to do all the work of pregnancy prevention particularly when men are fifty times more fertile than women? That’s one of the 28 arguments in her book which show in different ways how men take little if any responsibility for unwanted pregnancies. And yet according to Gabrielle, if you boil it right down all unwanted pregnancies are caused by irresponsible ejaculations. In a report out today the Independent Monitoring Board have found women are being sent to prison as a 'place of safety' whilst experiencing severe mental health problems. Some women were sent to prison because they had attempted suicide; some had been diagnosed with a severe mental illness and needed medication and there was no adequate community provision. Hayley Hassall is joined by the IMB's National Chair Dame Anne Owers. An adaption of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, the bestselling book by beloved teen author Judy Blume is coming to the big screens this week. So, we are asking - what did the book mean to you? Journalist Leila Latif joins Hayley to discuss why the coming-of-age story is still relevant today and how Judy Blume’s books guided her through her own adolescence. Presenter: Hayley Hassall Producer: Emma Pearce
Can trauma in childhood become a driving force for success in later life?
In their book What I Wish I’d Known When I Was Young, they interview the likes of Ruth Davidson and Mary Portas and explore the psychology behind their experiences. Hayley is joined by Alice Thomson and also by the science writer David Robson, who investigates the potential issues with the psychological concept of Post-Traumatic Growth. The latest political workplace scandal centres around Plaid Cymru in Wales where the party’s leader Adam Price has resigned after a report described it as being a toxic workplace with evidence of misogyny, harassment and bullying. But such claims are or have been found in all the main political parties despite each putting codes of conducts and complaints procedures to address concerns in these areas. Are behaviours like bullying and abusive behaviour concentrated in certain work places, whether its politics, or institutions like the police or fire service? We hear from the former Welsh Assembly politician Bethan Sayed about the situation facing her former party Plaid Cymru and also to the journalist Kate Maltby, Dr Nicola Thomas from the Institute of Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield and Baroness Dame Louise Casey who conducted a review into the Metropolitan Police. Cinematic feminist pioneer Nina Menkes speaks about her new docu-film about the objectification of women in film, and the male gaze, called Brainwashed: Sex-Power-Camera. And the issue of when to allow your children to get a mobile phone with Molly Kingsley from the campaign group UsForThem. Presenter: Hayley Hassall Producer: Lisa Jenkinson Studio Manager: Bob Nettles
Weekend Woman's Hour: Activist Masih Alinejad, Malorie Blackman, Bel Powley and Kate Ferdinand
Masih Alinejad, Iranian American journalist, women's rights campaigner and a Time Woman of the Year 2023, is an outspoken critic of the Iranian government. She joins Anita to talk about her fight for women's rights in Iran. ‘Just Saying’ is a memoir by the bestselling author Malorie Blackman, former Children’s Laureate, best known for her Noughts & Crosses series for young adults. Malorie received eighty-two rejection letters before she finally found a publisher. Seventy published books later it is no exaggeration to say that Malorie Blackman has changed the face of British literature forever. Malorie joins Nuala to discuss her life and works. 650 years ago a woman we only know as Julian of Norwich produced a book which challenged the ideas of the time about sin and suffering. It presented a radical vision of love and hope that “All Shall Be Well and All Shall Be Well and All Manner of Things Shall be Well”. We hear from a listener, Sophie, about the words that she turns to for motivation and encouragement. Blended families are created for all sorts of reasons. Because of break-ups or the death of a parent, through fostering or adoption. Kate Ferdinand, previously Kate Wright of The Only Way is Essex fame, married the former footballer Rio Ferdinand in 2019, four years after his first wife Rebecca and mother of their three children, had died. As a new step mum she struggled partly because she felt very alone and that no-one understood what she was going through. But there was also very little out there to help someone in her situation – the step-parenting parts of books and websites were tiny, she says. Kate has now written her own book - How to Build a Family. She joins Anita to discuss her experiences. Most of us are familiar with the story of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who wrote a diary while hiding from the Nazis with her family, in Amsterdam during the Second World War. You are probably less familiar with the name of the woman who agreed to keep them safe in those secret attic rooms. Miep Gies was Otto’s secretary, and when they were eventually located and sent to their deaths, it was Miep who found Anne’s diary and kept it. A new TV series tells the whole story from Miep’s perspective, and she is played by the British actor Bel Powley. Bel joins Nuala to talk about playing an ordinary woman who displayed extraordinary courage. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Hanna Ward
Maureen Lipman, Kate Ferdinand, Power Lister Rimla Akhtar, Women ambassadors
In her latest stage role Dame Maureen Lipman plays Rose in a one-woman memory play with its Jewish heroine sitting Shiva – mourning for the many dead, and moving through Jewish twentieth century history. On stage alone for two hours, her performance has already sparked two sell out runs in London and Manchester, and now she’s back in the West End for a month. Maureen joins Anita live in the Woman’s Hour studio. Blended families are created for all sorts of reasons. Because of break-ups or the death of a parent, through fostering or adoption. Kate Ferdinand married the former footballer Rio Ferdinand in 2019, four years after his first wife Rebecca and mother of their three children, had died. Now Kate has written How to Build a Family, the book she wished she'd had when she started out being a step mum. Woman’s Hour Power List Leader Rimla Akhtar joins Anita to talk about her ground-breaking work in the world of women’s sport. She was ranked by Forbes and The Independent as one of the most powerful women in international sports, and was awarded an OBE in 2021 for her contribution to diversity and equality in sport. What is it really like to be a female ambassador? A new Netflix show, The Diplomat, has got people talking about the role. It stars American actress, Keri Russell, as a new US ambassador to the UK, parachuted into the role in the midst of a crisis. It debuted at No 1 on Netflix’s weekly global Top 10 list. So, we wanted to know - is the life of a real diplomat as exciting? What do they get up to? We are joined by former ambassadors Jules Chappell and Laura Clarke to find out.