299 episodes

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

Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.1 • 91 Ratings

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

    Weekend Woman's Hour: Recognition for first England women's football team, Harriet Harman MP & the poet Lady Unchained

    Weekend Woman's Hour: Recognition for first England women's football team, Harriet Harman MP & the poet Lady Unchained

    In a report published on Friday, the Joint Committee on Human Rights says the Government bears ultimate responsibility for the pain and suffering caused by public institutions and state employees that railroaded mothers in the 1950s, 60s and 70s into unwanted adoptions in England and Wales. Anita Rani speaks to Harriet Harman MP, who is Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Veronica Smith, founder member of the Movement for an Adoption Apology.

    TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps in the world. We hear from author and content creator Tova Leigh who contacted us to say she has noticed more and more disturbing content on the site that encourages violence against women and girls, and BBC Technology reporter Shiona McCallum.

    The first international England Women’s football match was in November 1972. 50 years on, we speak to Woman’s Hour listener and reserve goalkeeper for the England team, Sue Whyatt who says the team are still waiting for their 'caps; and we hear from the honorary secretary of the Women’s Football Association, Patricia Gregory who co-organised that match.

    Jersey has elected its first ever female Chief Minister. In elections last month, more women won seats in Jersey’s States Assembly than ever before. Emma Barnett speaks to Kristina Moore, a former journalist and TV presenter, to find out how her first few weeks in office are going.

    From picking up the pen to survive in prison and since her release, Lady Unchained has made it her mission to become an advocate for life after prison. She is a poet, performer, and award winning broadcaster. We speak to her as she releases her debut poetry book: Behind Bars: On punishment, prison & release.

    • 56 min
    Tennis icon: Serena Williams, Recruiting women to the armed forces, Afghan women radio, Stem cell donors, Women & bodybuilding

    Tennis icon: Serena Williams, Recruiting women to the armed forces, Afghan women radio, Stem cell donors, Women & bodybuilding

    It looks like Serena Williams is leaving tennis. She's won 23 grand slam titles and four Olympic golds but has suggested it's time to move on. She's made the announcement in VOGUE, where she's said retirement - "causes a great deal of pain. I hate it." So she hasn't explicitly said she's giving up but she's given a large hint, saying she wants to focus on her family. Jessica Creighton speaks to former tennis player, Jo Durie and sports journalist Natasha Henry about the tennis icon.

    The Armed Forces are not reaching their targets in terms of recruiting women. The MOD is hoping to increase the proportion of women in the armed forces to 30% by 2030 but they have not met the target set for 2020. One of the barriers to change is thought to be visibility - new research has found the UK public knows little or nothing about female veterans. Lauren Godier-McBard led the research and Ria Jackson is an RAF veteran and founder of the blog The V word.

    BBC Afghan have a new radio programme called 'Women' which focuses on women and girls, especially those in rural areas, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's presented by Shazia Haya in Pashto, and Aalia Farzan in Dari who fled their home country last August when the Taliban retook control. It aims to inform, educate and empower its listeners. Faranak Amidi is the presenter of World Service's The Fifth Floor. She spoke to Shazia and Aalia.

    This spring more than two million people had registered to become potential blood stem-cell donors in the UK. That’s regarded as a milestone by DKMS, which is the biggest stem cell-register in the UK. And it gives one mother in Northern Ireland some much-needed hope. Anne Greer’s youngest son is in a critical condition in hospital. Daniel was fit and well, but in May after complaining of back pain that was coming and going, he was diagnosed with leukaemia. The family want people around the world to donate blood to see if their stem cells are a life-saving match for Daniel.

    Today we're going to be talking about women in the world of elite bodybuilding where in the UK alone there will be more than 200 female bodybuilding shows this year. Kate Bishop - co-creator of the book Core which includes 42 photos of ‘muscly women’ doing what the book describes as 'subverting the archetype of femininity' and one of the bodybuilders in the book, Louise Plumb, discuss.



    Presenter: Jessica Creighton
    Producer: Kirsty Starkey

    Interviewed Guest: Natasha Henry
    Interviewed Guest: Jo Durie
    Interviewed Guest: Laura Godier-McBard
    Interviewed Guest: Ria Jackson
    Interviewed Guest: Shazia Haya
    Interviewed Guest: Aalia Farzan
    Interviewed Guest: Anne Greer
    Interviewed Guest: Kate Bishop
    Interviewed Guest: Louise Plumb

    • 57 min
    Brit and Mercury Prize-winning singer Heather Small, Chronic illness, Abortion

    Brit and Mercury Prize-winning singer Heather Small, Chronic illness, Abortion

    The British-born actor and singer Olivia Newton-John has died at the age of 73. Best remembered for playing the iconic role of Sandy in the musical film Grease. We pay tribute with Stockard Channing who played Rizzo in Grease, and the film critic Karen Krizanovich and Olivia Moore who is currently playing her in the stage version in London's west end.

    Brit & Mercury prize winner Heather Small on ‘Colour My Life’, her first album in sixteen years. For the album, she teamed up with the London Metropolitan Orchestra to re-imagine all of her Top 10 hits as well as release new songs and covers.

    What is it like to live with a chronic but hidden illness? Poppy Nash is a textile artist who lives with type 1 diabetes and one of her latest works The Art of Dying 2.0 is a full-scale installation of bedclothes and bedding, examining the experience of living in isolation as a ‘vulnerable’ person through the pandemic. Ione Gamble lives with Crohn’s disease. She’s the founder & editor of the art, fashion and culture publication, Polyester and has now written a book, Poor Little Sick Girls.

    The overturning of Roe v Wade in the USA has put abortion very much at the top of the news agenda. Our 2019 series in which women spoke, often for the first time, about their abortions seems even more relevant now. Today, a woman we are calling Kerry talks about the abortion she had when she was 18 and her certainty then and now that this was the right choice for her.


    Presenter: Jessica Creighton
    Producer: Dianne McGregor

    • 55 min
    Child strip searches, Dr Sam Roberts of NICE

    Child strip searches, Dr Sam Roberts of NICE

    In 2020, a black 15-year-old schoolgirl, known as Child Q, was strip-searched by police while on her period after being wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis. A safeguarding report on the incident concluded it was unjustified and racism was "likely" to have been a factor. New data published by the Children’s Commissioner has found what she calls a “concerning” number of children have been strip-searched by the Metropolitan Police without an appropriate adult present. BBC reporter Celestina Olulode joins Jessica to talk us through this data and we also hear from Jacqueline Courtenay, a mother from North London who organised a rally about this issue.

    It's the end of an era - the actor playing Peggy in The Archers is hanging up her mic at the age of 103. June Spencer has played the matriarch since 1951. Her last appearance was on Sunday's omnibus edition. Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall was a big fan of Peggy's, calling her, "a true national treasure who has been part of my life, and millions of others, for as long as I can remember". Felicity Finch who plays Ruth Archer, has known June for a long time and tells Jessica how the rest of the cast has reacted to the news.

    Following the launch of the Women's Health Strategy we speak to the new chief executive of NICE - the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The agency makes recommendations to the NHS in England and Wales on medicines, treatments and procedures. Dr Sam Roberts took up the post in February 2022. Before joining Nice, she was Managing Director of Health and Care at Legal and General but began her career in clinical practice and spent some time working as a junior doctor in a London hospital.

    How does it feel to reach the age your Mum was when she died? Our reporter Jo Morris talked to three women whose stories are different but who all feel that the age their Mum passed away has shaped their lives. First, Rachel lives in Devon with her family. Even people who know her really well, don’t know about a feeling she’s been keeping secret.

    The Commonwealth Games ends today and what a couple of weeks it's been. England have come second, after Australia, in the medals table with Scotland 6th, Wales 8th and Northern Ireland 10th. Across all sports there have been a lot of success for the home nations women. Jessica is joined by Jeanette Kwakye, former Olympic athlete and BBC broadcaster.

    • 57 min
    England's netballers - the Roses, School exclusions, South Asian women in WWII, Rape survivors and therapy, Women artists

    England's netballers - the Roses, School exclusions, South Asian women in WWII, Rape survivors and therapy, Women artists

    This time last week we were looking forward to the big match: The Lionesses at the European Championship Final at Wembley. We hoped, but we just couldn't predict what would happen, but what a great moment when they won against Germany! But don't let the success of women's football overshadow the sport that's been with us all along: netball. At the Commonwealth Games, the English team - known as the Roses - are in the semi-final tomorrow, up against Australia. If they win, they'll be in the final on Sunday. And don't forget: the Roses WON at the Commonwealth Games last time around, four years ago. We speak to ex-Roses captain, Ama Agbeze.

    In the last normal academic year before the pandemic, 7,894 children were permanently excluded from English state schools. However, the data shows that certain groups of children are more likely to be excluded than others. Boys are three times more likely than girls, children on free school meals are four times more likely than other children, and Gypsy Roma, Travellers of Irish heritage, and black Caribbean children are all significantly more likely to face school exclusion than white British children. To explore why these disparities exist, Anita is joined by Dr Amelia Roberts, deputy director of UCL’s Centre for Inclusive Education; Jason Arthur, CEO of Mission 44, a charitable foundation which aims to support disadvantaged young people; and Lisa Smith, chair of the Advisory Council for the Education of Romany and Other Travellers.

    When we think about the World War II war effort, Indian women in saris are not the first people that come to mind. Social historian Kiran Sahota has been researching the role of Indian women in the war, and has curated her research into a documentary and exhibition, which is currently on tour in the UK.

    There’s been anger from counsellors and psychotherapists about new guidelines around access to rape victims therapy notes. The changes introduced by the CPS were first reported exclusively by Woman’s Hour back in May when solicitors raised concerns. Now five leading bodies representing psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors have raised their own concerns. Newsnight reporter Anna Collinson has been looking into the story. We also hear from Dame Vera Baird, the Victims Commissioner for England and Wales.

    According to the art market, men are 10 times better at painting than women, with men’s art valued ten times more than women’s. Now, a new Radio 4 documentary, 'Revaluating Art' explores why. Its creator, Mary-Ann Sieghart explains.

    Presenter: Anita Rani
    Producer: Kirsty Starkey

    Interviewed Guest: Ama Agbeze
    Interviewed Guest: Dr Amelia Roberts
    Interviewed Guest: James Arthur
    Interviewed Guest: Lisa Smith
    Interviewed Guest: Kiran Sahota
    Interviewed Guest: Vera Baird
    Interviewed Guest: Anna Collinson
    Interviewed Guest: Mary-Ann Sieghart

    • 56 min
    Manipulating body images in ads. National Poet of Wales Hanan Issa . Abortion stories. Nancy Pelosi Taipei visit.

    Manipulating body images in ads. National Poet of Wales Hanan Issa . Abortion stories. Nancy Pelosi Taipei visit.

    Last week we talked about the Spanish equality ministry’s summer campaign promoting body positivity on the beach featuring diverse women of different shapes and sizes. But the campaign has received a lot of criticism since as it used multiple women’s images without their permission. We hear from one, Juliet Fitzpatrick who had a double mastectomy, who believes her face was manipulated and put onto the body of another woman - who had only one of her breasts removed.

    US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to Taipei in the face of warnings from Beijing. Pelosi has hinted she’d attracted China’s annoyance not for becoming the highest ranking US official to visit Taiwan in a quarter century, but because she’s a woman. Nancy Soderberg is an American foreign policy strategist and former US ambassador to the UN. And we are also joined by Isabel Hilton, the founder of China Dialogue. Good morning

    Poetry is the space where I go to make sense of the world' - the the words of Hanan Issa an Iraqi-Welsh poet from Cardiff who was recently appointed as the next National Poet of Wales. She joins Jessica to explore some of the themes which influence her work and talk about what the new role means to her.

    Since Roe v Wade was overturned in the US more women are telling their stories but secrecy and shame still surrounds abortion. In 2019 we asked you ‘have you had an abortion? How did you feel about it then and how do you feel about it now? Over the past few week's we've given you the opportunity to hear some of the stories again. Today in the fourth episode of the series we hear from a woman in her 60's we are calling "Alison".

    And Chrysta Bilton talks to us about her new book Book - A Normal Family: The Surprising Truth About My Crazy Childhood (And How I Discovered 35 New Siblings)

    Presenter Jessica Creighton
    Producer Beverley Purcell
    PHOTO CREDIT; Sue Lacey

    • 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
91 Ratings

91 Ratings

Old vumman ,

100 Marathons

Cannot believe that only 30k was raised for this effort! If she were in Ireland she would have 3 million! 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Finnwins ,

My link to the issues that matter

Despite living in rural Ireland, I always relate to at least one topic each day. Because, I’m a late 30 something woman with concerns, hopes and interests. Most of which have been addressed this past year.

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