299 episodes

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

Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.9 • 14 Ratings

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

    Merope Mills on her daughter Martha, Rugby World Cup preview

    Merope Mills on her daughter Martha, Rugby World Cup preview

    Merope Mills’ 13-year-old daughter Martha died in hospital in August 2021. She had sustained a rare pancreatic trauma after falling off a bike on a family holiday, and spent weeks in a specialist unit where she developed sepsis. An inquest concluded that her death had been preventable, and the hospital has apologised. Merope, who is Editor of the Guardian’s Saturday magazine, says her daughter would be alive today if doctors had not kept information from them about her condition, because as her parents they would have demanded a second opinion. She joins Emma for her only broadcast interview.

    This Saturday marks the start of the Women's Rugby World Cup. It's being held in New Zealand and England are the runaway favourites. Wales and Scotland are also taking part and Northern Ireland, who play as Ireland, failed to qualify. To give us a preview Emma is joined by Ali Donnelly, podcast host and author of Scrum Queens, the story of women's rugby and Rocky Clark, England's most capped player (men and womens). Rocky represented England in the last four World Cups, lifting the trophy with her team in 2014.

    • 56 min
    Nicola Rollock, Sexsomnia, Liz Truss, Anonymity prior to charge, Nadine Shah

    Nicola Rollock, Sexsomnia, Liz Truss, Anonymity prior to charge, Nadine Shah

    Nicola Rollock, Professor of Social Policy and Race at King's College London and an expert on racial justice, has a book out, The Racial Code: Tales of Resistance and Survival. in which she explores the hidden rules of race and racism, how they maintain the status quo, the pain and cost of navigating everyday racism and how to truly achieve racial justice.

    The Crown Prosecution Service has apologised unreservedly to a woman whose rape case was dropped after defence lawyers claimed she had an episode of a rare sleep walking condition called ‘sexsomnia’. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the UK - the CPS now says it was wrong to drop the case and it should have gone to court. The BBC followed Jade McCrossen-Nethercott’s case as events unfolded over three years. Emma speaks to Jade and Emma Ailes, the producer and director of the BBC 3 documentary : SEXSOMNIA: CASE CLOSED? about why she began following Jade's case.

    The Home Secretary Suella Braverman has signalled that she may consider giving anonymity to criminal suspects as she feels a “media circus” jeopardises a fair trial. Speaking to an audience of Young Conservatives at the Conservative Conference in Birmingham, her comments came in answer to a question referring to the high profile cases of singer Sir Cliff Richard and Harvey Proctor, a former Conservative Member of Parliament, who were falsely accused of sexual abuse and never charged. Currently, alleged victims of sexual offences receive lifelong anonymity under UK law but there is no law against naming a suspect. So what effect would it have, particularly on women, if anonymity were given? Joining Emma is Lady Nourse who was cleared of 17 counts of historical child sex abuse involving a boy under the age of 12 in 2021, and Mark Williams-Thomas, an investigative journalist and former detective who exposed Jimmy Savile as a paedophile.

    When was the last time you tried something completely new? After over a decade in the music industry, 4 successful albums, and a Mercury Prize nomination under her belt, Nadine Shah has turned her hand to acting for the first time. The singer, songwriter, and musician talks to Emma Barnett about fear of failure, updating Shakespeare, and learning to act for her debut role as Titania in Matthew Dunster and Jimmy Fairhurst’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    It’s exactly a month since Liz Truss became leader of the conservative party and today she makes her first speech in that new role to the party faithful at their conference in Birmingham later this morning. Instead of the usual honeymoon period a new leader can expect to enjoy she has been beset by adverse publicity after the unveiling of chancellor’s mini budget almost two weeks ago. It led to huge market unrest with the pound plunging to record lows against the dollar. Emma speaks to Kirsty Buchanan, her former Special Advisor.

    • 57 min
    Alex Scott, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Molly Russell inquest

    Alex Scott, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Molly Russell inquest

    Alex Scott is one of the most high profile names in women’s sport. The former Lioness started playing football for Arsenal when she was just eight years old, later, as a semi-professional player for the club she washed the men's team kit to earn extra money on the side. Alex went on to play for England 140 times and now presents on the BBC and Sky Sports. She has recently released her memoir entitled ‘How (Not) to Be Strong’ and joins Emma in the studio.

    Last Friday after two weeks of the inquest into the death of Molly Russell in 2017 coroner Andrew Walker concluded Molly died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression and the negative effects of online content. He said the images of self-harm and suicide she viewed "shouldn't have been available for a child to see" and that social media content contributed "more than minimally" to her death. Her father, Ian has called for urgent changes to make children safer online. Emma Barnett speaks to Merry Varney, the family’s lawyer.

    It's just five weeks until the midterm elections in the United States. Emma is joined by the Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the first woman in US history to be elected both as a Governor and as a Senator for New Hampshire, a small but decisive State.

    In 2012, having been lost for over 500 years, the remains of King Richard III were discovered beneath a car park in Leicester. The search had been orchestrated by an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, whose unrelenting research had been met with incomprehension by her friends and family and with scepticism by experts and academics. Emma speaks to Philippa Langley.

    Presenter: Emma Barnett
    Producer: Emma Pearce

    • 56 min
    Gentle parenting, Truss and leadership, Indicator offences

    Gentle parenting, Truss and leadership, Indicator offences

    What is a gentle parent? Does it really mean never saying ‘no’ to your child? And how did #gentleparenting attract more than 2.6 billion views on TikTok? Emma Barnett talks to TikTok content creator Kelly Medina Enos and psychologist Dr Penelope Leach about the rising popularity of this parenting approach.

    Only yesterday the Prime Minister Liz Truss said her government would be sticking to the measures announced in the mini budget ten days ago. But this morning the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, has reversed the tax cut proposal that has led to volatility in the value of sterling and pressure on interest rates and inflation. Is it strong leadership to admit mistakes and move on or will it blight the premiership of Liz Truss? Emma is joined by the Times journalist Rachel Sylvester, and then business leader Nicola Horlick to discuss new research showing that just a third of girls want to be the boss in their future careers.

    We learned last week that the charity Mermaids is to be investigated by the Charity Commission. This is after an undercover investigation by the Telegraph newspaper claiming that Mermaids is supplying breast binders to children without parental consent. These are devices that are used to bind up the breasts in order to give the appearance of a flatter chest. Emma speaks to Lauren Moss, the BBC’s LGBT and Identity correspondent who has been following the story.

    Wayne Couzens is serving a whole life sentence for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard in 2021. He has appeared this morning at The Old Bailey at a plea hearing for two flashing offences he allegedly committed prior to this. Couzens was not actually asked to enter a plea however, amid ongoing industrial action by barristers, so we don't know yet know whether these charges will lead to a trial. We explore the subject of so-called ‘indicator’ offences, those low-level offences which could lead to more serious crimes. Emma is joined by Zoe Billingham, Former Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary who was responsible for inspecting 15 police forces & Kieran McCartan - Professor of Criminology at the University of the West of England.

    We speak to Sam and Alena Cox, a married couple of artists whose Kent home is attracting a lot of attention. Sam is an artist known for his doodles and he has gone everywhere in his home with his paintbrush and spray can. It's black and white all over - from the external walls to the toilet lid and even Alena’s tutu.

    • 57 min
    Weekend Woman's Hour: Hilary Mantel’s writings on endometriosis, women in politics, nursing, family whatsapp, the orgasm gap

    Weekend Woman's Hour: Hilary Mantel’s writings on endometriosis, women in politics, nursing, family whatsapp, the orgasm gap

    Record numbers of nurses are quitting the NHS in England, according to new data analysis by the Nuffield Trust for the BBC. More than 40,000 have left the health service in the past year. Another report published this week from NHS Providers said the squeeze on pay amid rising inflation is forcing nurses and other staff to stop contributions to their pension, skip meals and take on second jobs. Anita Rani speaks to Molly Case, a clinical specialist nurse, working in the community in South London.

    We talk about family WhatsApp group chats. They can be a source of great joy or great annoyance. We speak to author Nina Stibbe and Journalist Nell Frizzell who has been looking into this.

    Regarded as one of the greatest English-language novelists of this century, Dame Hilary Mantel was perhaps less well known for her brilliant writing on chronic illness. Throughout her life the author suffered from a severe form of endometriosis. Emma speaks to writer Sarah Perry, author of the Essex Serpent, who has had her own experience of chronic illness and Eleanor Thom, author of Private Parts, how to really live with endometriosis.

    Giorgia Meloni's election as the Prime Minister of Italy is just the latest victory for a woman on the right of the political spectrum. The vast majority of European women who have had true executive power come from the right, starting with Margaret Thatcher. Emma speaks to Professor Matthew Goodwin and the academic Costanza Hermanin to discuss why the Left have had fewer female leaders.

    'Ladies shall we have some fun?' We speak to sex and relationship expert Oloni, who built an online community by speaking openly about sex and relationships. We discuss her new book 'The Big O'.

    Presenter: Anita Rani
    Producer: Surya Elango
    Editor: Emma Pearce

    • 56 min
    Mel Shilling, Meera Narandan, Ella Saltmarshe, Lina Prestwood, Chi-chi Nwanoku, Nadia Gilani

    Mel Shilling, Meera Narandan, Ella Saltmarshe, Lina Prestwood, Chi-chi Nwanoku, Nadia Gilani

    A woman posted a thread on Mumsnet about wanting to take time off work while going through a break up with father or her child, the responses she got were mixed. We want to know whether you would ever consider this but also would you be open about taking time off to help deal with a break up? We speak to relationship expert Mel Schilling and blogger Meera Narandan.

    We talk to Chi-chi Nwanoku from Chineke! Orchestra – Europe’s first professional majority Black and ethnically diverse orchestra – and hear music from their new album

    The Yoga Manifesto – a new book by Nadia Gilani and we’ll be joined by one of the winners from last night’s International Women’s Podcast Awards


    Presenter: Anita Rani
    Producer: Lisa Jenkinson
    Studio Manager: Michael Millham.

    • 56 min

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4.9 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

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