300 episodes

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

Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.4 • 74 Ratings

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

    Andrea Prudente, Zara Aleena, Women in Science, Loo queues at festivals

    Andrea Prudente, Zara Aleena, Women in Science, Loo queues at festivals

    An American pregnant woman who was on holiday in Malta this month couldn't get an induced medical miscarriage when she needed it because of the country's strict abortion laws. Andrea Prudente ended up going to Mallorca to get treatment, where she’s recovering in a hotel. She joined Emma.

    Zara Aleena, 35, was assaulted as she walked home in East London in the early hours of Sunday. The Met Police believe she was the victim of an "opportunist stranger attack". She died later in hospital. Emma speaks to Andrea Simon, Director of End Violence Against Women Coaltion and Zoe Billingham, former Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary about women's safety.

    Women in science are less likely to have their contributions recognised than their male counterparts - for example on a scientific paper or named on a patent - according to new analysis. A team of economists in the US found that women often have to work twice as hard as men to earn credit. But what's it like for women in science here in the UK? Monica Grady, CBE is a Professor at the Open University. She joins Emma as does co-author of the US study, Professor Julia Lane from the Wagner School of Public Policy at NYU.

    Have you ever noticed the queue for the women’s toilets is much longer than the queue for the men’s? Two Bristol university graduates have tried to resolve this issue, by inventing female urinals. They joined Emma to explain how it works.

    We have an update on Roe v Wade being overturned with the attorney Rebecca Kiessling and Jessica Arons from the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Presenter: Emma Barnett
    Producer: Emma Pearce

    • 57 min
    Being lesbian in the military, Roe v Wade overturned, Shireen Abu Aqla

    Being lesbian in the military, Roe v Wade overturned, Shireen Abu Aqla

    Dame Kelly Holmes came out as a lesbian last week. The Olympic champion served in the army in the late 1980’s, when you could face prison for being gay as a member of the military. Dame Kelly spoke of her worry that she would still face consequences if she were to let her sexuality be known. It wasn’t until 2000 that a ban on being gay and serving in the Army, Navy or RAF was lifted. Emma Riley was discharged from the Royal Navy in 1993 for being a lesbian, she joins Emma in the studio alongside Caroline Paige, joint Chief Executive of Fighting with Pride.

    American women are starting this week with a newly re-drawn map of the United States, in light of the Supreme Court's landmark overturning of Roe vs Wade last Friday, which gave women constitutional right to get an abortion nationwide. Today, abortion is legally banned in at least nine US states - with more to follow as so called trigger laws clear the necessary hurdles. For some this is a time of huge shame, sorrow, bafflement and fear - the clock turned back on women's rights. For others - the supreme court's decision represents a victory - the success of a long fought battle against abortion being a nationwide right in America. But for women who are pregnant now and don't want to be - especially in states where even abortion providers are unclear if they will be prosecuted should they go ahead - what should they do? Emma hears from BBC correspondent in Washington DC Holly Honderich, journalist Hadley Freeman and Dr Jan Halper-Hayes, former Global Vice President for Republican Overseas.

    A memorial service will be held in London tomorrow for the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqla who was killed while reporting in the occupied West Bank last month. On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the bullet had been fired by Israeli security forces - something the Israel Defence Force disputes. Emma is joined by the BBC’s Middle East Correspondent Yolande Knell to talk about Shireen.

    It's the first day of Wimbledon, and current world number 11 Emma Raducanu makes her centre court debut this morning, playing against Alison Van Uytvanck. This is her second Wimbledon, but her first since winning the US open last year. Molly McElwee is the women's sport reporter for The Telegraph and gives the lowdown on Emma’s form.

    • 57 min
    On Weekend Woman’s Hour: Kate Bush, Olivia Harrison, Amanda Blanc, Althea Gibson, frozen embryos and women in comedy

    On Weekend Woman’s Hour: Kate Bush, Olivia Harrison, Amanda Blanc, Althea Gibson, frozen embryos and women in comedy

    In a world exclusive, Kate Bush speaks to Emma Barnett about being discovered by a new generation and making it to number 1 in the UK singles charts 44 years after her first chart-topper Wuthering Heights. Running Up That Hill was first released in 1985 and its use in the Netflix hit series Stranger Things has made Kate Bush a social media and streaming sensation.

    The physical and emotional challenges of in vitro fertilisation, or IVF, never fade from your memory - whatever the outcome. But what happens when you have been lucky enough to have a child or children and you still have frozen embryos in storage you are sure you will not use? You can donate to another couple in need, to science, let them be discarded or continue to preserve them. Alison Murdoch, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Newcastle University and two women who have faced this join Emma.

    The comedians Katherine Ryan and Sara Pascoe have been making headlines in recent weeks following comments they made on Katherine’s new TV show. Both revealed instances when they’ve worked with men they believe to be predatory and despite complaining these men have not been reprimanded. Emma is joined by Kathryn Roberts who quit comedy because of her experiences and also by Chloe Petts who will be performing her show Transience at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

    Olivia Harrison has penned a book of poetry called "Came the Lightening" to celebrate her husband, George Harrison's life, more than twenty years after his death.. As lead guitarist of The Beatles, his most famous songs included While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Here Comes the Sun. What prompted her to share her memories in poetry? She tells Emma.

    As Wimbledon is set to begin on Monday, we discover the story behind Althea Gibson the first Black woman to win Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958. Writer and performer Kemi-Bo Jacobs was so inspired by her that she has written a one-woman play, 'All White Everything But Me' about her. She joins Anita to tell her more.

    The Treasury's Women in Finance Charter has published its annual review looking at gender diversity within the financial sector in the UK for 2021. Amanda Blanc is CEO of Aviva, the UK’s leading insurer and leads the Women in Finance Charter and speaks to Emma about the review as well as her experiences of sexism as one of a handful of female FTSE 100 bosses.

    • 56 min
    Althea Gibson, Bill of Rights, Sexual assault at festivals, Miscarriage & stroke, Viking Festival - Up Helly Aa

    Althea Gibson, Bill of Rights, Sexual assault at festivals, Miscarriage & stroke, Viking Festival - Up Helly Aa

    On Wednesday the government announced plans to create a new ‘Bill of Rights’ to Parliament, that will replace the current Human Rights Act. It argues that these reforms will ‘reinforce freedom of speech, enable us to deport more foreign offenders and better protect the public from dangerous criminals’. But organisations that work with female victims of crime say this is a direct attack on women’s rights. They say the Human Rights Act is an important weapon when it comes to victims and survivors’ ability to seek justice.

    Next Monday is the start of this year’s Wimbledon and today we discover the story behind Althea Gibson the first Black woman to win Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958. Despite many obstacles her achievements, now more than 60 years ago, led seven-times Wimbledon winner, Serena Williams, to describe her as the ‘most important pioneer for tennis’. Writer and performer Kemi-Bo Jacobs was so inspired by her that she has written a one-woman play about this trailblazer, now on stage at the Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle.

    With festival season well underway, the Association of Independent Festivals has re-launched the Safer Spaces campaign which tackles sexual assault and harassment at festivals. Over 100 festivals have signed up to their charter, and will be rolling out their policies over the summer. Anita Rani is joined by Kate Osler, who is on the non-executive board of the Association of Independent Festivals and is secretary director for the El Dorado festival where she is currently setting up for next weekend, and Bea Bennister, who co-founded Girls Against, a non-profit organisation fighting sexual assault at live music events.

    Women who have suffered multiple miscarriages and stillbirths are at greater risk of stroke, according to new research published by the British Medical Journal. The data looked at over 600,000 women around the world, and in particular women aged between 32 and 73 who were then followed up for an average of 11 years.
    Professor Gita Mishra is from the University of Queensland, School of Public Health and the senior author on this project.

    As far as festivals go, Shetland's famous Up Helly Aa fire festival has to be one of the most spectacular. It takes place in January and remembers the Vikings who used to rule the Shetland islands 1,000 years ago. Warriors parade through the streets by torchlight as visitors from across the world gather to watch the spectacle and the day culminates with the dramatic burning of a replica Viking long ship. But women and girls have never been allowed to take part in Lerwick - which is the capital of Shetland - until now. It was announced earlier this week there will no longer be gender restrictions. Johan Adamson is a campaigner from the group Up Helly Aa for Aa and Amy Gear is codirector of arts organisation Gaada who looked at the equality of Up Helly Aa for of their projects.

    Presenter: Anita Rani
    Producer: Kirsty Starkey

    Interviewed Guest: Hannah Couchman
    Interviewed Guest: Victoria Atkins
    Interviewed Guest: Kemi-Bo Jacobs
    Interviewed Guest: Kate Osler
    Interviewed Guest: Bea Bennister
    Interviewed Guest: Professor Gita Mishra
    Interviewed Guest: Johan Adamson
    Interviewed Guest: Amy Gear

    • 56 min
    Decisions about embryos, Female wildlife rangers, Amanda Blanc, Nude images and teens

    Decisions about embryos, Female wildlife rangers, Amanda Blanc, Nude images and teens

    The physical and emotional challenges of in vitro fertilisation, or IVF, never fade from your memory - whatever the outcome. But what happens when you have been lucky enough to have a child or children and you still have frozen embryos in storage you are sure you will not use. None of the choices you face are easy – to donate to another couple in need, or to science, to let them be discarded or continue to preserve them. We hear from Alison Murdoch, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Newcastle University and two women who have come to different conclusions about what they will do.

    A new study of over 5000 teenagers in 46 schools has found that more than a third of teenage girls who sent nude images of themselves had been pressured into doing so. Researchers found that girls felt “shamed” when their nude images were leaked, while boys said that the leaking could lead them to gain social status. It also revealed that 34% of girls were first asked to send a nude when they were 13 or younger. Emma is joined by Soma Sara, the founder of Everyone's Invited - a safe place for survivors to share their stories anonymously - and Ruby Wootton, associate director from Revealing Reality, one of the authors of the study - which was done in collaboration with PHSE, that's the national body for personal, social, health and economic education.

    Being a ranger in the wild - protecting animals from poachers, leading conservation efforts and sometimes putting yourself in the line of fire - isn't often a job taken on by women. In fact, less than 11% of the global wildlife ranger workforce is female - something many in the sector want to change. Holly Budge is a British adventurer who’s founded World Female Ranger Week following a successful World Female Ranger Day last year. Purnima Devi Barman is a conservationist from the state of Assam in north-eastern India who set up her own 'Stork Army' to save one species of bird. They both join Emma on the programme.

    The Treasury's Women in Finance Charter has published its annual review looking at gender diversity within the financial sector in the UK for 2021. Amanda Blanc is CEO of Aviva, the UK’s leading insurer and leads the Women in Finance Charter and speaks to Emma about the review as well as her experiences of sexism as one of a handful of female FTSE 100 bosses.

    • 56 min
    Kate Bush, Lynn Fitch, Cost of living, Electroconvulsive therapy

    Kate Bush, Lynn Fitch, Cost of living, Electroconvulsive therapy

    In a world exclusive, today Kate Bush gives Emma Barnett her reaction to being discovered by a new generation and making it to number 1 in the UK singles charts 44 years after her first chart-topper Wuthering Heights. Running Up That Hill was first released in 1985 and its use in the Netflix hit series Stranger Things has made Kate Bush a social media and streaming sensation. We also speak to Caitlin Moran about how rare it is to hear from Kate and why she is inspired by her songs.

    A report out today has found that the number of abortions has increased over the course of the pandemic. The cost of living has been cited as a key factor for this rise at an uncertain time in the economy and with job insecurity. Mary-Ann Stephenson is co-director of the Women's Budget Group, an independent body which analyses the impact of government policy on women.

    A decision is also expected any day from the US Supreme Court on whether to overturn Roe v Wade – the historic 1973 ruling which has guaranteed women access to abortion nationwide. At the centre of this legal challenge, is a woman who is being hailed by some as the lawyer who could end Roe v Wade. She is the Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch…and the BBC’s Holly Honderich joins Emma to explain more.

    Twice as many women than men are receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) according to researchers at the University of East London. ECT is used to treat a range of mental health issues including severe depression, long-lasting mania, and catatonia. But an FOI request to twenty NHS Trusts has also revealed that older women are also more likely to be receiving treatment. They are concerned it causes memory loss and that patients are not given sufficient information to make informed decisions before they give consent to treatment. Emma is joined by one of the lead researchers, clinical psychologist Dr Chris Harrop and by Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatry.

    Emma speaks to the writer, DJ and broadcaster, Annie Mac on what has been a big week for music. They discuss Beyonce’s new single, Break My Soul, which marks a change of musical genre for her as it’s a House track. They talk about the history of house music and it’s cultural shifts and about Kate Bush and Glastonbury 2022.

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
74 Ratings

74 Ratings

Jazzy333p ,

Women’s Hour?

I am so very, very disappointed that you choose to interview a man on what his perspective of his teenage years was like. He has absolutely no idea What it Feels Like for a Girl. He is promoting abuse/rape for teenage girls? Seriously? Such a misogynistic man. You have lost your minds BBC.

buzbyNZ ,

Why are podcasts not always available

I listen to Woman’s Hour every morning here in New Zealand so it’s really disappointing when the occasional one isn’t available and it doesn’t say why. Why is this?

Traverso1 ,

Podcast unavailable

I love Woman’s Hour but am so disappointed when episodes are unavailable.

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