Women's voices and women's lives - topical conversations to inform, challenge and inspire.
Nannie, the figurehead for the Cutty Sark; The power of giving away power; No fault divorce;
The G7 kicks off in Cornwall today. Boris Johnson and leaders from Japan, Canada, Italy and France who make up the Group of Seven will be joined by US President Joe Biden and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel . On the agenda the biggest issues affecting our world - everything from climate change to the economic recovery post Covid. But how should they change their approach? How much better could things be if leaders, instead of lording their power over us and operating a top-down approach, did something different? In his new book 'The Power of Giving Away Power', Matthew Barzun argues that if leaders just let go and listened and worked more closely with their colleagues, we'd see things thrive and grow. Baroness Valerie Amos, now the Master of University College, Oxford joins him.
As live music events draw closer and closer, we ask – how diverse is the music industry? And what can be done to make things more inclusive? We hear from one DJ Jaguar, about her own experiences and an initiative to train other young women.
As no fault divorce is delayed we ask if there is a way to make divorce less complicated and confrontational? We hear from Ellie, who is in the middle of a break-up, a high profile divorce lawyer, Ayesha Vardag, and Kate Daly, the founder of Amicable – an online divorce service.
In the Women's Super League the transfer window opens today with a new rule forcing clubs to include eight homegrown players in their squad. They must have been trained by their club, or another club in England, for at least three years before their 21st birthday. BBC sports presenter, Charlie Webster, joins Chloe Tilley.
Today the new figurehead known as Nannie will start to be installed on the prow of the famous ship, the Cutty Sark: the tea clipper that resides in a specially designed dry dock in Greenwich next to the river Thames in London. The figurehead of a ship is often a woman but why and what is their significance? Louise Macfarlane, senior curator at the Cutty Sark, explains.
Presenter: Chloe Tilley
Producer: Kirsty Starkey
Interviewed Guest: Baroness Valerie Amos
Interviewed Guest: Matthew Barzun
Interviewed Guest: Jaguar Bingham
Interviewed Guest: Kate Daly
interviewed Guest: Ayesha Vardag
Interviewed Guest: Ellie
Interviewed Guest: Charlie Webster
Interviewed Guest: Louise Macfarlane
Paloma Faith, Nursing, Maya Forstater Verdict
We talk to Paloma Faith about her music, her films, being a mother of two daughters, and harassment towards women and girls. She's got a new single out called Monster which is about her relationship with her career.
We hear from two nurses who tell us how the past year and a half has been for them. In the light of a report published earlier this week by the Health Select Committee we discuss burn-out and how health staff are so tired because of the pandemic that many are quitting and morale is at an all time low.
Dr Gwen Adshead is one of Britain’s leading forensic psychiatrists and has spent 30 years providing therapy in secure hospitals and prisons. She worked extensively with violent women. Her book, The Devil You Know, co-authored with Eileen Horne, is a collection of 11 stories about men and women who've committed acts of terrible violence.
And we have bring you the breaking news that Maya Forstater has won her Appeal against an employment tribunal. Maya Forstater went to a tribunal in 2019 when her employment contract wasn't renewed after she posted tweets about gender recognition. She lost that case, but this morning - having taken it further - she's won the Appeal.
Women's Health Special - Nadine Dorries, Unwell Women, Mesh removal centres, Autoimmunity
Women's health has long been the poor relation when it comes to medical understanding, funding and research. The government says it wants that to change - and earlier this year announced the establishment of England's first Women's Health Strategy, which will look at women's health across our lifespans. The priorities of that strategy will be shaped, they say, by the results of a public call for evidence which closes this Sunday. But after centuries of - as the Health Secretary Matt Hancock put it - 'living with a health and care system that is mostly designed by men, for men', what sort of confidence should we have in this strategy bringing about meaningful change? Emma Barnett is joined by Women's Health Minister, Nadine Dorries.
Why are so many women dismissed, disbelieved or misdiagnosed when they seek medical help? Dr Elinor Cleghorn, cultural historian and author of 'Unwell Women - A journey through medicine and myth in a man-made world', says the answer lies in over a thousand years of history. She talks to Emma about the shockingly slow pace of change in attitudes to women's health, why women's pain still isn't taken seriously, and how the message that women's bodies are at the mercy of their thoughts and feelings has burrowed deep into our consciousness.
In April this year, seven specialist mesh complication centres were launched in England to help treat women harmed by the use of pelvic mesh. These centres were recommended in a report by Baroness Cumberlege as a way of concentrating expertise and improving outcomes. But how are the centres working so far? And what are the fears and concerns still facing those women waiting for their mesh to be removed? Listener Judi tells us her experience, and Prof Hashim Hashim, a urological surgeon with specialist skill in mesh removal, explains why the surgery is so complicated and how medical professionals are trying to rebuild trust amid so much pain and anger.
Around four million people have an autoimmune disease in the UK - so around 8% of the population. But of these four million, 78% are women. Reporter Carolyn Atkinson talks to Professor Lucy Walker about a new study into what might tie all these conditions together, and also Nina Christie, who currently lives with three autoimmune conditions.
Presenter Emma Barnett
Producer Anna Lacey
Abortion in America, Stamping out sexual harassment in the workplace, Talking to young people about drugs
Last month the US Supreme Court agreed to consider a major challenge to reproductive rights, saying it will look at the state of Mississippi’s bid to enforce a ban on almost all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Two days later the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed into law a six-week abortion ban. Why are attempts to reduce women’s access to these services being made? Last week one young Texan woman decided to use her platform at her high school graduation to give a speech on the so-called ‘Heartbeat Bill’. A speech that has gone viral. Emma speaks to 18 year-old Paxton Smith, and to Amanda Taub, a reporter for the New York Times.
Last week we heard from Lord Heseltine who was unhappy about being forced as a Member of the House of Lords to attend an online course around sexual harassment entitled 'Valuing Everyone Training’. In response, we received a text: ‘I’m a young female staffer and did the Valuing Everyone course last autumn. It wasn’t bad, but wouldn’t stop people mistreating colleagues/staff and isn’t a replacement for a proper HR system.' We speak to Stella Chandler, Focal Point Training who runs similar courses, and Deeba Syed, a lawyer who set up and manages the sexual harassment at work advice line at Rights of Women on what needs to be done to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace.
Daniel Spargo-Mabbs was a popular, intelligent and charismatic 16 year-old boy. But one evening in January 2014, he never came home. Dan had gone to an illegal rave and taken a lethal dose of the drug MDMA. Seven years later, his mother Fiona Spargo-Mabbs, is one of the country’s leading drug education advisors, and has just published the book ‘I Wish I’d Known: Young People, Drugs and Decisions; a Guide for Parents and Carers'.
Presenter: Emma Barnett
Producer: Frankie Tobi
Dido Harding, Friendship between gay men and straight women, Foreign aid cuts
It’s just over a year since the businesswoman and conservative peer Dido Harding was brought in to set up a test and trace system to help stop the Covid-19 pandemic. The system was going to be “world beating” and help get the UK out of lockdown according to the Prime minister but the incredible costs involved – around £37 billion – have been criticised for failing to make an impact. The system has improved but what will its legacy be? Dido Harding talks to Emma Barnett on Woman’s Hour today in her first interview since leaving the role last month and reflects on the ups and downs of the last year.
As we celebrate Pride Month throughout June we thought we'd spend a moment celebrating the relationship between gay men and their female BFF. From reality stars like Jenny and Lee on Googlebox and Olivia Bentley's relationship with Ollie and Gareth in Made in Chelsea to Will and Grace to the designer Halston and Liza Minelli. What is it about the relationship that makes them so special?
A group of MPs, Including the former Prime Minister Theresa May, are trying to push through a vote in parliament which they hope will reverse controversial cuts to the international aid budget. It's likely that an amendment to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency bill will happen, and that technical change will result in aid spending going back to what it was. It was recently cut from 0.7% to 0.5. Preet Gill MP is Shadow International Development Secretary and Ella Whelan is a journalist and commentator who doesn't believe in foreign aid.
Presenter: Emma Barnett
Producer: Lucinda Montefiore
Weekend Woman's Hour: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Arooj Aftab, Reclaiming sexist language
How possible is it to actually earn a living from sport? The latest BBC Elite British Sportswomen’s Survey found that four out of five elite British sportswomen feel they are not paid enough compared to their male counterparts and more than 60% of UK’s top female athletes make less than £10,000 a year. On the other hand revenue generated by women's sport in the UK is set to grow to £1bn a year by 2030 – up from £350m a year currently – making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the sports industry. The Women’s Sports Trust says the key to unlocking this impressive growth will be the increased visibility of female athletes and teams. Emily Defroand is a Great Britain and England Hockey player, Zarah El-Kudcy is a Trustee at the Women’s Sports Trust and the Head of Commercial partnership development at Formula 1, and Dr Ali Bowes is a senior lecturer in the Sociology of Sport at Nottingham Trent University.
Lord Michael Heseltine, who was Deputy Prime Minister in the mid-nineties, says he's had to attend a House of Lords course to do with what's right and what's wrong when it comes to conduct between colleagues, especially between men and women. The training is called "Valuing Everyone". The House of Lords has been very firm about this online course on inappropriate behaviour and prejudice, saying all peers must attend. Lord Heseltine was sent a reminder that he MUST complete it, which seems to have aggravated him a great deal. He’s here, and so is Wera Hobhouse, Lib Dem MP. In the House of Commons, the course isn't mandatory for MPs.
Language – and the way we use it – is forever changing. We explore how the word ‘bitch’ and other similar words with a sexist history are being reclaimed and reinvented by women to mean something positive. Chante Joseph is a social media creative and writer. Jacqueline Springer is a Black music and culture journalist. Helen Taylor is an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Exeter.
Why, after decades of social progress is motherhood still so much harder than it needs to be? Why aren't we honest about the realities of being a mother? These are just two of the themes explored in a trio of books about motherhood that have just been published. It's not as if these questions haven't been asked before. There is a rich vein of literature from Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex through to Adrienne Rich's classic study Of Woman Born, Juliet Mitchell's A Women's Estate , Jane Lazarre's The Mother Knot and many more. And many second wave feminists fought hard for the rights of mothers on both sides of the Atlantic. And yet very little, if any progress, has been made according to this new crop of authors. Elaine Glaser is the author of Motherhood: A Manifesto, Pragya Agarwal is the author of (M)otherhood: On the Choices of Being a Woman, and Marina Fogle co-presents the podcast 'As Good As It Gets?'
Arooj Aftab is a Pakistani composer, based in Brooklyn. She joins Anita to talk about her music and influences from jazz and Qawwali to Jeff Buckley and Abidi Parveen. She explains how grief has shifted the tone of her music to ‘heavy metal harp’, and discusses her latest album, Vulture Prince, which honours and reimagines centuries-old ghazals, a form of South Asian poetry and music that she grew up listening to with her family.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of novels including 'Purple Hibiscus', 'Half of a Yellow Sun', which won the Orange Prize (now called the Women’s Prize for Fiction), and 'Americanah', which won the US National Book Critics Circle Award. Chimamanda has also delivered two landmark TED Talks: The Danger of A Single Story, and We Should All Be Feminists, which started a worldwide conversation about feminism and was published as a book in 2014. She has now written a more personal book. On 10 June 2020 her father died suddenly in N