Woman's Hour

BBC Radio 4

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

  • 56 minutes 34 seconds
    Woman's Hour live from Lord's Cricket Ground

    Today, Woman's Hour comes live from Lord's Cricket Ground as England face New Zealand for the culmination of a five-match T20 International series. To talk us through the upcoming game we are joined by Ebony Rainford-Brent MBE. Ebony is a World Cup-winning cricketer, now turned presenter and pundit.

    We begin by looking at the grassroots game which is growing at a fast rate. We hear from girls at Carlton Cricket Club about why they love the sport, also from 16-year-old Honor Black who’s clothing company, Maiden, designs kit specifically for girls. We also hear again from Ebony Rainford-Brent. Ebony was the first black woman to play cricket for England and founded the African-Caribbean Engagement Programme, ACE, which creates opportunities for young cricketers to take up the game.

    Nuala gets a tour around the 'Home of Cricket', and the spots of most significance to women’s history at Lord's.

    Woman's Hour also looks at the situation for women’s cricket in 2024. How far has the sport come and what is left to do? Beth Barrett-Wild is Director of the Women’s Professional Game at the England and Wales Cricket Board and joins Nuala live. They will discuss the many successes in the women’s game but also a damning report which found that women were treated as ‘second class citizens’ in cricket and recommended that the ECB strive to ensure equal pay on average at domestic level by 2029 and at international level by 2030.

    Ahead of England's match against New Zealand in the culmination of the five-match T20 International series, New Zealand’s star player and former captain Suzie Bates joins Nuala to look ahead to the game and discuss women’s cricket in NZ.

    Presenter: Nuala McGovern Producer: Emma Pearce and Claire Fox

    17 July 2024, 12:03 pm
  • 57 minutes 21 seconds
    Jenna Russell & Hello, Dolly!, Historical fiction, Women in Myanmar, Air Pollution

    One of the most iconic musicals of all time, Hello, Dolly!, has returned to the London Palladium, with Jerry Herman’s unforgettable score including Put On Your Sunday Clothes, Before the Parade Passes By, It Only Takes a Moment and Hello, Dolly! It’s a huge, no-expense-spared production, with a cast of 40, and the legendary Imelda Staunton as the witty and charming matchmaker Dolly Levi. Jenna Russell plays the millineress Irene Molloy. Jenna is well known for her TV roles in Call The Midwife and Eastenders, and many theatre roles, including Guys and Dolls, Merrily We Roll Along, and her Olivier award-winning turn as Dot in Sunday In The Park With George. Nuala McGovern speaks to Jenna about the revival of Hello, Dolly! and the show’s message to new audiences.

    In February 2021, a coup returned Myanmar to military rule, overthrowing the democratically elected government. Under the regime, violence against civilians has escalated, with thousands jailed, tortured and killed – although the numbers are believed be much higher. At least three million people have been displaced. Just two weeks ago, a UN Report outlined the gendered impact of the coup: It found that military forces have committed widespread forms of sexual violence. However, despite the coup's devastating impact, women and girls are taking on key roles within the resistance movement. Also this month, there have been seperate news reports that women are being conscripted into the military. Nuala discusses the situation with Tin Htar Swe, the former head of The BBC's Burmese Service.

    Nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Deborah was the first person in the world to have air pollution listed as a cause of death. She lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham, South East London and died of a fatal asthma attack in 2013. Her mother, Rosamund, who has been campaigning since her daughters death, is now seeking is seeking an official apology from the government as her high court claim against them heads to trial. She explains why she wants an official apology from the government. Nuala also speaks to Sophie Howe who is the former First Generation Commissioner for Wales where she advised the government on policy around transport and climate change - she now does this for other countries. S

    Annie Garthwaite’s second novel, The King’s Mother, tells the story of historical figure Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III. Annie believes Cecily’s role in the Wars of the Roses has been hugely underestimated by historians and her novel places her firmly at the heart of the action. Essie Fox has written five historical novels and her most recent, The Fascination, is set in the world of Victorian theatres and travelling fairs. They join Nuala to discuss the challenge of writing the stories of women who have been overlooked by the history books.

    Presented by Nuala McGovern Producer: Louise Corley

    16 July 2024, 1:00 pm
  • 57 minutes 32 seconds
    Wendy Joseph KC, Storm chasers, Remembering sex therapist Dr Ruth, Insta’s Fake Guru

    Former Old Bailey judge, Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC, lifts the lid on our legal system. Having worked in criminal courts for almost half a century, she is still asking: what is justice? She tells Nuala McGovern some of the ways women and children struggle through the legal system - and why she wanted to highlight these issues in her latest book, Rough Justice.

    Twisters – the sequel to 1996 disaster-tornado film Twister – has been accused of playing into sexist tropes about storm chasers and meteorologists. But what’s it actually like being a female storm chaser? Nuala speaks to meteorologist Karen Kosiba from the Centre for Severe Weather Research in Colorado and to founder of the Midlands Storm Chasers group Vicky Royce-Pagett about the new film and why they find storm chasing so fascinating.

    Over the weekend, the sex therapist Ruth Westheimer died at the age of 96. In the 1980s, her ability to talk with good-natured candour about intimate sexual matters made her a big hit on American radio and TV and she was known to audiences as Dr. Ruth. We were lucky enough to speak to her in 2019.

    Last month, Kat Torres, a former model and wellness influencer, was sentenced to eight years in prison in Brazil after being found guilty of human trafficking and slave labour. Nuala talks to BBC Journalist Hannah Price who’s made a documentary about Kat’s story: Like, Follow, Trafficked: Insta’s Fake Guru.

    Presenter: Nuala McGovern Producer: Maryam Maruf Studio manager: Donald McDonald

    15 July 2024, 1:14 pm
  • 57 minutes 35 seconds
    Harriet Harman, Southall Black Sisters, Author Cathy Rentzenbrink, Medium friends

    A record-breaking number of women MPs have been elected following Labour's win at the general election. It's also the first time in parliamentary history that the proportion of women elected is more than 40%. Harriet Harman, the now ex-Labour MP and former Mother of the House, gives her reaction.

    Three women who say they were the victims of a racial attack have had the charges of assault made against them by their assailant discontinued by the CPS. Selma Taha, the executive director for advocacy group Southall Black Sisters, and Danae Thomas, two of the women, join Anita Rani to talk about what impact the charges being dropped has had, and how they’re hoping this might impact further action against racist violence against women and girls.

    Cathy Rentzenbrink is known for her non-fiction books – but now she’s written a second fiction novel – Ordinary Time. It tells the story of Ann, a reluctant vicar’s wife, and her grappling with ideas of marriage, duty and temptation. She joins Nuala McGovern to discuss.

    A recent article in the New York Times coined the phrase "medium friends" to describe “not our besties, but more than just acquaintances.” Anita talks to Dr Susan MacDougall, a social anthropologist at Oxford University, and to Shazia Mirza, a comedian and writer, about friendship levels.

    Women are turning to increasingly risky ways to get weight-loss drugs, like Ozempic and Wegovy, as online prescribers become more stringent about who they will give them to. Two young women tell Woman’s Hour’s Melanie Abbott about using drugs they buy on the black market, despite the potential dangers. Plus Professor Kamila Hawthorne from the Royal College of GPs talks to Nuala. Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Dianne McGregor

    13 July 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 52 minutes 6 seconds
    Southall Black Sisters, Audrey Powne, Dr Michael Mosley's exercise snacking

    Three women who were the victims of a racial attack have had the charges of assault made against them by their assailant discontinued by the CPS. Selma Taha, the executive director for advocacy group Southall Black Sisters, and Danae Thomas, two of the women, join Anita Rani to talk about what impact the charges being dropped has had, and how they’re hoping this might impact further action against racist violence against women and girls.

    Saturday’s Wimbledon champion will be a first time winner in SW19. Czech player Barbora Krejcikova will face Italy’s Jasmine Paolini after they each won their semi-final – one of the semi-finals was the longest on record! Anita is joined by BBC Sport’s Karthi Gnanasegaram from the commentary box at Wimbledon.

    The Australian vocalist, pianist and trumpeter Audrey Powne was drawn to jazz from a young age. Her style ranges from hook-laden synth pop songs to long form cinematic soundscapes, RnB ballads and free jazz improvisations. She has recently released her debut album, From The Fire, and she joins Anita to talk about her work, the inspiration behind the album and to perform live in the studio.

    Radio 4 and Woman’s Hour are remembering Dr Michael Mosley’s life and work. "Exercise snacking” is one of the approaches that Dr Mosley tried out on his Radio 4 podcast Just One Thing. Marie Murphy, Director of the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh and Professor of Exercise and Health at Ulster University, explains how you can boost your fitness even if you don’t have much time for exercise.

    WOW (Women of the World) has published a new anthology, allowing young women from across the globe to pen a letter about issues most important to them. Anita speaks to two of its contributors, Mwinono Chumbu from Malawi and Olivia Mandle from Spain.

    Presented by Anita Rani Producer: Louise Corley

    12 July 2024, 1:46 pm
  • 53 minutes 2 seconds
    The future of the two-child benefit cap, Women of Windrush opera, what is next for Kamala Harris?

    The Department for Work and Pensions has just published statistics on the number of people affected by the so-called two-child benefit cap, which restricts child tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in most households. Some campaigners have called the cap the biggest driver of the rise in child poverty in the UK and are demanding the new Labour government scrap it immediately. So what is the future of the policy? Anita Rani talks to BBC political correspondent Hannah Miller, to Sara Ogilvie, Director of Policy, Rights and Advocacy at the Child Poverty Action Group and to mother of three Olympia.

    Women of the Windrush is an opera which portrays the stories of women who travelled to the UK from the West Indies between the 1940’s and the 1960’s. It is being re-staged as part of the Re-discover Festival from StreetWise Opera which celebrates the impact of African and Caribbean heritage on contemporary British culture. Anita is joined by Festival’s director, the soprano Opera singer Abigail Kelly and Dr. Shirley Thompson OBE composer of Women of the Windrush.

    Will Kamala Harris step in as a the Democratic nominee in the US elections? Anita talks to Shannon Felton Spence, Communications and Political Strategist at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center in Boston..

    And a recent article in the New York Times coined the phrase "medium friends" to describe “not our besties, but more than just acquaintances.” What is the significance of the mid-table friendship? Anita talks to Dr Susan MacDougall, a social anthropologist at Oxford University and to Shazia Mirza, a comedian and writer.

    Presenter: Anita Rani Producer: Laura Northedge

    11 July 2024, 11:06 am
  • 57 minutes 26 seconds
    Nusrit Mehtab, Author Cathy Rentzenbrink, Olympian Hannah Mills

    Irish soldier Cathal Crotty was given a three-year suspended sentence after beating Natasha O'Brien unconscious in May 2022. Now, in the latest development, he is due to be formally discharged from the Defence Forces. Nuala hears Natasha's reaction and speaks to Diane Byrne, a spokeswoman for the Women of Honour group, to hear what impact this could have.

    Hannah Mills is the most successful female sailor in Olympic history, having won medals at the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games. Now she’s taking part in the Sail Grand Prix, an international sailing competition. Ahead of the finals this weekend, Hannah joins Nuala to talk about the work going into making the sport more gender equitable.

    Nusrit Mehtab spent 30 years serving in the Metropolitan Police before resigning, citing her own mental health and a toxic culture as reasons. Now she’s written a memoir looking back on her career. Nusrit joins Nuala to talk about the more shocking revelations as well as what it was that kept her going.

    Cathy Rentzenbrink is known for her non-fiction books – but now she’s written a second fiction novel – Ordinary Time. It tells the story of Ann, a reluctant vicar’s wife, and her grappling with ideas of marriage, duty and temptation. Cathy joins Nuala to tell us more.

    Presenter: Nuala McGovern Producer: Lottie Garton

    10 July 2024, 11:09 am
  • 55 minutes 40 seconds
    Review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Black market weight loss drugs, Composer Undine Smith Moore

    Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal speaks to Nuala McGovern about his independent culture review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which is the independent regulator for nurses and midwifes in the UK. The report is highly critical, finding that a "dysfunctional culture" at the council has "threatened public safety and puts nurses at risk." Sir David Warren, Chair of the Council also joins them to respond to the findings of the report.

    Women are turning to increasingly risky ways to get weight loss drugs, like Ozempic and Wegovy, as online prescribers become more stringent about who they will give them to. Two young women tell Woman’s Hour’s Melanie Abbott about using drugs they buy on the black market, despite the potential dangers. Plus Professor Kamila Hawthorne from the Royal College of GPs explains the dangers of taking unregulated drugs.

    A new Radio 3 documentary looks at the life and work of 20th Century American composer Undine Smith Moore. Presenter Dr Samantha Ege tells Nuala about the woman affectionally called “The Dean of Black Women Composers”. She explains how Moore’s radical, experimental composition ‘Soweto’ helped her find her anger and heal after trauma.

    Presenter: Nuala McGovern Producer: Olivia Skinner

    9 July 2024, 11:12 am
  • 57 minutes 18 seconds
    Harriet Harman and election reaction, Sports Day, France Me Too

    There are a record number of women MPs in the new parliament. Nuala McGovern is joined by former Mother of the House and now chair of the charity the Fawcett Society, Harriet Harman, who wants to set up a Women’s Caucus made up of female MPs. We also have political reaction from journalists Rachel Cunliffe and Caroline Wheeler.

    Is sports day something that teaches children invaluable life lessons, or simply an annual event that demoralises? Nuala is joined by journalist Esther Walker and comedian Helen Thorn to discuss further.

    The French film industry has been under the spotlight in recent months after allegations of sexual assault and harassment by women against directors and actors. Last month, the French parliament agreed to create a commission to investigate sexual and gender based violence in the industry and other cultural sectors. Some of the allegations have been put forward by the actor and director Judith Godrèche who joins Nuala on the programme to discuss the issues.

    Yorkshire County Cricket Club has retrospectively awarded caps to women’s players who have represented their county to recognise their commitment and their importance to the Club – spanning nearly 90 years of history. Jane Powell, President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club who captained England and played for Yorkshire for 12 years from 1980 to 1991, and also received a cap herself joins Nuala to discuss.

    Presenter: Nuala McGovern Producer: Emma Pearce

    8 July 2024, 12:14 pm
  • 43 minutes 40 seconds
    Weekend Woman's Hour: Jonathan Meijer interviewed on fathering over 550 babies by sperm donation, Gabby Logan, Lisa Jewell

    A new series was released this week on Netflix. It is called Man with 1,000 Kids, and Netflix is billing it as the true story of Jonathan Meijer, a man accused of travelling the world, deceiving women into having his babies - via sperm donation - on a mass scale. Nuala McGovern talks to Jonathan Meijer, the sperm donor, to mums Natalie and Suzanne, who had a baby conceived with Jonathan’s donor sperm, to Natalie Hill, the executive producer who pitched the original idea for these films to Netflix and to Rachel Cutting, director of compliance and information at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK’s independent regulator of fertility treatment.

    Gabby Logan joins Krupa Padhy to talk about her new book The Midpoint Plan. She’s challenging the stereotype of middle age. With fewer insecurities, children leaving home and perhaps a bit more money in the bank, she believes we should see it as the best point in our lives. Plus, if we look after ourselves in midlife, we’ll be happier in old age.

    Summer is here, which means it's wedding season, and brides-to-be across the country are asking themselves the eternal question: what do I wear for the occasion? Kathryn Wheeler, who married earlier this year, decided to do something that old superstitions advice against: make her own wedding dress. In the process, she learned much more than just sewing skills. She also learned a life lesson, to embrace imperfections.

    It’s 25 year since the New York Times’ best-selling author Lisa Jewell published her first novel, Ralph’s Party. Since then she’s written another twenty-one novels, and more recently a number of dark psychological thrillers, including Then She Was Gone, The Family Upstairs and the award winning None of This is True. She joins Krupa Padhy to discuss her latest work – Breaking the Dark – which is a Jessica Jones Marvel crime novel, exploring the world of the private detective and former superhero.

    By the time she was 19, Michelle De Swarte had gone from a council estate in London to the catwalks of Manhattan. Her twenties were a swirl of parties and high end glamour but by her thirties she was broke and in need - as she once put it - of a “new personality”. Desperate to find a way out of fashion, she reinvented herself as a stand-up comedian. Michelle De Swarte joins Nuala to talk about putting some of her own experiences into a new BBC comedy, Spent.

    Presenter: Krupa Padhy Producer: Annette Wells Editor: Rebecca Myatt

    6 July 2024, 4:00 pm
  • 57 minutes 27 seconds
    Lisa Jewell, Baby Babble, Bluebella rugby ad, Genre Fiction - Romance/Romantasy

    It’s 25 year since the New York Times’ best-selling author Lisa Jewell published her first novel, Ralph’s Party. Since then she’s written another twenty-one novels, and more recently a number of dark psychological thrillers, including Then She Was Gone, The Family Upstairs and the award winning None of This is True. She joins Krupa Padhy to discuss her latest work – Breaking the Dark – which is a Jessica Jones Marvel crime novel, exploring the world of the private detective and former superhero. 

    Over the summer Woman’s Hour is looking at ‘genre fiction’. Today we start the series with the ever-popular genre of romance and its new sub-genre, romantasy. Lindsey Kelk published her first romance novel I Heart New York in 2009. Her new novel Love Story is just that, as well as being an interrogation of the very concept of romantic fiction. Sarah A. Parker’s romantasy novel When the Moon Hatched went from an independently published TikTok sensation to Sunday Times bestseller. Both authors join Krupa to discuss the stigma and success of the romance genre.

    A video of a 19 month old baby babbling has gone viral after people noticed she had a Scouse accent. The video, which shows baby Orla chatting away to her Mum’s friend, has been viewed more than 20 million times. To explain what’s going on when babies and very young children are learning language, and how can they have an accent before they can properly speak, Krupa is joined by Professor Julian Pine, Professor of Psychology at the University of Liverpool.

    A recent advertising campaign for Bluebella the underwear brand, features three of the GB women's rugby team members in the brand’s lingerie, on a rugby pitch. The campaign has had a mixed response. Krupa discusses with rugby journalist, Victoria Rush, and Sarah Bellew, head of communications for Women in Sport a charity that tackles gender inequality in sport.

    More than 150 pages of court transcripts from a 2006 grand jury criminal investigation into Jeffrey Epstein were released to the public on Monday. A judge in Florida ordered the release of the documents which had been kept secret for nearly two decades. They included first hand testimony from teenage victims as young as 14. To discuss the significance of this Krupa speaks to Emma Long, Head of American Studies at the University of East Anglia

    Presented by Krupa Padhy Producer: Louise Corley

    4 July 2024, 12:45 pm
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