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Woman's Hour

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

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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 BarnettProducer: Emma Pearce


4 Oct 2022

Rank #1

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Gentle parenting

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.


3 Oct 2022

Rank #2

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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 RaniProducer: Surya ElangoEditor: Emma Pearce


1 Oct 2022

Rank #3

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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 albumThe 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 AwardsPresenter: Anita RaniProducer: Lisa JenkinsonStudio Manager: Michael Millham.


30 Sep 2022

Rank #4

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Oloni, Women in Politics, Forever Friends?

'Ladies shall we have some fun?' Some of you may recognise this catchphrase and be thinking of the sex and relationship expert Oloni, who built an online community by speaking openly about sex and relationships. Her new book – The Big O – is out and goes into detail about how we can close what she calls ‘the orgasm gap’. Oloni joins Emma.The Bank of England’s intervention yesterday to calm financial markets after the government’s mini-budget came hot on the heels of the International Monetary Fund warning that the measures are likely to fuel the cost of living crisis. One woman who’s been advising the IMF over the past 20 years is Ngaire Woods, now Professor of Global Economic Governance at the University of Oxford, she joins Emma.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 who had true executive power - party or government leaders – come from the right, starting with Margaret Thatcher. The academic Costanza Hermanin from the European University Institute in Florence joins Emma Barnett to discuss why the Left have had fewer female leaders, alongside Professor Matthew Goodwin from the University of Kent, who has written a number of books including National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy.We've been talking about female friendship in the last couple of weeks and focussing on what happens when friendship goes wrong. Can you fix a friendship that has broken and should you try? Daniella and Nataliya - Dan and Nat - are both 33 and they live in London. Jo Morris talked to them, separately, about their long friendship and what it means to them. Presenter: Emma BarnettProducer: Emma Pearce


29 Sep 2022

Rank #5

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Women and Labour, Zarifa Ghafari, Leicester women united

Sir Keir Starmer delivered his speech to the Labour Party conference yesterday. It comes as YouGov polling shows women would be more likely than men to vote Labour if an election were held now. What's behind this? Former Tony Blair aide for over 10 years Baroness Sally Morgan joins Emma Barnett alongside Anoosh Chakelin Britain Editor at the New Statesman.Actor Gwyneth Paltrow decided to pose naked, mostly covered in gold body powder, and then posted her photos on social media saying she had learned to accept 'the marks and the loosening skin, the wrinkles' that come with turning 50 and her decision was 'more about the female gaze and just a sense of fun'. Is there power to be gained from going naked? Emma speaks to economist and author Dr Victoria Bateman who protested against Brexit naked on TV, and walked naked into the drinks reception at the Royal Economic Society Conference.A group of grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters from Leicester have called for an end to the clashes involving mainly young men from sections of the Muslim and Hindu communities. The tensions in the city, which started last month following an India and Pakistan cricket match and the spread of misinformation on social media, resulted in large-scale disorder on 17th September on the east side of the city. This has led to nearly 50 arrests, 158 crimes being recorded and nine people being charged. The arrests have included people from outside of the city. The group of South Asian women of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths in Leicester issued a joint statement at the weekend saying "As strong proud Asian women, we know that when Leicester is united, it can never be defeated.” Joining Emma are local Labour Councillor Rita Patel who is Hindu and Yasmin Surti, a Muslim mother of three and Secretary of the Federation of Muslim Organisations in Leicester.Zarifa Ghafari was the youngest woman to become a mayor in Afghanistan, before having to flee the country last year after threats on her life by the Taliban, once again back in charge. Zarifa sadly knows first hand the brutality of the regime, as only weeks after another assassination attempt on her life failed in 2020, the Taliban killed her father. Her story forms the basis of a new Netflix documentary called In Her Hands and a book called Zarifa. She joins Emma from Germany, where she and her mother, fiance and six siblings now live in safety.


28 Sep 2022

Rank #6

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Author Kamila Shamsie. People smugglers. Family WhatsApp Group.

In her new novel "Best Of Friends" the award winning writer Kamila Shamasie explores the personal and political in Karachi in 1988 and London now. Fourteen year old Maryam and Zahra have been friends for 40 years but can they ever really know each other?Tonight's File on 4 will highlight the shortcomings of the Police and the National Referral Mechanism – the government pathway set up to provide financial, emotional and legal support as well as access to safe accommodation to victims of trafficking – and reveal how British survivors are being let down by the system. Emma talks to reporter Annabel Deas and we hear from a woman we're calling "Isobel" who is currently at risk of trafficking and lives in fear of her life. She was last trafficked earlier this year when she was gang raped and badly beaten by a gang who have abused her for over a decade. Her abuse began when she was 13 years old. Presenter Emma BarnettProducer Beverley PurcellPhoto credit; Alex von Tunzelman


27 Sep 2022

Rank #7

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


26 Sep 2022

Rank #8

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Women gambling, Male friendships, Anna Fedorova, Catherine Mayer, Sheep shearing and Beige flags

The number of women gambling is expected to rise as the cost of living crisis continues. Hear Jo’s story of what happened when she became addicted to gambling, and advice on the warning signs and how to get help from the chief executive of GambleAware Zoe Osmond. When Max Dickins needed to find himself a best man, he realised that he had no male friends. When he discovered that this is something lots of men go through, he decided to write a book with hints and tips for men, as well as what they can learn from the women in their lives about how to keep friendships.As the war in Ukraine goes on, musicians are providing hope and peace for Ukrainians. Piano soloist Anna Fedorova explains what she’s achieved through the power of music alongside the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra.The royal family is going to have a new, slimmer, shape in future. Royal biographer Catherine Mayer tells Emma what this means for Prince Andrew in particular, as well as the future of the monarchy under King Charles. Sheep shearer Marie Prebble tells us how she set a brand new women’s world record for sheep shearing – which involved months of training, and eight hours straight of holding wriggling sheep. Caitlin McPhail and Helen Thorn discuss dating in the modern world – including the small signs on online dating profiles that show someone’s a little bit boring, and how to let your true personality shine on dating platforms. Presenter: Anita RaniProducer: Lottie Garton


24 Sep 2022

Rank #9

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World record sheep shearer, Cuts to part-time work benefits,Seoul Femicide, Actors:Hayley Mills & Rula Lenska, Author Ira Mathur

Sheep farmer Marie Prebble speaks to Woman’s Hour about how she sheared 370 sheep in eight hours to set a new world record in female sheep shearing. She’ll be giving us an insight into what it takes to prepare for such an event and telling us a bit more about being one of the few female sheep farmers in the UK.More than 100,000 people in part-time work could face a benefit cut if they fail to properly look to do more hours, Kwasi Kwarteng is set to announce in his mini-budget today (Friday). The new rule will require benefit claimants working up to 15 hours a week to take new steps to increase their earnings or face having their benefits reduced. Part time work is essential to those in unpaid care roles, which are mostly held by women, so we wanted to find out how the new rules will affect these women. In Seoul last Wednesday, a 28-year-old woman was killed in a subway restroom, one day before her alleged killer was due to be sentenced on charges of stalking her. Her death has shocked the nation and prompted calls for a tightening of Korea's recent anti-stalking laws. We speak to BBC Seoul correspondent Jean MacKenzie.The much-loved film and book The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has been adapted for the stage, featuring the acting talents of Academy award-winning actor Hayley Mills and Coronation Street star Rula Lenska. They play Evelyn and Madge, two British retirees who start a new life in a retirement hotel in Bangalore; and join us to discuss how the play tackles misconceptions about ageing. Ira Mathur’s 'Love the Dark Days' is set across India, England, Trinidad and St Lucia. The memoir follows the author and broadcaster's journey as a child growing up in post-independence India with a Muslim mother and a Hindu father. Having lived with her grandmother, a member of an elite Muslim family, with a history of having colluded with the brutality of the British rule, she realises she has unconsciously imbibed her grandmother’s prejudices of class and race. Ira joins Anita Rani in the Woman’s Hour studio.Presenter: Anita RaniProducer: Kirsty StarkeyInterviewed Guest: Helen BarnardInterviewed Guest: Marie PrebblePhotographer: Emily FleurInterviewed Guest: Jean MackenzieInterviewed Guest: Hayley MillsInterviewed Guest: Rula LenskaInterviewed Guest: Ira Mathur


23 Sep 2022

Rank #10