Woman's Hour

By BBC Radio 4


The programme that offers a female perspective on the world


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Women In Film, Female MP's joining the Independent Group, Mariam Khan

Of the twelve MPs who resigned so far this week from the Labour and Conservative parties, seven of them are women. Jane speaks to Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender at Birkbeck University about the significance of their resignations. The first survey of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in young people in the UK suggests girls are twice as likely to develop PTSD following a traumatic experience, with 1 in 13 young people across the UK having had post-traumatic stress disorder before reaching the age of 18. Andrea Danese, Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Kings College London explains the implications of the survey and Flo Sharman who experienced PTSD and is an ambassador for mental health charity MQ. The 2019 Oscars are on Sunday - and this year the hashtag #OscarsSoMale has been trending. That’s because not one woman has been nominated in the Best Director, Original Score, Film Editing and Best Picture categories. Only 25% of non-acting Oscar nominations this year went to women. Radio 4 film podcast presenter and playwright Melody Bridges shines a light on some of her favourite women in film with three of her favourite films directed by women who she believes were snubbed an Oscar win for Best Director. How much do you know about herpes? 7 out of 10 people over the age of 25 carry a type of the virus, but it’s still a source of embarrassment and frequently misunderstood. We speak to three women who have genital herpes about the impact it’s had on their lives, and the reality behind the myths It’s Not About the Burqa” features seventeen essays from Muslim women speaking frankly on topics as wide ranging as the hijab and wavering faith, love and divorce, feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country. The writer and activist Mariam Khan talks to Jane about why she wanted to put the anthology together, with writer and poet Salma El-Wardany on her essay A Gender Denied; Islam, sex and the struggle to get some. Presenter: Jane Garvey Producer: Caroline Donne Interviewed Guest: Professor Sarah Childs Interviewed Guest: Professor Andrea Danese Interviewed Guest: Melody Bridges Interviewed Guest: Mariam Khan Interviewed Guest: Salma El-Wardany Interviewed Guest; Flo Sharman


Afghan Women and the Peace Negotiations

Jenni speaks to Mary Akrami, director of the Afghan Women’s Network and Sunday Times Chief Foreign Correspondent and author, Christina Lamb who has been reporting on Afghanistan for decades. Why are there no women involved in the current peace negotiations involving the US negotiators and the Taliban? And what could be the consequences for women? Clara Schumann might not be the best known composer with her surname, but her ability and talent as a pianist made her a star in the 19th Century. 2019 is her bicentenary, and she’s being celebrated around the country. We’re joined by curator of the Clara Schumann Festival, Beverley Vong, and Lucy Perham, whose tour ‘I, Clara’, tells the composer’s story through her letters and music. Over the last 6 weeks we have been hearing from listeners about the family secrets they have discovered and how their lives and relationships were changed by the revelations. Lots of you have been in touch to tell us how the tales and their tellers have chimed with you. Psychotherapist Sue Cowan-Jenssen discusses the power and fall-out of family secrets. Laura Bates has just written her debut novel for young adults called The Burning. Inspired by the real stories of teenage girls contributing to the Everyday Sexism Project Laura created in 2012, the book tells the parallel stories of two young women, 15 year old Anna who is mercilessly bullied after a topless photo of her is shared by a boy at her school and Maggie, who lived 400 years earlier and was accused of witchcraft.


Family secrets, Who was Mary Macarthur? Poet Fatimah Asghar, Gender pay inequalities in UK nursing

More Family Secret, today we hear from Prue who's niece brought her a DNA kit for her 70th Birthday. When she found out that she could find people with matched DNA, she was shocked to discover that the man who brought her up was in fact NOT her biological father. Since then she's been trying to find him. Reporter Jo Morris meets her at her home to talk about the impact the news had on her. Nursing is predominantly a female occupation in the UK, but men still hold one in five of the best paid jobs, according to a new study by London South Bank University . Jenni talks to Professor Alison Leary, Chair of Workforce Modelling, who headed up the study called ‘Nursing pay by gender distribution in the UK - does the Glass Escalator still exist?’ Rouse, Ye Women! a folk opera is currently on tour around the country. It tells the tale of Mary Macarthur, a female trade unionist in the early part of the twentieth century who relentlessly fought for better working conditions and pay for women. We hear from actor and singer, Bryony Purdue who plays the activist and Mary’s biographer, Dr Cathy Hunt. And Fatimah Asghar, is an impassioned voice on the experience of young Pakistani-American women and the voice behind the web series Brown Girls. She shares some of her debut poetry collection which examines daily microaggressions and the long term trauma that the Indian-Pakistani partition has had on her culture. Presenter Jenni Murray Producer Beverley Purcell Guest; Bryony Purdue Guest; Dr Cathy Hunt. Guest; Fatimah Asghar Guest Prof. Alison Leary Reporter Jo Morris


Tracey Neville Head Coach of the England Women's Netball Team, Working as a Barrister, Vaccinations

Head Coach of the England Netball Team, Tracey Neville tells us about her work to get Netball recognised as a professional sport. New research shows almost two thirds of those who left the Bar on the Western Circuit over the last six years were women. Why is it so difficult for women to progress in a career as a barrister? We hear from Sarah Langford who specialises criminal and family law and Arlene Small a specialist in family finance and children work. Cases of measles in Europe have tripled between 2017 and 2018 the highest recorded this decade according to the World Health Organisation. Helen Bedford, Professor of Children’s Health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and Samantha Vanderslott a Social sciences researcher at Oxford Vaccine Group discuss the recent outbreaks in America and why some parents are reluctant to get their children vaccinated. The day before Valentines Day has now become Galentines day, a day to celebrate female friendships. Claire Cohen Women’s Editor at the Daily Telegraph and Rachel Pashley a marketing consultant and the author of New Female Tribes discuss whether the concept of gal pals is a good thing. Breast ironing is a way to stop teenagers breasts from growing. It’s painful but mothers in some communities call it tradition and believe it will protect their daughters from sexually assault. It happens in some African countries but has been recorded in the UK too. Milly Kerr from the National FGM Centre tells us what the UK government is doing to tackle this form of child abuse. The textile artist Clare Hunter tells us about the importance of sewing when it comes to protest banners and story telling tapestry’s. Fran Thomas, who can have up to 15 epileptic fits a day, tells us how her seizures are linked to her menstrual cycle. Dr Simona Balestrini an epilepsy expert explains why new research should bring better and new treatment options to women. Presented by Jenni Murray Producer: Rabeka Nurmahomed Editor: Beverley Purcell


Being a barrister, Historian Suzannah Lipscomb, Stopping Breastfeeding

New research highlights how many women leave the bar mid-career. So why is it so difficult for women to progress in a career as a barrister? We hear from a barrister currently on maternity leave and another who has returned to the profession after having children. After our programmes on feeding your baby, you told us how hard it is to find help if you’re, for whatever reason, trying to stop breastfeeding. Whether its dealing with a baby or child who doesn’t want to stop, staying full of milk when you need to go back to work, or dealing with the emotional and hormonal fall out. You wrote to us about all of these things. So what should women be aware of when they stop breast feeding? And what can they do to help themselves and their babies? We speak to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Clare Meynell and Clare Byam-Cook, author of 'What to expect when you're breast-feeding, and what if you can't?' Historian Suzannah Lipscomb uncovers the lives, behaviours and attitudes to love, marriage and sex of ordinary 16th and 17th century French women. Based on the evidence of over a thousand cases brought before the moral courts of the Protestant church of Languedoc. She joins Jenni to discuss her new book ‘The Voices of Nimes - Women, Sex & Marriage in Reformation Languedoc. We remember the author Andrea Levy We hear the fifth story of our family secrets series. Presenter: Jenni Murray Producer: Helen Fitzhenry Interviewed guest: Arlene Small Interviewed guest: Sarah Langford Interviewed guest: Suzannah Lipscomb Interviewed guest: Clare Meynell Interviewed guest: Clare Byam-Cook


Tracey Neville: Head Coach of the England Women’s Netball Team

Netball is played in schools across the UK, but as a professional sport has had little recognition. When the England Netball team took home Gold at the Commonwealth Games last year, that changed. Head Coach Tracey Neville joins us to discuss the impact that moment had, and what she loves so much about the game. In the UK, there are 800,000 disabled children under the age of 16 - nearly all of them live at home and are supported by their families. But what happens when their behaviour becomes so challenging you struggle to look after them? We look at the difficult decision to consider whether residential care might be the answer not only for them but for you and the rest of the family. We hear from Sharon King, mother of three older children all of whom are on the autism spectrum, and Amanda Batten Chief Executive Contact a charity for families of disabled children. Breast ironing is a way to stop teenagers’ breasts from growing. It’s painful and sometimes involves large, hot stones pushing down on the breasts. Hammers or spatulas are also used, and so are elastic belts or binders. Usually mothers do it, calling it tradition and saying that it stops their daughters being sexually attractive or sexually active. It happens in several African countries but cases have been recorded in the UK too, although it’s impossible to know the true scale. This week the UK Government has called it child abuse and says it will be dealt with in law. Laura Mucha has spent her life trying to understand romantic relationships and has now brought interviews with strangers together with research studies in her new book. She discusses her findings and how they’ve helped her own approach to love. Presenter: Jenni Murray Producer: Kirsty Starkey Interviewed Guest: Amanda Barren Interviewed Guest: Sharon King Interviewed Guest: Tracey Neville Interviewed Guest: Milly Kerr Interviewed Guest: Laura Mucha


Galentine's Day

How important is it to celebrate your female friendships? It's Galentine’s Day! The day before Valentine’s Day, it was first mentioned in an episode of the American sitcom Parks and Recreation nearly 10 years ago. It's now a part of card and present marketing. From identical pyjamas, to matching jewellery, to apps which help women to make friends; the concept of ‘gal pals’ or a ‘female tribe’ has become hugely commercialised. Does is matter? Claire Cohen is the Women’s Editor at the Daily Telegraph. Rachel Pashley has over 20 years of experience in global marketing and advertising, specialising in female insight. They both join Jenni to discuss. Female friendships taking centre stage. We look at three current theatre productions examining women’s relationships with actor Tanya Loretta Dee who's performing in Boots, the writer of Soft Animals, Holly Robinson and actor/producer Josie Dale Jones whose play Dressed is soon to open in London. They discuss the importance of the support and nurturing these bonds provide. How important are friends at work? It is a good idea to be best friends with a colleague? And what happens when promotions, redundancies and annoying office habits get in the way? We talk to Kate Leaver, journalist and author of The Friendship Cure: A Manifesto for Reconnecting in the Modern World, and to business psychologist Adina Tarry. What impact does having children have on friendships groups? Is it possible to carry on as before once babies are added to the mix? Do you have friends who have children but you don’t? Has your relationship with your friends changed? We're joined by blogger Candice Brathwaite and journalist Momtaz Begum Hossain. Presented by Jenni Murray Produced by Jane Thurlow


#NunsToo, Onlyness, Black female professors

Pope Francis has for the first time publicly acknowledged the scandal of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns. Rocio Figueroa, a theologian and lecturer and Doris Reisinger Wagner tell us their experience in a discussion with Sister Sharlet Wagner, a sister of the Holy Cross and the current President of The Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States. The Football Association should increase the Women’s FA Cup Prize Fund according to Charlie Dobres from Lewes FC, the only football club to pay their men and women teams equally. He's joined by sports writer Anna Kessel to tell us why. We discuss Onlyness – when you’re the only person with a certain characteristic, perspective or life experience in a group – usually a work setting. Chloe Davies Executive Officer at UK Black Pride and Chloe Chambraud Gender Equality Director at the Prince’s Responsible Business Network discuss. The writer Lucy-Anne Holmes tells us about her book Don’t Hold My Head Down where she explores her sexuality and looks at improving her sex life. Southeastern Trains wants more women to become train drivers. It’s launched a campaign to get 40% of applicants to be women by 2021. We hear from their Services Director, Ellie Burrows and from Kelly-Joe Ballard who has been a train driver for two years. Bullying and stereotyping of black female academics is stopping them from progressing at UK Universities according to a new report. We hear from Gina Higginbottom an emeritus professor of Ethnicity and Community Health at the University of Nottingham and Dr Nicola Rollock a reader in Equity and Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, who carried out the research. Catherine Simpson on her memoir, Once I Had a Little Sister - about suicide, loss and how it felt to come from a family who never spoke about their feelings. Presented by Jane Garvey Produced by Rabeka Nurmahomed Edited by Jane Thurlow


Nicole Lecky in Superhoe at the Royal Court

Sasha Clayton is 24 and lives in Plaistow with her mum, step-dad and little sister. She spends most of her time scrolling through social media alone in her room. Sasha wants to singer - but she needs money to make that dream come true. Superhoe is a new play at the Royal Court Theatre in London exploring Sasha’s life, and the dangers that lie on social media for vulnerable young women. Nicole Lecky is the writer and stars in Superhoe. She discusses the play and all that she learnt whilst putting it together. New research from Carers UK shows that 6% of women have quit their jobs in order to care for a loved one, with a further 5% having reduced their hours. So what can employers do to improve things for carers? And is it fair to expect even small businesses to comply? It’s 50 years since ‘In Place of Strife’, the late Labour politician Barbara Castle’s attempt to reform the trade unions. In an era of powerful unions, who would negotiate over beer and sandwiches at No 10 Downing Street, her plan failed. But within a year she succeeded in driving through the Equal Pay Act and in 1975 she reformed family allowances to “take money out of the husband's pocket on the Friday and put it into the wife's purse on the following Tuesday”. We discuss how Castle fought for union reform, what she learnt from it and her legacy with biographer, Anne Perkins and journalist, Helen Lewis. Lewes FC, the only football club to pay their men and women teams equally, have asked the Football Association for an increase in the Women’s FA Cup prize fund. The FA recognises a significant disparity but say they’re doing what they can to make progress. Sports Writer, Anna Kessel and Charlie Dobres from Lewes Football Club share their thoughts. There is no single 'autism test'. But as diagnosis can lead to your child getting the right support. what do you do if you think that your child is autistic? When can you tell and where can you go for help? Jane speaks to Emma Gill who has a 4-year old daughter who has been diagnosed with autism and Dr Sarah Brook, clinical lead at the National Autistic Society’s Loma Wing. Presenter: Jane Garvey Producer: Kirsty Starkey Interviewed Guest: Madeleine Starr Interviewed Guest: Alan Beazley Interviewed Guest: Anne Perkins Interviewed Guest: Ayesha Hazarika Interviewed Guest: Anna Kessel Interviewed Guest: Charlie Dobres Interviewed Guest: Nicole Lecky Photographer: Helen Murray Interviewed Guest: Emma Gill Interviewed Guest: Dr Sarah Lister Brook


Catherine Simpson, Domestic Abuse, Pharmacosexuality

Catherine Simpson, on the left of the picture, comes onto Woman's Hour to talk about her memoir which is about her sister's suicide. Tricia, who was younger than Catherine, decided to take her own life when she was in her forties. Catherine's book is called When I Had A Little Sister: The Story Of A Farming Family Who Never Spoke. Every year 750,000 children see domestic abuse or are at the receiving end of it. It can have an impact on them forever. Behind Closed Doors: Through the Eyes of a Child is a documentary which will be broadcast on BBC Two on Wednesday. It follows four children and their families and charts their emotions, feelings and development. Jane talks to Anna Hall who spent three years making the film and to Jo, who’s a woman looking after one of the children featured in the documentary. New research has been carried out into women having sex whilst on illegal drugs. It's been done by the School of Law at Royal Holloway University in London. They've called it Pharmacosexuality and the work's been led by Dr Alex Dymock. She joins us to discuss. "Onlyness" is a word which describes what it feels like to be the only person in a group with a specific characteristic, perspective or life experience. It happens when your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, cultural background or marriage status separates you from everyone else. So, what's the impact of being the "only one"? Should you ignore it or celebrate it? Chloe Chambraud is the Gender Equality Director at the Prince’s Responsible Business Network and Chloë Davies is the Executive Officer at UK Black Pride. They both join Jane to discuss.


Lily Ebert, US shutdown, Mariette Lindstein

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday, Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert tells her story. Her daughter Bilha and great-granddaughter Miri explain how Lily's experience has shaped them. The U.S. Government shutdown is in its fifth week, making it the longest shutdown in U.S. history. We look at how this crisis is affecting women, particularly survivors of domestic violence who are reliant on government funded shelters. We're joined by Cindy Southworth from the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Vivian Baylor, who runs a women’s refuge in West Virginia. They discuss how the shutdown is preventing women and children get vital help. Inspired by her own experience of 25 years in the Church of Scientology, Mariette Lindstein has written a thriller called Fog Island. It's a bestseller in Sweden and is about a fictional cult based on an island off the Swedish coast. Forty years ago, after reading Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach, Clair Chapwell wrote to the author. She wanted to get permission to write a play based on the book because she said it changed her life. Susie said yes. So Clair advertised for other women to help her with her play and together they set up a theatre company called Spare Tyre. Their play was called Baring the Weight and now they're reviving it. Clair is in the studio together with her younger collaborator Rosie Litterick. They talk to Jane about how everything, and nothing, has changed in 40 years.


Freida Pinto in Love Sonia

Inspired by real life events, a new film ‘Love Sonia’ is the story of a young girl from a small village in India who finds herself caught up in the global sex trafficking industry. One of the stars of the film is Freida Pinto. She joins Jenni to discuss. The first leader of the Women’s Equality Party is standing down. Sophie Walker has been doing the job since 2015. In 2017 her party published a manifesto full of feminist policies from which she openly invited all the mainstream parties to steal. She has said repeatedly that she wants to change the way we do politics. And yesterday, she sought to change it saying that “sometimes in order to lead, you have to get out of the way”. She explains what she meant and why she’s decided to go now. Basma Khalifa was born in Saudi Arabia, but grew up in Northern Ireland before moving to London as a stylist. In a new BBC 3 documentary, she explores whether it’s a place she could consider living in again. Basma and Director Jessica Kelly discuss their experience. An Irish couple say they've been denied an abortion in an Irish hospital even though their unborn baby had a fatal foetal abnormality. They were told by doctors to wait for a miscarriage. Their situation has been brought up in the Irish Parliament, with their consent, and it’s raising questions about whether Irish hospitals are ready, or willing, to implement the new law on abortion. There was a referendum last Spring in which the Irish people voted 66.4% in favour of Repealing the Eighth Amendment, which was a law restricting access to abortion. We hear the facts. Presenter: Jenni Murray Producer: Kirsty Starkey Interviewed Guest: Sophie Walker Interviewed Guest: Freida Pinto Interviewed Guest: Basma Khalifa Interviewed Guest: Jessica Kelly Interviewed Guest: Dr Peter Boylan


The Favourite, Abortion in Ireland, Mid Winter

New film ‘The Favourite’ set in 18th century England features a frail and irascible Queen Anne played by Olivia Coleman whose attention and affection is being sought by her political adviser Lady Sarah Churchill (Duchess of Marlborough) and ruthless chambermaid Abigail. It is a story of sexual politics and power games, starring Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Jenni talks to screenwriter Deborah Davis. Abortion will be legal in the Republic of Ireland from the first day of January 2019. A bill to legalise abortion services passed all stages of the Irish Parliament last week, but given the tight time frame, how will this work in practice? Jenni is joined by Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland Reporter at The Times and Dr Peter Boylan, consultant obstetrician and former master of the National Maternity Hospital. In May we heard from 25 year old Samantha Jury-Dada who, concerned by the surge in knife crime in London, was going to several parts of the US to find out how young women and girls associated with gangs are supported. She’s back and tells Jenni what she found out and how that information will help her forge better support for young women at risk here in the UK. Gillian Monks is the author of ‘Merry Midwinter: How to rediscover the Magic of the Christmas Season' and she joins Jenni to discuss the history and significance of Winter Solstice celebrations. She’ll be sharing some simple tactics on how to shut out Christmas stress and remember the spirit of the season. Presenter: Jenni Murray Producer: Laura Northedge Interviewed Guest: Deborah Davis Interviewed Guest: Ellen Coyne Interviewed Guest: Dr Peter Boylan Interviewed Guest: Samantha Jury-Dada Interviewed Guest: Gillian Monks


Late Night Woman's Hour: Work and Rest

Lauren and guests reflect on how we can find the right balance between work and rest. Often presented as opposites, our attitudes to work and rest are changing under the influence of a range of technological and social forces. Many people work from home, but how many of us also home from work? And how do we maintain the boundaries between the two when it's so easy to check your work email at midnight? Lauren's guests this month are: Emma Gannon: writer, blogger, and founder of the podcast Control Alt Delete. Emma wrote a book of the same name in 2016, and is currently working on a new book, The Multi-Hyphen Method, in which she's going to be looking at how we can 'design our own careers and work less.' Dr Zeena Feldman: lecturer in digital culture at King's College London. Zeena is interested in how digital media blur the boundaries between our work and home lives. Earlier this year she launched the Quitting Social Media project, examining peoples' reasons for disconnecting. Rosie Fletcher: writer, stand-up comedian and co-founder of the Rosie & Jessica's Day of Fun podcast. Rosie has M.E., which has affected her ability to work and meant a radical reassessment of how she manages her energy. She writes about her experiences for the New Statesman and Huffington Post. Ash Sarkar: lecturer and senior editor at Novara Media, Ash's work focuses on the enduring legacies of colonialism in modern Europe, the intersections between race, class and gender, as well as the political meaning of Beyoncé.

Woman's Hour Podcast


Women In Film, Female MP's ...


Of the twelve MPs who resigned so far this week from the Labour and Conservative parties, seven of them are women. Jane speaks to Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender at Birkbeck University about the significance of their resignations. ...