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Woman's Hour


The programme that offers a female perspective on the world

The programme that offers a female perspective on the world


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The programme that offers a female perspective on the world




Cumberlege Review Reaction; Leaving School Rituals; Motherless daughters

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety review has been released this morning. Baroness Cumberlege led the review into the the effects of vaginal mesh, the hormonal pregnancy test Primodos and the epilepsy drug Sodium Valproate. She discusses its recommendations and her experience of hearing so many moving testimonies from women across the UK. Jenni also hears some initial reaction from Mary McLaughlin, who has campaigned for women affected by pelvic mesh in Ireland, and Clare...


The Cumberlege Review. How has the healthcare system responded to concerns raised by women?

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, also known as the Cumberlege review, is finally being published tomorrow after being delayed by Covid-19. It will focus on three health scandals that have severely affected women’s lives including vaginal mesh implants, an oral pregnancy test called Primodos, and an anti-epileptic drug called sodium valproate. The precise medical details between the cases differ, but what they all have in common is that women were given medical...


Ivana Bartoletti, HPV, STEM Winners

“Gendered power dynamics underpin the AI debate,” says Ivana Bartoletti. She’s an expert in data privacy and has set up a network called, Women Leading in AI. Ivana believes AI is linked to inequality and oppression. She talks to us about getting more women into coding, our addiction to being online and female cyborgs like Alexa and Siri. Why is the issue of HPV only discussed in relation to younger people? That's a question put by Helen, one of our listeners. The HPV vaccine is currently...


Skin lightening creams, the film Lynn and Lucy & Panama's sex segregated lockdown

The Domestic Abuse Bill 2020 is currently making its way through Parliament, and will reach the House of Lords by the end of July. For the first time there will be a statutory definition of domestic abuse. The Centre for Women’s Justice is asking for an amendment to the Bill, to create a free-standing offence of non-fatal strangulation or asphyxiation. We hear from Sandra who was strangled by a former partner and from Nicole Jacobs, the first domestic abuse commissioner for England and...


Fussy eaters, Parliament that works for women, Passing for white, Terri White - editor-in-chief Empire magazine

What do you do when your toddler is a fussy eater? A guide for parents about fussy eating which has been available for over ten years, has just been re-evaluated by 25 mothers. Jenni hears from Amanda, a mother of two daughters, plus one of the academics behind the guide, Claire Farrow, Professor in Children's Eating Behaviour at Aston University, Birmingham. The system of proxy voting for MPs on baby leave is due to expire this summer. Last year, Andrea Leadsom, then Leader of the House of...


The film Lynn and Lucy; The Double X Economy; Gender Bias at Work and Domestic Abuse Bill.

Lynn and Lucy is a new film about the lives of two best friends in a close-knit community in Essex whose relationship is tested after a tragedy happens. It stars Nichola Burley and Roxanne Scrimshaw in her first acting role. Roxanne joins Jenni to discuss female friendship, community, motherhood and the depiction of working class women on screen. The Domestic Abuse Bill 2020 is currently making its way through Parliament, and will reach the House of Lords by the end of July. For the first...


Women and Gaming;

The stereotypical view of a gamer is a socially-isolated teenager who could be doing something better with their time. Liz Vickers is a 74 year old gamer from Manby, Lincolnshire, and so is her good friend, Bridget Odlin, aged 75, from Louth, Lincolnshire. They’ve been playing together, and separately, for almost more than 20 years. Lotta Haegg, an avid gamer herself, speaks to them. A new government report in Ireland shows that 6666 women accessed abortions there in 2019. This is the first...


Women and Gaming; ICU nurse Dawn Bilbrough; Poulomi Basu; Puberty blockers

Dawn Bilbrough is a critical care nurse from York who in the early stages of COVID-19 posted an emotional video on social media that went viral. She was appealing to the public to stop panic buying as she was unable to get the basics in her supermarket after her shift ended. She joins Jane to discuss the impact of the video and what it has been like working on the frontline. This week Woman's Hour is focusing on women and gaming – and today we hear from cyberpsychologist Dr Daria Kuss who's...


Skin-lightening creams

Last week Johnson & Johnson announced it will cease production on two lines of skin-lightening products sold in countries across Asia and the Middle East. At the same time, Unilever, who own the skin-lightening cream Fair & Lovely, have announced that they will change the product’s name. How significant are these moves? And why does the skin-lightening industry continue to be so popular, despite the dangers and controversy? Nimmi Dosanjh is Indian-Kenyan and light-skinned. Her 11 year old...


Rethink: How might our relationship with our bodies and appearance change after the pandemic?, Public Speaking, Pregnancy

How might our relationship with our bodies and appearance change after the pandemic? As part of the BBC's Rethink series, Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project, Kate Lister, Lecturer in the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds Trinity University, and Shahidha Bari, Professor of Fashion Cultures and Histories at the London College of Fashion discuss. Dr Amanda Brown has been working as a GP at Bronzefield, a women-only prison. In her new book. The Prison Doctor: Women...


Rethink – The harm of macho leadership; Athlete A

Today’s Rethink essay comes from the musician and artist Brian Eno, he asks what the response to the pandemic has taught us about leadership, and how what we want and need from our future leaders might have changed. To discuss the future of leadership Jane speaks to Dame Heather Rabbatts, Chair of Time’s Up UK, Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyds of London and Professor Ngaire Woods, founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. A new Netflix documentary – Athlete A...


I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel’s new drama “I May Destroy You” on BBC 1 is receiving rave reviews on Twitter and in the papers. The story centres around a writer called Arabella who is drugged and sexually assaulted but has no recollection of the assault except in flashbacks and has to piece together what happened to her. How effective is the way the story is told and what questions does it raise about consent, relationships and the portrayal of women’s everyday lived experience on screen? To discuss the...


R4 Rethink: How might our relationship with our bodies and appearance change after the pandemic?

Rethink is a series of essays and discussions across BBC Radio 4, 5 Live and the World Service that looks at how the world might change after the coronavirus pandemic. Today's essay features the political philosopher Clare Chambers who considers how our relationship with our bodies, and our appearance has been affected by the lockdown. To discuss Jenni is joined by Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project, Kate Lister, Lecturer in the School of Arts and Communication at Leeds...


The Prison Doctor, Public Speaking, Holiday Clubs, Contraception & Lockdown

Theresa May has made a million pounds on the speaker circuit since she stood down as Prime Minister just under a year ago. We discuss how she’s done it and whether she might have a long career ahead of her doing it. Working parents of primary-aged children often rely on out-of-school childcare for the school run and long summer holidays. But thanks to Covid-19, many of these providers are facing an uncertain future. A recent survey by the Out of School Alliance found that 40% of respondents...


R4 Rethink: how might we design our world better post Covid?

Today Radio 4 launches Rethink - a series of essays and discussions right across BBC Radio that ask how the world might change after the pandemic. We begin with an essay from Stirling Prize winning architect Amanda Levete asking how we could design the world around us differently. Has being confined to our homes and immediate communities taught us new things about what we need and want from them? How will more remote working change the role of the office? How might we now start to build for...


Naomi Campbell, Equality at home, Susie Dent

Naomi Campbell the model, icon, and activist, who’s been at the summit of the fashion industry for over three decades tells us how she believes the fashion and beauty industry needs to play its part in bringing about change when it comes to racial equality. Who is doing the most when it comes to childcare and chores in heterosexual couples, and how might lock-down be changing things? We hear from Ali Lacey, a PhD researcher from Sussex University which is looking into this subject, Mary Ann...


Author Rachel Edwards, Equality in the home, Explorer Vanessa O’Brien

Bernadine Evaristo’s bestseller Girl, Woman, Other is on plenty of reading lists after winning the 2019 Booker Prize, but what books are getting her through lockdown? One of them is Darling by Rachel Edwards - who joins Jenni to tell her all about her debut novel. Research shows that in lockdown, in heterosexual couples, women still do the majority of the childcare and chores. However, there has been a modest increase in the time men spend on these tasks overall. So could this be an...


Naomi Campbell, US Elections, Women Farmers and a 1970's recipe book

Naomi Campbell is an actress, an innovator, an icon, an activist, and a philanthropist who’s been at the summit of the fashion industry for over three decades. When Pat McGrath signed her up to be the global face of her makeup brand she said “she’s an inspiration to women, especially women of colour. She demonstrates that anything is possible”. Jenni talks to her about the collaboration, her reaction to the death of George Floyd and how the fashion and beauty industry needs to play its part...


Self employed the mothers missing out.. Science journalist Debora Mackenzie

Self-employed women are receiving less government support during coronavirus if they’ve taken maternity leave between April 2016 and March 2019 – because maternity pay isn’t taken into account when calculating payments under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The group Pregnant Then Screwed is now threatening the chancellor with indirect sex discrimination. It’s estimated between 75,000 and 80,000 women are affected. We speak to founder of Pregnant then Screwed, Joeli Brearley and...


Gender Recognition Act; Susie Dent; Artificial Intelligence for online shopping

Some reports suggest the government won’t now go ahead with the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. If true, this means that people won’t be able to self-declare their gender. What will this mean for the wider debate? Jane speaks to Helen Belcher, co-founder of Trans Media Watch and chair of the national LGBT charity Consortium, and Joan Smith, Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board and author of ‘Home Grown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists’....