Woman's Hour: Daily Podcasts

BBC  |  Podcast , ±57 min episodes every day  | 
Woman's Hour brings you the big celebrity names and leading women in the news, with subjects ranging widely from politics to health, law, education, arts, parenting, relationships, work, fiction, food and fashion. Presented by Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey. Find out more at www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour

Subscribe to this channel

You can subscribe to new audio episodes published on this channel. You can follow updates using the channel's RSS feed, or via other audio platforms you may already be using.

RSS Feed

You can use any RSS feed reader to follow updates, even your browser. We recommend using an application dedicated to listening podcasts for the best experience. iOS users can look at Overcast or Castro. Pocket Casts is also very popular and has both iOS and Android versions. Add the above link to the application to follow this podcast channel.

Signup to iono.fm

Sign up for a free iono.fm user account to start building your playlist of podcast channels. You'll be able to build a personalised RSS feed you can follow or listen with our web player.

Holocaust Survivors, Mary Nighy, Dementia and Menopause

During World War Two, a house in Tynemouth was used as a sanctuary for more than 20 Jewish girls fleeing Nazi persecution. They had come to the UK on the Kindertransport. After a BBC investigation, a blue plaque will be unveiled there today, Holocaust Memorial Day, celebrating the house's forgotten past and those that found sanctuary there. Two of the Girls who lived in the house were Ruth David and Elfi Jonas. Anita speaks to their daughters - Margaret Finch and Helen Strange about their mothers and their visit to the house.

Mary Nighy began her acting career at the age of 17, starring in films such as Marie Antoinette and Tormented. The daughter of actors Bill Nighy and Diana Quick, she has since turned director, of TV shows like Industry and Traces but she has just released her directorial debut Alice Darling. The film, starring Anna Kendrick, explores what it might feel like to be trapped inside a coercive, controlling and psychologically abusive relationship. Mary joins Anita Rani to talk about the themes of the film, female friendship and working behind the camera.

Big employers including Tesco, Asda, Natwest and the country's most senior family judge are supporting a scheme that gives time off to parents who are splitting up. A survey of 200 workers by the Positive Parenting Alliance showed that 90 per cent of respondents said that their work was adversely affected. Anita speaks to XY and Sara Davison a divorce coach and author.

How do you differentiate between symptoms of menopause and dementia and when should you be worried? A new brain check-up tool kit from Alzheimer’s Research UK is encouraging people to do more to look after their brains to try to reduce their dementia risk. Research shows that women are generally at a greater risk of dementia - outnumbering the number of men who get the disease by 2:1 worldwide. But as women get older and experience the menopause, they may notice a decline in their memory, feel confused and get brain fog. We also hear about an early study which suggests that HRT may reduce the risk of some women developing Alzheimer's disease.

Launch of the Woman's Hour Power List 2023, Triathlete and screenwriter Lesley Paterson; Chores post Covid

The Woman's Hour Power List for 2023 is here! Last year was a game-changer for the visibility and perception of women in sport in this country and we want to showcase inspirational women – both on and off the field – who are spearheading and building on this momentum to elevate women’s sport. We need your suggestions! The chair of judges Jessica Creighton joins Anita Rani to launch the Power List and explains how you can make your suggestion.

Lesley Paterson is a five times world champion triathlete. She’s also a successful screenwriter, who has just been nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film All Quiet on the Western Front. It’s taken her sixteen years to get the film made. A woman no stranger to endurance, she explains how she used her prize money from her sporting career to help fund the film. It’s now one of this year’s biggest contenders at the Oscars and BAFTAs.

A transgender woman in Scotland has been convicted of raping two women in attacks carried out before changing gender. Isla Bryson is now in custody and facing a lengthy jail term - but where that sentence should be served is the subject of heated debate. It has led to concerns about the safety of any women held alongside Bryson in a female prison. The Scottish Prison Service says the decision on where transgender prisoners are housed is taken on a case-by-case basis after appropriate risk assessments. Catriona Renton has been following the case for BBC Scotland News and joins Anita.

Claudia Jones, the woman described as the 'founding spirit' of Notting Hill Carnival, is to be commemorated with a blue plaque this year. The feminist, journalist and political activist is one of five women whose achievements and legacy will be marked by English Heritage. Currently, about 14 per cent of the nearly 1,000 blue plaques honour women. Anita finds out more from the freelance journalist and Editor of Soho House, Sagal Mohammed.

WFH, or the hybrid working week, has become the new norm for many of us in the paid workforce since Covid. But how does this affect the amount of unpaid domestic labour and the sharing of daily chores in UK households? Who does the most in your home – men or women? How happy are you with the division of work? What has changed since the lockdowns? ...

Bridget Phillipson MP, Catherine Newman, Chanel Contos, Rachel Thompson, Karen Krizanovich

The conservatives and Labour party appear to be agreed on one issue on the political agenda – that is childcare. Both parties realise it will be a key battleground in the general election with polling suggesting it is of particular concern in some of the red wall seat which the conservatives need to hold onto if they are to stay in government. The UK’s childcare system is one of the most expensive in the world and ranked one of the least effective according to a recent report by UNICEF. Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson joins Nuala McGovern in the studio to discuss her party’s plans for reform which she says will compare with Aneurin Bevan’s creation of the National Health Service.

What is the role of a best friend at a deathbed? ‘We All Want Impossible Things’ a new novel by Catherine Newman is funny and rude as well as very sad and it’s a celebration of all sorts of love. Ash's best friend is dying and her heart is breaking but life does go on, until it stops. Catherine Newman joins Nuala to explain what inspired the book

When she was 19, Chanel Contos was playing a drinking game with friends. Someone asked ‘what’s the kinkiest thing you like to do during sex? Her 17-year-old friend replied, ‘It’s not really that kinky, but I guess choking.’ Now 24, and listed as one of the BBC’s 100 Women, Chanel wants to challenge the normalisation of sexual choking (and other acts such as spitting or slapping). She’s joined on the programme by writer Rachel Thompson, author of Rough: How Violence Has Found Its Way Into the Bedroom and what We Can Do about it. They discuss why these acts are so prevalent, and whether women and girls are feeling pressured into them.

And we’ll hear the latest about female nominations at the Oscars with film critic Karen Krizanovich.

Presenter: Nuala McGovern
Producer: Lisa Jenkinson
Studio Manager: Donald McDonald

Probation service, women and mesothelioma, menopause and the workplace

A new study will examine the disproportionate number of female teachers developing asbestos related diseases. Backed by teaching unions, it’s hoped the findings will put more pressure on the government to take action on asbestos in school buildings. Nuala will be talking to Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, Dr Mary Bousted, and one woman who lost her mother – a teacher for many years - to asbestos related lung cancer, mesothelioma.
There's been a long running campaign for working women going through the menopause to get better protection. This morning the government has announced it won't make the menopause a protected characteristic, in the same way things like age and sex are - despite a recommendation from MPs that it should be. The government is commissioning more research into the subject, and cheaper and better access to HRT. But is this enough? Reporter Melanie Abbott gives us the full details of the government's response to calls for more protection. And campaigner Helen Garlick from Henpicked tells us she is calling for more action.

Presenter: Nuala McGovern
Producer: Lucinda Montefiore

The Brit Awards. Targeted adverts online. The ages of motherhood. Welsh Rugby.

The Brits scrapped their best male and best female awards last year in favour of gender-neutral prizes. This year no women are on the shortlist for best artist - won by Adele last year - though are nominated in other categories. Social media has been awash with fans of musicians like Charlie XCX, Florence Welch, Mabel and Ella Henderson asking why they'd been overlooked. We hear from journalist Laura Snapes the Guardian's music editor and Vick Bain who's worked in the music industry for 25 years, was the CEO of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors and founder of The F-List directory of UK female musicians.

Several former employees at the Welsh Rugby Union have told the BBC about a ‘toxic’ culture of sexism at the organisation. Nuala McGovern is joined by former Wales rugby international and Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi.

Do you ever wonder why you’re being shown particular adverts online? Nuala speaks to one woman, Hannah Tomes, who is being advertised egg donation banks despite having no interest in this – she wonders if she’s being advertised to because of her gender – we will seek to find out if she’s right and speak to the BBC’s Technology Editor Zoe Kleinman.

Figures from the ONS show that there are now twice as many women giving birth over the age of 40 as there are having children under the age of 20. But does the age you become a mother change the way you experience parenting? We hear from two women who had children at very different points in their lives…Lucy Baker the founder of the blog Geriatric Mum and Lauren Crosby Medlicott a freelance journalist who has written about her experience as a young mum.

Presenter Nuala McGovern
Producer Beverley Purcell

Weekend Woman's Hour: Michelle Williams, Elizabeth McGovern, former New Zealand PM Helen Clark on Jacinda Ardern

The award-winning actor Michelle Williams discusses her new role in Steven Spielberg's semi-autobiographical film, The Fabelmans. She plays Mitzi, a concert pianist who’s put her artistic ambition aside to raise a family, and is struggling to play a supporting role to her computer genius husband. Michelle explains why she was attracted to the role, and how her work in Dawson's Creek as a teenager set her up for Hollywood success.

On Thursday, the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her shock resignation. We discuss with BBC Diplomatic Correspondent James Lansdale, former Prime Minister Helen Clark and the political scientist Lara Greaves from Auckland University.

Wendy Warrington is an NHS nurse and midwife who has been giving medical help and support to women and children in Ukraine since March last year. She tells us about the impact of the war on maternity services in the country.

Afghan police have confirmed that a former Afghan MP and her bodyguard have been shot dead at her home in the capital Kabul. Mursal Nabizada was one of nine out of 69 female MPs who chose to stay in the country after the Taliban returned to power. We speak to Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan's First Woman Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

The Oscar-nominated actor and Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern shares her experience of playing Martha in a new production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

‘Lucky girl syndrome’ is a new trend taking over TikTok with over 80 million views of the hashtag. The journalist Róisín Lanigan from i-D magazine and psychologist Catherine Hallissey discuss whether it’s just a new take on positive thinking, and whether there is any psychological basis for it.

Presenter: Anita Rani
Producer: Lucy Wai
Editor: Lucinda Montefiore

Michelle Williams, Long Covid and 25 years of Goodness Gracious Me

The Hollywood actor Michelle Williams began her career aged 16 on the TV drama Dawson’s Creek. Now, at 42, she’s starring in Steven Spielberg’s new film The Fabelmans, based on his own family. She plays Mitzi, a concert pianist who’s put her artistic ambition aside to raise a family, and is struggling to play a supporting role to her computer genius husband. But the crucial relationship portrayed in the movie is the one between Mitzi and her son, Sammy. Michelle joins Anita to explain why she was attracted to the role.

There are an estimated 2.1 million people in the UK experiencing self-reported long covid, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. A recent study involving almost 300,000 people found that most long covid symptoms disappear within a year following mild infection. But for some people this is still not the case. Dr Binita Kane is the lead for integrated respiratory care at MFT, the Greater Manchester Respiratory Health Innovation programme and the North West Severe Asthma Network. She also has a daughter with long covid and knows the challenges that causes. She joins us today to discuss her experiences.

It’s been 25 years since Goodness Gracious Me graced our television screens on BBC 2. It was the first comedy sketch show conceived, written and performed by British Asians. Anita Rani chats with the multi-hyphenate artists, Meera Syal and Nina Wadia from the original ensemble cast. They discuss how they birthed a new “Asian Comedy” genre and its role today, getting spotted in a restaurant by George Michael, and some of their infamous sketches that added a new lens to British women.

Joanna Wolfarth, Jacqui Oatley, Shaista Aziz, Dr Stacey Pope, Róisín Lanigan, Catherine Hallissey

When art historian Joanna Wolfarth was pregnant with her first child, she assumed she would breastfeed, as her mother had fed her. This didn’t go according to plan. In a bid to understand her own feelings and attitudes about feeding her baby, she has just published a new book called Milk: An Intimate History of Breastfeeding .

The premier league and the football association has been spelling out what they'll do to attract more women both as players and fans. But critics say women players are still too often thought of as an afterthought when it comes to both resources and facilities. And that fans are put off because they are badly catered for and misogyny can be rife in football stadia. We hear from football corrrespondent Jacqui Oatley and Shaista Aziz from the campaign group The Three Hijabis and the Academic Dr Stacey Pope from Durham University.

Do you consider yourself to be a lucky person? ‘Lucky girl syndrome’ is a new trend taking over TikTok with over 80 million views of the hashtag. The concept involves telling yourself that you are the luckiest person in the world, that everything always works out for you - and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The journalist Róisín Lanigan from i-D magazine and psychologist Catherine Hallissey join Anita to discuss whether it’s just a new take on positive thinking, and whether there is any psychological basis for it.

Presenter: Anita Rani
Producer: Lisa Jenkinson
Studio Manager: Bob Nettles

Searching for Rosemary Kennedy, 40 years of Madonna, Wendy Warrington, nurse & midwife, Nicola Brookes, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

(Photo Amy Ní Fhearraigh by Kip Carroll)

Rosemary Kennedy has often been referred to as the "missing Kennedy". She was the sister of former US President John F. Kennedy and despite been part of one of the most famous families in American politics, very little was known about Rosemary. Until recently. Her story has been brought to life by the Irish National Opera in Least Like the Other – Searching for Rosemary Kennedy at the Royal Opera House. Director Netia Jones and soprano Amy Ní Fhearraigh join Jessica Creighton to discuss the production and its themes.

The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, told CNN news that it is the women in Ukraine who are bearing the brunt of the war, caring for their children and older relatives, and keeping things going. Someone who knows this only too well is Wendy Warrington, an NHS nurse and midwife who has been going out to give medical help and support to women and children in Ukraine since March last year. She joins Jessica to talk about the situations that she sees every day, and how women really are at the heart of it all.

The Queen of Reinvention, Madonna, has announced her first ever greatest hits tour to mark 40 years since her breakout single, Holiday. She'll be playing 35 dates around the world. Performing hits from her 1983 self-titled debut album to 2019's Madame X. Jess dicusses her influence with Fiona Sturges, Arts writer for The Guardian and the Financial Times.

Yesterday serial rapist David Carrick was formally dismissed by the Metropolitan Police. He pleaded guilty to 24 rapes and multiple sexual offences. Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, has apologised to his victims for the force’s failings. The force is currently investigating 1,000 sexual and domestic abuse claims involving about 800 of its officers. For survivors hearing about these cases in the news can be very difficult. Jess speaks to Nicola Brookes who was groomed by a police officer. The independent office of Police conduct said he “knowingly targeted and exploited” her.

During the Covid 19 lockdown, the writer Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett decided - like many of us - to get a pet. She acquired Mackerel, a kitten, whose antics over one year helped her examine her desire and fears about becoming a mother and inspired her to write her latest book ‘The Year of the Cat’. Jessica Creighton asks Rhiannon about cat ladies and the ...

Elizabeth McGovern

Elizabeth McGovern was Oscar nominated for her portrayal of Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime and, by the age of 21, had played leading roles in Once Upon A Time In America followed by The Handmaid’s Tale and The Wings of the Dove. She is probably best known though for playing Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey. She is now on stage starring in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The actress and musician joins Jessica to discuss her varied career so far and what drew her to the role of Martha.


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

Weekend Woman's Hour: saris, speaking to kids on Andrew Tate, breast cancer history, donor conceived children, Eleanor Williams

We speak to listeners on how best to talk about Andrew Tate and other social media influencers who are spreading misogynistic messages online. We talk to Dr Emily Setty, Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey who does research in schools with young people about sex and relationships & Michael Conroy, founder of Men at Work, an organisation that trains professionals how to have constructive dialogue with boys.

Listener Hayley got in touch to share her own story, not only of being a donor conceived person herself, but of using a donor to conceive her own children too. She explains why she thinks it’s so important to be open and honest about your child’s conception.

22-year-old Eleanor Williams who claimed she had been trafficked and raped by an Asian grooming gang was convicted of perverting the course of justice. She will be sentenced in March but we consider the possible impact her conviction could have on how rape is reported, how it’s handled by the police and whether women are believed. We hear from the former chief prosecutor for the north west Nazir Ali and Maggie Oliver, the former senior police officer who became a whistle-blower for exposing the poor handling of the Rochdale child sex abuse ring case by her own force.

We hear from Joanna Bourke who is the Gresham Professor of Rhetoric on the history of breast cancer.

The Offbeat Sari exhibition will include 90 examples of innovative saris – including the first ever sari worn at the Met Gala and a foil jersey sari worn by Lady Gaga. We talk to the exhibition's curator Priya Khanchandani.

Presenter: Anita Rani
Producer: Surya Elango
Editor: Louise Corley

27 episodes

« Back 1—12 More »