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

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

Decisions about embryos, Female wildlife rangers, Amanda Blanc

The physical and emotional challenges of in vitro fertilisation, or IVF, never fade from your memory - whatever the outcome. But what happens when you have been lucky enough to have a child or children and you still have frozen embryos in storage you are sure you will not use. None of the choices you face are easy – to donate to another couple in need, or to science, to let them be discarded or continue to preserve them. We hear from Alison Murdoch, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Newcastle University and two women who have come to different conclusions about what they will do.

Being a ranger in the wild - protecting animals from poachers, leading conservation efforts and sometimes putting yourself in the line of fire - isn't often a job taken on by women. In fact, less than 11% of the global wildlife ranger workforce is female - something many in the sector want to change. Holly Budge is a British adventurer who’s founded World Female Ranger Week following a successful World Female Ranger Day last year. Purnima Devi Barman is a conservationist from the state of Assam in north-eastern India who set up her own 'Stork Army' to save one species of bird. They both join Emma on the programme.

The Treasury's Women in Finance Charter has published its annual review looking at gender diversity within the financial sector in the UK for 2021. Amanda Blanc is CEO of Aviva, the UK’s leading insurer and leads the Women in Finance Charter and speaks to Emma about the review as well as her experiences of sexism as one of a handful of female FTSE 100 bosses.

Kate Bush, Lynn Fitch, Cost of living, Electroconvulsive therapy

In a world exclusive, today Kate Bush gives Emma Barnett her reaction to being discovered by a new generation and making it to number 1 in the UK singles charts 44 years after her first chart-topper Wuthering Heights. Running Up That Hill was first released in 1985 and its use in the Netflix hit series Stranger Things has made Kate Bush a social media and streaming sensation. We also speak to Caitlin Moran about how rare it is to hear from Kate and why she is inspired by her songs.

A report out today has found that the number of abortions has increased over the course of the pandemic. The cost of living has been cited as a key factor for this rise at an uncertain time in the economy and with job insecurity. Mary-Ann Stephenson is co-director of the Women's Budget Group, an independent body which analyses the impact of government policy on women.

A decision is also expected any day from the US Supreme Court on whether to overturn Roe v Wade – the historic 1973 ruling which has guaranteed women access to abortion nationwide. At the centre of this legal challenge, is a woman who is being hailed by some as the lawyer who could end Roe v Wade. She is the Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch…and the BBC’s Holly Honderich joins Emma to explain more.

Twice as many women than men are receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) according to researchers at the University of East London. ECT is used to treat a range of mental health issues including severe depression, long-lasting mania, and catatonia. But an FOI request to twenty NHS Trusts has also revealed that older women are also more likely to be receiving treatment. They are concerned it causes memory loss and that patients are not given sufficient information to make informed decisions before they give consent to treatment. Emma is joined by one of the lead researchers, clinical psychologist Dr Chris Harrop and by Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatry.

Emma speaks to the writer, DJ and broadcaster, Annie Mac on what has been a big week for music. They discuss Beyonce’s new single, Break My Soul, which marks a change of musical genre for her as it’s a House track. They talk about the history of house music and it’s cultural shifts and about Kate Bush and Glastonbury 2022.

Celebrating midwinter in sub-Antarctic. Olivia Harrison on celebrating her husband though poetry.

As we celebrate the summer solstice - the longest day north of the equator – of course this means on the other side of the world it is the shortest or mid-winter. For the first time the British Antarctic Survey have got an all-female team wintering on Bird Island in the sub-Antarctic. Midwinter is a moment of celebration for the teams on the British Antarctic Survey sites where they have a big meal and give each other presents. The Bird Island Research Station Leader, Imogen Lloyd, joins Emma to tell her about her team and the work they are doing.

Olivia Harrison has penned a book of poetry called Came the Lightening to celebrate her husband, George Harrison's life, more than twenty years since he passed away from lung cancer at the age of 58. As lead guitarist of The Beatles, his most famous songs include While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Within You Without You, Here Comes the Sun and Something. So what was it like to be married to a musical icon? She tells Emma what prompted her to share her memories in poetry.

#MeToo in Comedy, Prom Dresses, Crowd Surfing

The comedians Katherine Ryan and Sara Pascoe have been making headlines in recent weeks following comments they made on Katherine’s new TV show. Both revealed instances when they’ve worked with men they believe to be predatory and despite complaining these men have not been reprimanded. Emma is joined by Kathryn Roberts who quit comedy because of her experiences and also by Chloe Petts who will be performing her show Transience at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

School proms return this year, but with more and more families feeling the pinch during the cost-of-living crisis, some students are missing out on this milestone event as they can't afford a dress. Across the UK, pop-up shops for preloved dresses are helping relieve the financial burden for disadvantaged teenagers. We speak to two women involved in such intiatives.

When Amy Maynard offered to take in a Ukrainian lady called Iryna, she didn’t realise the other struggle Iryna had been dealing with – fertility. Her first round of IVF was successful until she had a stillbirth, and she has one embryo left in Kyiv. Amy has now decided to raise money for Iryna and her husband Sergey, so they can have the chance to have a family of their own.

Have you ever tried crowd surfing before? One woman decided she would try her hand at it and won a competition. Amanda Mansell from York has been crowned 'Middle-Aged Crowd Surfing Champion'. She had never done it before but now thinks more women should be doing it.

Presenter: Emma Barnett
Producer: Emma Pearce

Weekend Woman's Hour: The Whyte Review into British Gymnastics, Lea Ypi, Rosie Kinchen on horticultural therapy

Following a two-year investigation into bullying, abuse and discrimination the Whyte Review into British Gymnastics is finally published. We hear from ex-gymnast Claire Heafford, co-founder and campaign director of Gymnasts 4 Change, and Sarah Moore, lawyer and partner at Hausfeld who are acting on behalf of 38 former elite gymnasts against British Gymnastics in relation to allegations of abuse.

In her prize-winning memoir, Free: Coming of Age at the End of History, Lea Ypi describes what it was like to grow up in Albania under a strict communist regime. Lea joins us to talk about her extraordinary coming-of-age story in Europe's last Stalinist outpost.

Rosie Kinchen explains how horticultural therapy helped her overcome depression after having her second child. She discusses finding solace in a community garden.

Her newspaper only launched 14 weeks before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, but the Kyiv Independent now has over two million followers on Twitter, and has been described by Time Magazine as: "The world's primary source for reliable English-language journalism on the war." We speak to the Editor of the newspaper, Olga Rudenko.

A new film, Below the Belt, documents the reality of living with endometriosis. We hear from director Shannon Cone.

Listener Christian Peake inherited a huge stack of canvasses painted by her grandmother, the artist Maeve Gilmore, whose artistic work had been over-shadowed by her more famous husband Mervyn Peake. As time went on though she became increasingly determined to get Maeve’s work the recognition she feels it deserves. Her grandmother's first exhibition is now on at Studio Voltaire in Clapham, London.

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

The Whyte Review into British Gymnastics, Women’s Health Ambassador, the Future of Cars

Following a two year investigation into bullying, abuse and discrimination the Whyte Review into British Gymnastics is finally published. We hear from ex-gymnast Claire Heafford, co-founder and campaign director of Gymnasts 4 Change, and Sarah Moore, lawyer and partner at Hausfeld who are acting on behalf of 38 former elite gymnasts against British Gymnastics in relation to allegations of abuse.

It’s has just been announced that Professor Dame Lesley Regan has been appointed as the first ever Women’s Health Ambassador for England. She’ll support the implementation of the upcoming Government led women’s health strategy, which aims to close the gender health gap and ensure services meet the needs of women throughout their life. We hear from her about what she hopes to achieve in this new role.

This summer marks two years since the start of Covid-19. We hear from psychologist Ciara Dockery at Gurls Talk, the community-led non-profit organisation, about why they are encouraging young women and girls to write a letter to their pre-pandemic selves.

What is the future of cars? Linda Zhang is the Chief Engineer of the Ford F-150 Lightning pick-up truck, the newly-electrified version of the USA’s most popular vehicle. She is in the UK to take part in the BBC World Service’s Future of Cars event staged at the Science Museum on Saturday. She tells us why bringing out an electric version of this truck is so important and why young people and women want to drive it.

Presenter: Anita Rani
Producer: Rabeka Nurmahomed

Women reporting the war in Ukraine, SEND consultation, Red Dress project, former Olympic Athlete, Anyika Onuora

Her newspaper only launched 14 weeks before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, but the Kyiv Independent now has over two million followers on Twitter, and has been described by Time Magazine as: "The world's primary source for reliable English-language journalism on the war." Emma speaks to the Editor of the newspaper, Olga Rudenko about the challenges female journalists are facing in Ukraine. She also discusses how her and her team, which are mostly women, launched their newspaper just weeks after being fired from their previous newspaper that was owned by an oligarch.

In a Woman's hour exclusive, two women whose disabled sons died after failing to get their Special Educational Needs supported in the right schools, have written an open Letter to two Secretaries of State warning that the system must change. Ministers are consulting until July 22 on how to make the SEND system better. Our reporter Carolyn Atkinson tells us more, and Emma speaks with Amanda Batten, chair of the Disabled Children’s Partnership and Susie who spent £10,000 battling the system to get her disabled child into an appropriate school.

Since 2009, the artist Kirstie Macleod has been working on The Red Dress project. This involves pieces of this red silk dress travelling around the world to be embroidered by mostly female artisans, many of whom have been marginalised and live in poverty. After 13 years, 46 countries and 343 embroiderers, the dress is finally finished.

And, former Olympic Athlete Aniyka Onuora may have stepped away from the track, but in her new memoir: "My hidden race" she details her personal experience with professional sports, racism and sexism, mental health, and growing up in a Nigerian household in 1990’s Liverpool. She joins Emma in the studio.

How does the housing crisis affect women? Rising Covid rates

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his 'benefits to bricks' plan to tackle the UK housing crisis - the chronic shortage of homes to rent and buy and climbing property prices. According to the charity Shelter at present across the UK there are 17.5 million adults without safe, secure or stable homes. If you include children in this number it is one in three. A new book Tenants is about people on the frontline of Britain's housing emergency – and describes particularly how a shortage of homes is affecting women. The author is journalist Vicky Spratt, housing correspondent for the I newspaper, and she joins Emma in the studio.

Covid rates appear to be rising again and some experts are predicting a new wave of the virus over the summer. In the week to 2 June, one in 65 people in the UK were testing positive, up from one in 70 the previous week. But do we actually need to worry about it – and if so, what should we be should we be doing to protect ourselves? Emma will be getting the thoughts of Professor Devi Sridhar, who is chair of global public health at Edinburgh University, and sits on the Scottish Government Covid-19 Advisory Group.

Menopause in Parliament, Women and Gaming, Sibling Sexual Abuse, Growing up in Albania.

The House of Commons is going to become a 'menopause-friendly' employer. Speaker of the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle said after he signed a Menopause Workplace Pledge yesterday, that he hopes to "break the taboo" around the menopause. Practical adjustments could be included in Westminster, such as well-ventilated rooms and fans, flexible working and breathable uniforms. But will a pledge in Parliament have any impact of the lives of women across the UK? Journalist and author of Cracking The Menopause, Mariella Frostrup and academic and author Dr Lara Owen join Emma to talk about changing the culture around menopause.

Lea Ypi, professor of Political Theory at the London School of Economics, has written a prize-winning memoir, Free: Coming of Age at the End of History. Lea grew up in Albania and for the first eleven years of her life, it was one of the most isolated countries in the world, Europe’s last Stalinist outpost. Then, in December 1990, the regime collapsed. Lea joins Emma to talk about her extraordinary coming-of-age story.

A new report funded by the Home Office suggests that sexual abuse of a child by their brother or sister – sibling sexual abuse – may be the most common form of sexual abuse within the family. Many experts say it is not given enough attention and resources need to be set aside to support families dealing with this. Emma speaks to reporter Livvy Haydock and Stephen Barry, who is the Lead Clinician at 'Be Safe' Bristol, part of the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health partnership NHS Trust.

Fancy taking your rage at the patriarchy out on a computer game? Well a developer in Plymouth has come up with The Glass Ceiling Games, where you fire slingshots back against catcalls, slice machetes at unsolicited nude photos, and point a ray-gun against mansplaining. So does it make a difference when women write computer games? Emma is joined by Hannah Wood creative director of The Glass Ceiling Games, and Karla Reyes, a game designer and Head of Business Development at Code Coven - an award-winning game development accelerator for underrepresented talent.

Below the belt, a film about endometriosis, Rosie Kinchen on her memoir The Ballast Seed, Grenfell Tower anniversary

A new film, Below the Belt, directed by Shannon Cohn features four women with endometriosis. Shannon who previously directed Endo What joins Emma.

New research from the Young Women’s Trust paints a bleak picture for many young women as they come out of the pandemic and into the cost of living crisis, with young mums experiencing particular disadvantages. We hear from young mums Charlotte and Jyndi, and speak to Claire Reindorp CEO of the Young Woman’s Trust.

Rosie Kinchen found herself in despair after the birth of her second child. She was deeply depressed and the baby failed to thrive. After rescuing an ailing houseplant and experiencing an unexpected joy at the wilting aloe's recovery she started dragging herself out of the house to look at plants in supermarkets and garden centres. With the redoubtable botanical artist Marianne North as a guide Rosie comes to see her life, her work and her city through new eyes. The Ballast Seed is her memoir.

One of the UK's worst modern disasters, it will soon be the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. Seventy-two people died. The artist Tuesday Greenidge is sewing a quilt the size of Grenfell Tower to "symbolise justice" for survivors and the people affected. The singer Sophie DeMasi was involved in a song called West Side Story which came out this year in honour of the anniversary. They join Emma to discuss how art can help in the aftermath of such tragedy.

Dame Emma Thompson, Binner or Flusher, Spare Rib & Virago at 50, Surgeon Ian Paterson, Dolly Alderton

Oscar-winner Dame Emma Thompson on women's pleasure and full frontal nudity in her latest acting role in Good Luck To You, Leo Grande.

Are you a 'flusher' or a ‘binner’? New research says 2.4 million tampons are flushed down UK toilets every day leading to sewer blockages and pollution. We talk to Martha Silcott who's developed a simple product to encourage you to bin and Daisy Buchanan who says more needs to be done to make a product which flushes without causing environmental harm.

In 2017 surgeon Ian Paterson was jailed for 20 years after being found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent. Mr Paterson was diagnosing cancer when there wasn’t any and cutting his patients open for no reason, performing unnecessary and damaging surgery. He also carried out unregulated "cleavage-sparing" mastectomies, in which breast tissue was left behind, meaning cancer returned in many of his patients. Ahead of a new ITV documentary Emma speaks to the whistleblower who raised concerns about Ian Paterson – Mr Hemant Ingle, and one of Paterson’s victims Debbie Douglas, who is still campaigning for a change in the law to prevent anything like this from happening again.

50 years ago this month the first edition of the iconic feminist magazine Spare Rib was published. Also in that year - 1972 – and inspired by its founders, Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe, Carmen Callil founded the book publisher Virago which still gives a voice and platform to female writers today. Emma hears from the three trailblazing women.

Can platonic love survive romantic love as we grow up? The writer Dolly Alderton on her new BBC TV series, an adaptation of her 2018 memoir ‘Everything I Know About Love’.

Presenter: Anita Rani
Producer: Dianne McGregor

28 episodes

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