That time we phoned Woman's Hour

Today, Woman's Hour had a phone-in on the tricky subject of 'Are our ideas of masculinity changing - and what are the consequences for us all?'

(In case you don't know, Woman's Hour is basically a staple of UK national talk radio - it's live on BBC Radio 4 five mornings a week with a weekend round up AND a more 'frank' Late Night version once a month. It's a magazine-style programme and they cover anything that can be said to have an impact on women's lived experience. That is basically anything, but with a focus on equality and feminism.)

We couldn't let this programme, asking this question pass without comment, so we dropped them a line and they asked if we would be happy to be on air. Obviously we were delighted. It's basically a life goal to be on Woman's Hour, even if it's just as a phone-in contributor.

You can hear the whole programme on the Radio 4 website. You'll find me as the second caller. 

Now. This programme of course gives voice to lots of different people, about this amazingly wide-ranging and complex subject. A friend (and experienced public speaker on difficult subjects) characterised our part in this as 'a rose between some well-meaning thorns'. I disagreed with a good few of the other callers, in their ideas about gender, about stereotypes and about what we can do to change it. Also, note how the presenter, Jane Garvey, gives me an in to mention our magazine's name, and I don't. This is because I was told by the researcher to 'not plug your magazine'. So I didn't. I presume the male caller two after me was told the same thing but ignored it. Did I obey the rules because I'm a woman? Maybe. In any case, let that be a lesson to me in being more 'pushy'. 

Well. Have a listen. I think the programme as a whole all goes to show that we need to do MORE work on exploring what gender equality really looks like. What it is and what it isn't, and how we make these crucial attitude changes. We think these changes have to start now, with children growing up today. Or we'll be unpicking this for our sons and daughters exactly the same way we are now.

BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Masculinity Phone-In