In Review

Four of the best podcasts about women and society

Featuring Visible Women, Clipped Wings, Ki & Di: The Podcast and 28ish Days Later

In Caroline Criado Perez’s bestselling book Invisible Women, she looked at all the ways in which the modern world has been designed by and for men – and why that’s dangerous for women, said Miranda Sawyer in The Observer.

A classic example was her discovery that women are twice as likely to become trapped in cars during an accident, because crash test dummies are modelled on men’s bodies.

Her new podcast, Visible Women, digs deeper into the phenomenon. In one episode, for instance, she finds that personal protective equipment – the goggles, gloves, masks etc worn by medical staff – is supposed to be unisex, but it’s not. It’s designed to fit men, although three-quarters of the people working in medicine are now women. The subject matter is sometimes disturbing, but the podcast’s overall feel is “positive” and solutions-focused.

Another brilliant piece of audio about women and society was Clipped Wings, on Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, said Patricia Nicol in The Sunday Times. In it, the naturalist Lucy Hodson (also known as Lucy Lapwing) explores to what extent women feel able to “roam freely” in the countryside, and how their experience of nature can be affected by unwanted attention and harassment from men.

The spur for Hodson’s programme was a distressing incident last year, when she was out birdwatching – with her sights on an egret – only for a man on the opposite riverbank to expose himself, and then film her reaction. Hodson talks to a female biker, backpacker, birder and trail-runner, in an effort to find out “how the meditative joy they take in exploring outdoors” has been similarly compromised.

If all this sounds a bit “moany”, don’t be put off. The podcast is “powerfully insightful and moving”, and has a transporting sound design by Joel Cox that takes you out “among the trees and to the open road”.

Here are two outstanding podcasts aimed at women that are both in our top ten of the year so far, said The Guardian. In Ki & Di: The Podcast, two young singer-songwriters, Chiara Hunter and Diana Vickers, chat to guests such as Drag Race’s Cheryl Hole and pop star Ella Eyre. It’s a “hoot”.

The podcast contains some “extremely funny songs about the lives of single millennial women”, and ditties written specially for each guest that are “painfully relatable” and “laugh-out-loud funny”.

Second, the brilliant 28ish Days Later, by the journalist and audio producer India Rakusen, is a 28-part series about all aspects of menstruation. Bite-size episodes cover “everything from heavy bleeding to hormones, period-tracking apps to perimenopause” – and feature a diverse range of experts and guests.

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