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Wedding Dresses; Meaningful Conversations; Sex Offences

58 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 19 May 2014

With the wedding season underway, we eavesdrop on two brides-to-be searching for the right dress as they go shopping with their mums. Why are we making small talk when we could be having more meaningful conversations? Author Olivia Fane on the starting points for 66 things we should be discussing.

Six months ago, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders told Woman's Hour about measures she was putting in place to support women who report rape or sexual assault. Last week saw a drop in the conviction rates for sex offences across England and Wales. How might that figure be reversed and do police targets set for solving crime have an impact? Criminologist Dr Marian Fitzgerald joins Jane Garvey to discuss.

The women who risk their health and lives cooking with wood or charcoal stoves, and the solutions offered by sustainable energy. Stephen Sutton raised millions before his death from cancer at 19 and was an inspiration to many. But how do families cope when a child faces a diagnosis of cancer?


5 items
  • Falling Sexual Assault Conviction Rates

    Last week it was announced that the conviction rate for sexual offences in England and Wales have dropped sharply.  In 2013, 55% percent of people prosecuted for this type of offence pleaded guilty or were found guilty – down from 61% of those prosecuted in 2012. A joint police and Crown Prosecution action plan is to be published shortly to improve the way sexual offence cases are handled.  But why do we still have one of the very lowest conviction rates of sexual assault in Europe?  And how will the review change that?  Jane speaks to criminologist Dr Marian Fitzgerald.

  • Clean Fuel for Women in the Developing World

    In the developing world, 3 billion people cook on wood or charcoal stoves and outdoor fires resulting in the premature death of 4 million people every year from inhaling smoke. That’s double the amount of people who die from malaria every year. Women and children are worst affected. An International Conference in London on Tuesday is bringing together women energy leaders from Southeast Asia, Africa and India who are leading the way in designing clean energy products. Jane is joined by Neha Juneja CEO of an Indian company Greenway Grameen which manufactures clean cook stoves and by Dr Anne Wheldon, Research Adviser to the charity Ashden who champion sustainable energy solutions. 

  • Wedding Dress Shopping with Mum

    As wedding season kicks off, we visit a bridal shop in Liverpool and meet two mum and daughter couples shopping for the big day. Reporter Kim Normanton talks to the brides to be about why shopping with mum is crucial to finding the right dress. We also hear from Maria Johnson Sach on what it’s like to run a wedding shop and the joys and pressures of the job. 

  • The Art of Conversation

    What happens when you run out of things to say to your long term partner? Olivia Fane fell in love with and married the wittiest and cleverest man she had ever met. But a few years into their marriage, she noticed they were no longer having the great conversations they had when they first met. When she married a second time and she noticed the same thing happening again, she decided to do something about it. She joins Jane to talk about how reviving the art of conversation can help bring about more intimacy and help us get to know the people we share our lives with. In her book ‘The Conversations’ she offers the starting points for 66 thought provoking conversations to be had with a partner, friend, or stranger on subjects such as happiness, infidelity, jealousy, education, free will, human rights, trust or death.

    ‘The Conversations, 66 Reasons to Start Talking’ – by Olivia Fane  is published by Vintage. 

  • Parenting a Young Person with Cancer

    19 year old Stephen Sutton – who died of bowel cancer on Wednesday – showed incredible positivity as he dealt with his illness, drawing up a "bucket list" of things he wanted to achieve before he died, and in doing so raising millions for charity. But of course the experience of cancer for a young person will differ for everyone and on every day with good days as well as bad. So how important – and realistic - is it to remain positive? How do you help your child cope with cancer, whilst you as a parent may also be struggling? Jane is joined by Lucy and Eddie Northrop, and CLIC Sargent social worker Josie Lennox

    Teenage Cancer Trust

    CLIC Sargent

    Macmillan Cancer Care


Jane Garvey
Interviewed Guest
Olivia Fane
Interviewed Guest
Marian Fitzgerald
Anne Peacock


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