Neuroscience and gender; Women and 'soft power'; The most expensive wedding in history

Neuroscience and gender; Women and 'soft power' - who changes what we wear and what we buy? Changing rules for childminders; The most expensive wedding in history. Presented by Jenni Murray.

Release date:

Available now

58 minutes

Last on

Thu 1 Nov 2012 10:00

Gender Differences: Nature vs Nurture

In the run up to Christmas we’ll be bombarded with ads for must-have Christmas toys, aimed at either boys or girls, and a sea of pink just for little girls. But just how justified is this kind of gender stereotyping? Is it down to nature, or are they nurtured by social influences? Are feminist writers like Natasha Walters right to criticise neuroscientists for backing what are really social constructs? Last Christmas neuroscientist Laura Nelson successfully campaigned to remove boy and girl labelling in London toy shop Hamleys, and now works to end the gender stereotyping of children. She joins Jenni along with leading neuroscientist Professor Simon Baron Cohen to discuss the influence of nature and nurture how much neuroscience and social science can tell us, and how best to approach gender differences when dealing with our children.

Soft power – has new technology changed the way we live our lives and the products we buy?

Who influences the everyday decisions on what we buy in the shops and the clothes we wear? In the past fashion designers set the agenda as their catwalk collections defined the trends which trickled down to the high street and multi-national companies used big advertising budgets to persuade us to buy certain products. But has new technology and social media changed this? Now fashion bloggers are just as likely to be invited to fashion shows as journalists from glossy fashion magazines. As part of the Woman’s Hour Power List we ask who are the women who influence how we spend the money in our pockets?  Aleks Krotoski, Technology Journalist Guardian and presenter for BBC Radio 4’s Digital Human and Heather Ross, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Business, Manchester Metropolitan University discuss.

The 1589 Florentine Intermedi – music and spectacle for a Medici wedding

The Florentine Intermedi of 1589 was written for the dynastic Medici wedding.  Forget royalty or the Beckhams, these wedding festivities were one of the most extravagant of all time, costing multi millions in today’s money. They lasted four weeks during which the celebrities of the day attended a special performance in the glorious setting of the Uffizi Palace in Florence. The performance was a visual and aural spectacular.  A rare performance of the music, coupled with aerial dance, will be the centrepiece of this year’s Brighton Early Music Festival.  The music director, Deborah Roberts, joins Jenni to explain how she’s recreating the exciting and experimental world of the late 16th century using 21st century performance arts and technology – with more than a whiff of the circus!

Childcare deregulation

A recent Institute for Public Policy Research report says the absence of affordable childcare is one of the main factors preventing well over a million women from taking up paid work. They say the cost of a place at a nursery for a young child has increased by nearly six per cent in the past year, while a dual earner couple on the average wage with two young children spends over a quarter of their net family income on childcare. Woman’s Hour hears from Karen Steer, a child-minder based in Kent and looks at the debate now in full flow on the way forward for good and affordable childcare with Graham Cooke, Research Director for the IPPR.



The Power List - Listener nominations

A few of your nominations to our Power List so far.

TakeBackConTROLL: Jackie

TakeBackConTROLL: Jackie

Jackie on how she coped with going viral after a twitterstorm that ended in legal action.

Late Night Lauren Laverne

Late Night Woman’s Hour

Lauren Laverne and guests in intimate, frank and funny Late Night Woman's Hour.

The Menopause

The Menopause

A series exploring its impact on women’s work and relationships, and potential treatments

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize 2017

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize 2017

Interviews and features to celebrate the craft of listeners and craft practitioners.

Woman's Hour video


Visual delights from Woman's Hour.

The best place to be a woman in Britain

The best place to be a woman in Britain

Interviews and features from our series.

Woman’s Lab tackles body image

Woman's Lab

The Woman’s Lab team head to Margate on a mission to change how we feel about our bodies.

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram

Get all the pictures, videos, behind the scenes and more from Woman’s Hour