Main content

Irma Kurtz; Anxiety; Flexi-working for men

Irma Kurtz, Cosmo agony aunt on 'My Life in Agony'; young women and anxiety; men and flexible working; bringing up birth and adopted children in the same family; child marriage.

Irma Kurtz, Cosmopolitan's agony aunt for 40 years on her book 'My Life in Agony'.

Anxiety: we hear from 27 year old Claire Eastham who has suffered from anxiety from the age of 15 and from David Clark, Professor of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, the National Clinical Advisor for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies.

Men and flexible working: Sarah Jackson from Working Families explains why those that ask are still twice as likely to be refused the option than women.

Bringing up birth and adopted children in the same family. We speak to Avril Head who's brought up adopted, fostered and biological children together, and Alice Noone from the adoption charity Coram.

Anber Raz from Equality Now tells us about the Global Child Marriage Report.

Presenter: Jane Garvey
Producer: Steven Williams
Output Editor: Jane Thurlow.

Available now

58 minutes


  • Irma Kurtz

    Irma Kurtz discusses 40 years of being an agony aunt

    Duration: 10:23

  • Treating Anxiety

    Claire Eastham and Professor David Clark discuss anxiety problems

    Duration: 11:00

  • Flexible Fathers

    Sarah Jackson OBE discusses prejudice to traditional parenting roles

    Duration: 06:12

  • Global child marriage report

    Anber Raz from Equality Now discusses the latest Global child marriage report

    Duration: 04:56

  • Adoption

    Alice Noone from Coram discusses negotiating an adopted child into an existing family

    Duration: 07:57

Irma Kurtz: My Life in Agony

American born Irma Kurtz has been Cosmopolitan’s agony aunt for the last 40 years. Lending an ear to the nation’s most intimate secrets, Irma has informed the lives of millions of women - and a few men - on everything from mother in-law trouble to the thornier sides of love and sex. Jane talks to Irma about the laughs and the shocks, the evolving content of her postbag, and why often all it takes is a little common sense.

My Life in Agony: Confessions of a Professional Agony Aunt, published by Alma Books, is out 20th Feb 2014.

Treating Anxiety

Earlier this month, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre included in the annual report on the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme showed that the highest numbers of people seeking help for anxiety and depression were women and young people.  Depression is a mental health problem most people are aware of but anxiety is less talked about. And anxiety is an emotion we all experience from time to time. We explore when anxiety becomes a problem and if there enough awareness and understanding of it as a mental health problem. We hear from 27 year old Claire Eastham who has suffered from anxiety since she was 15 and from David Clark who is Professor of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and is the national clinical advisor for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).

Anxiety UK is a charity for those affected by anxiety disorders.

Flexible Working for Fathers

Why does only 1 father in 6 request flexible working hours? And why are fathers still almost twice as likely as mothers to be turned down? Results from a study by charity Working Families yesterday identified fathers between ages 26 and 35 as being most resentful towards their employers about their work/life balance. Sarah Jackson OBE from Working Families speaks to Jane about why cultural prejudices towards traditional parenting roles are so slow to change.

Global Child Marriage Report

The UN estimates that 14 million girls enter into child marriage each year and that this becomes the basis for other forms of abuse including rape, domestic violence and the removal of future opportunities. This week the charity Equality Now which campaigns against sexual violence against women and girls around the world, has published a report on the issue and is calling for 18 to be the new global minimum age for marriage. Anber Raz from Equality Now joins Jane to discuss the report.

Does the tag ‘adopted’ diminish the position of a child with a family with other biological siblings?

Recently we broadcast an archive interview with Bette Davis speaking on Woman’s Hour in 1979. One of the questions asked was about her adopted daughter. Bette Davis replied that a daughter is a daughter, regardless of adoption and we received a number of responses from listeners agreeing with her. So how do parents and children negotiate introducing a new child to the family? What is that experience like for the parent, the birth siblings and the adopted child? Jane is joined by Avril Head who has three birth children, two adopted children, Dominic and Simon, as well as two long-term foster children, and Alice Noone, from the adoption charity Coram which runs classes for parents who adopt.



Role Contributor
Presenter Jane Garvey
Interviewed Guest Irma Kurtz
Interviewed Guest Claire Eastham
Interviewed Guest David Clark
Interviewed Guest Sarah Jackson
Interviewed Guest Avril Head
Interviewed Guest Alice Noone
Interviewed Guest Anber Raz
Producer Steven Williams


  • Tue 28 Jan 2014 10:00

Call 0800 082 82 84 to donate to the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal

Call 0800 082 82 84 to donate to the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal

This link will take you to the Christmas Appeal Charity donation page on St Martin's site

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram

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