Lesbian wives; Deborah Ellis; Female characters in drama; Helen Fielding

On Saturday 29th March the first same sex marriage ceremonies will take place in England & Wales. Couples will have the right to legally refer to their spouse as "husband" or "wife". How comfortable will lesbians be with calling their spouse wife? The Canadian author & peace activist, Deborah Ellis, visited refugee camps in Pakistan to talk to women and children who had fled the Taliban, and turned those experiences into novels for children. Her latest book, My Name is Parvana, tells the story of a young girl in post-Taliban Afghanistan. BBC Writers Room script reader and theatre critic Sally Stott has read thousands of scripts in a search for new talent. In many of the stories, she says, the female characters are badly described & characterised and focus heavily on physical appearance. Why does it seems so hard to write a decent female character? And as part of Radio 4's Character Invasion writers have been talking about which of their own creations is their favourite - Helen Fielding talks about Bridget Jones.

Release date:

Available now

58 minutes

Last on

Fri 28 Mar 2014 10:00

Is there a correct name for a lesbian spouse?

On Saturday 29th March the first same sex marriage ceremonies will take place in England & Wales. For the first time, gay and lesbian people who choose to get married will have the same rights as heterosexual married couples, including the right to legally refer to their spouse as “husband” or “wife”. But, given the history of patriarchy connected with marriage, when in the past many wives were in fact seen as the property of their husbands, how comfortable will lesbians feel using the term “wife” to refer both to their partner and to themselves? Many heterosexual married couples prefer alternative terms like “other half” or “significant other” – but are these terms appropriate for lesbians, or should they insist on using “wife” in order to mark the social milestone that is their marriage? Jenni speaks to former BBC Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold, who is currently in a civil partnership with the broadcaster Clare Balding and plans to marry in the future, and Sue Wilkinson, who married her partner Celia Kitzinger in Canada in 2003 and subsequently fought to have their marriage legally recognised in the UK.

Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis is a Canadian author who, as a peace activist, has spent time in refugee camps in Pakistan talking to women and children who have fled the Taliban and she has turned those experiences into novels for children.  Her latest book, My Name is Parvana, tells the story of a young girl in post-Taliban Afghanistan and her struggles to survive and get an education. 

Writing female characters

BBC Writers Room script reader and theatre critic Sally Stott has read thousands of scripts in a search for new talent.  In many of the scripts, she says, the female characters are badly described & characterised, frequently derogatory or incongruous and focus heavily on physical appearance. To discuss why it seems so hard to write a decent female character Sally Stott joins Jenni in the studio along with Farah Abushwesha, writer & film producer, founder of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum.

Character invasion - Helen Fielding on Bridget Jones

As part of Radio 4’s Character Invasion which takes place this Saturday 29th March, five writers talk about which of their own creations is their favourite. Helen Fielding talks about Bridget Jones, the lead character in her bestselling novels. She explains how she wrote the character and why she (and so many readers) have such great affection for Bridget.

Lumberjills

Lumberjills

In 1942, the Government formed the Women’s Timber Corps. And during the war some 9,000 British women were recruited to work in forestry. They were known, unsurprisingly, as ‘Lumberjills’, and they replaced the men who’d gone to the front. Their job was to fell trees, load lorries and mill timber all over England and Scotland. Caz Graham met a former Lumberjill, Edna Holland, and Sarah Bell who now works as a forester.

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterJenni Murray
Interviewed GuestSally Stott
Interviewed GuestHelen Fielding
ProducerJane Worsley

Late Night Lauren Laverne

Late Night Woman’s Hour

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

TakeBackConTROLL

Take Back ConTROLL

Four women struggle to reclaim their identity after being abused online.

The Menopause

The Menopause

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

Woman's Hour video

Woman's-Hour-Video1920x1080.jpg

Visual delights from Woman's Hour.

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram

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