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Beth Ditto, Syrian hospital bombings, Fetishising motherhood, Sharon D Clarke, The Button Box

Beth Ditto, Syrian hospital bombings, Sharon D Clarke on playing Ma Rainey, buttons and the stories they tell, and fetishising motherhood on social media. Jenni Murray presents.

Earlier this week some 50 people were killed when four hospitals in Northern Syria were hit by missiles. Dr Rola Hallam, Medical Director of the NGO Hand in Hand for Syria explains why hospitals are being targeted and how aid agencies and NGO's are helping women and children caught in the conflict.

Beth Ditto, lead singer of the cult American band Gossip, outspoken feminist and LGBT activist speaks to Jenni on the day she launches her own plus-size fashion line.

Is the Motherhood Challenge on social media a celebration of motherhood or an unrealistic image of womanly perfection? To discuss, Jenni is joined by the journalist Flic Everitt, and by Jody Day, the founder of Gateway Women, a global support network for women who are childless by circumstance, and the author of Living The Life Unexpected: 12 Weeks To Your Plan B For A Meaningful And Fulfilling Future Without Children.

Actor and singer Sharon D Clarke recently opened at the National Theatre playing Ma Rainey, an African American singer often referred to as the Mother of the Blues. Sharon joins Jenni to talk about Ma, the importance of strong, female, black characters, training as a social worker and she sings Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Lynn Knight keeps a button collection that has been passed down through three generations of women in her family. She joins Jenni to talk about "The Button Box," her book which uses buttons to tell the story of women's lives from pre-First World War domesticity, to the delights of beading and glamour in the thirties, to short skirts and sexual liberation in the sixties.

Presenter: Jenni Murray
Producer: Caroline Donne.

Available now

58 minutes


  • Syria Hospital Bombings

    Duration: 04:43

  • Beth Ditto

    The lead singer of the American band Gossip talks about her new plus size fashion line

    Duration: 09:23

  • Idealising Motherhood

    Is motherhood presented as a challenge to be perfect?

    Duration: 09:37

  • Sharon D Clarke

    The actor and singer on playing Ma Rainey, often referred to as the Mother of the Blues

    Duration: 11:21

  • The Button Box

    Lynn Knight on her button collection that has been passed down generations of her family

    Duration: 06:07

The Button Box

The Button Box


Role Contributor
Presenter Jenni Murray
Producer Caroline Donne
Interviewed Guest Rola Hallam
Interviewed Guest Beth Ditto
Interviewed Guest Flic Everitt
Interviewed Guest Jody Day
Interviewed Guest Lynn Knight
Interviewed Guest Sharon D Clarke


  • Thu 18 Feb 2016 10:00

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