Frida Kahlo helps to show us why Woman’s Hour is not just for your mum; it’s here to open your mind too.

HAVING BEEN a sporadic listener of Woman’s Hour since my early twenties when I was in my last year of university. Having made the switch from Radio 2, I was no longer greeted by a pop quiz with Ken Bruce when I awoke, late (usually) for an important lecture on human rights, but was greeted by the warm dulcets of Jane Garvery or Jenni Murray on Radio 4. I was encouraged to take up listening to the station to hone my social awareness and broaden my interests. The encourager was a lecturer of mine with strong and often decisive opinions who I would often catch on the bus home from university. I say catch, as opposed to having a few drinks together then taking the bus back to our respective homes. This lecturer, writer and respected academic (by some, perhaps a few) has since had accusations of misogyny levelled at him but, for now, that is beside the point. Perhaps it was not Women’s Hour he was advocating I listen to. But listen to it I did and it connected with my affinity for a powerful female, a mid-morning discussion on prostitution rights, the relative impact of modern advertising on self-esteem with a specific focus on young females growing up today or how to make a nice marmalade.

These days I am no longer struggling out of bed at 10am and will catch up with Woman’s Hour when I can through the Radio iPlayer App or through their Podcast. I was very happy to have tuned in this Wednesday to hear an interview with the new MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah and a profile of the artist Frida Kahlo. Naz Shah appeared to be a refreshingly honest and insightful politician with a well placed concern for vulnerable women. Her harrowing childhood has instilled in her a great deal of strength and independence and a strong will to help those in need. She is also the chair of a mental health charity and in general appears to be a very decent and honest person standing firm for what she sees as important. Exactly the kind of person who should be elected to a position of power. Her story was astounding and shared without any sense of cynicism.

Frida Kahlo is someone I had not heard of before, and perhaps is the exact the reason I was encouraged to switch on Radio 4. The Mexican artist has apparently had a lasting impact on headwear and style in general and presents a narrative of the Mexican experience not often heard in UK media. I am also impressed by her ability to work a uni-brow.

Woman’s Hour is broadcast weekdays from 1000-1100 and Saturdays from 1600-1700 on Radio 4 and is presented by Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey.

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