BBC World Service to Launch The Conversation

MUMBAI: The BBC World Service is launching a new weekly programme with an all-female line up. The Conversation starts on Monday 27th October (2030 GMT). Each week the programme will explore the success stories of two women from around the world who work in similar fields, through a conversation hosted by the BBC’s Kim Chakanetsa.

How does the experience of the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria compare with that of Yemen’s first female Ambassador? What does it take to be a female space engineer on India’s Mars mission? Does she come up against the same obstacles as a British Particle Physicist working for CERN? And how do a stand-up comedian from Kenya and a Saudi Satirist navigate their way through the male-dominated comedy scene?  The Conversation brings you the answers.

The Conversation will bring together two women – meeting for the first time, from very different parts of the world and with very different backgrounds. Kim will be finding out what it takes to forge a successful career as a woman in the world today.

Munazza Khan, Producer, The Conversation says: “We aim for the programme to be about women and about the lives they lead, not just the issues around being a woman. It does that by bringing people together who share the same interest but could be half the world apart in terms of geography and worlds apart in respect to lifestyle and culture. The results of the encounter are for everyone to share.”

Kim Chakanetsa, Presenter, The Conversation says: “I am really excited to be presenting The Conversation. As a producer and now a presenter for the BBC World Service, I am always covering stories about, and issues that affect women around the world. Often it’s the negative issues that make the headlines. So it’s refreshing and only right that we should also reflect the positive stories of women around the world who make up half our audience. By showcasing the paths to success of two inspiring women each week we hope to challenge some of the prejudices which women still face globally.”

This autumn guests on The Conversation include:

•         Judge Khalida R. Khan from Peshawar, Pakistan now presiding over the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Judge Mandisa Maya of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal

•         Saudi Satirist, Hatoon Kadi and Kenyan Stand-up Comedian, Njambi McGrath

•         The Artistic Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Music Director of the Hamburg Philharmonic, Simone Young and Mexican Conductor, Alondra de la Parra

•         Yemen’s first female Ambassador Amatalim Alsoswa and the Finnish Ambassador to West Africa, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury

•         Indian Space Scientist on India’s Mars Mission, Minal Sampath and British Particle Physicist at CERN, Dr Tara Shears

The Conversation launches on Monday 27th October 2014 at 20:30 GMT on BBC World Service. Audiences can listen online at

The changing role of women is one of the biggest transitions the world has experienced and the BBC World Service is aiming to capture this progression through The Conversation. Last year the BBC pledged to represent women better in its international news output, kick-starting that drive with the 100 Women Season. The Conversation launch coincides with the return of 100 Women for three days of special programming across the BBC’s international news services on TV, radio and online from Monday 27th October.

The 2014 list of 100 Women will be revealed on Monday 27th October. On Tuesday 28th at a special event in the BBC’s Radio Theatre four of the women will deliver mini key note speeches - Joyce Banda on political representation and empowerment, Shappi Khorsandi on bringing up girls, Shazia Saleem on entrepreneurship and Professor Lesley Yellowlees on women in science. Other highlights from across the three days include:

Laura Bates will join forces with the BBC’s language services to look at the ways women are combatting Everyday Sexism around the world.

Conchita Wurst will be interviewed by Kate Smurthwaite about cross dressing, gender identity and pushing boundaries.

Ghanaian Photographer and male feminist, Nana Kofi Acquah will be sharing his images and asking for audiences' photos that bust gender stereotypes.


On Wednesday 29th the teams will look in depth at the issues of domestic violence and honour killings. To link up the 100 Women virtually Newsday’s Nuala McGovern will be live in Abuja, Shaimaa Khalil in Islamabad, Rupa Jha in Delhi and Chloe Tilly will be in London.

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