Conversation, The [world Service]



Kim Chakanetsa presents a conversation between two women from different cultures about.

Kim Chakanetsa presents a conversation between two women from different cultures about their paths to success.

03/10/2016 Gmt20161003

Kim Chakanetsa presents a conversation between two women from different cultures about their paths to success.

09/01/2017 Gmt20170109
10/10/2016 Gmt20161010
12/12/2016 Gmt20161212
14/11/2016 Gmt20161114

Kim Chakanetsa presents a conversation between two women from different cultures about their paths to success.

21/11/2016 Gmt20161121
24/10/2016 Gmt20161024
Addiction: Parina Subba Limbu And Melinda Ferguson20151228

Two women from Nepal and South Africa whose drug addiction almost cost them everything

Parina Subba Limbu first tried drugs as a teenager. Expelled from nine schools, she eventually ran away from home. After a decade of escalating addiction, and many disastrous love affairs with other addicts, Parina finally got help to get clean, and now runs Dristi Nepal, a charity she founded to care for drug-addicted women in Kathmandu, a group she says who are harshly judged by her society.

Melinda Ferguson, who grew up in Apartheid-era South Africa, started stealing her mother's brandy aged 10, and was soon experimenting with drugs. In 1993 she tried heroin, which led to a downward spiral that saw her losing her kids, and selling her body for the next hit. Melinda's journey to recovery began in 1999, and has since published two addiction memoirs, Smacked and Crashed.

(Picture: Parina Subba Limbu (Left) and Melinda Ferguson(Right)

Melinda Ferguson picture credit: Aubrey Johnson )

Adoption: Judith Fleming And Amy Seek2016081520160821 (WS)

The perspectives of two women at opposite ends of the adoption process in the US and UK

Kim Chakanetsa brings together two women from the US and UK, who have been at either end of the adoption process, to reflect on their choices.

Judith Fleming is an actor and writer based in the UK who decided to adopt a child, on her own, at the age of 40. We are using a different name to protect Judith's and her son's privacy. Judith looked through many profiles, but says when she saw a picture of her son she knew he was the one and she had to be his mum. Judith's open with her little boy about his identity and he knows that she didn't "grow him in her tummy".

Amy Seek is an architect from America and got pregnant at the age of 22. She made the difficult choice to give her child up in an "open adoption" and went through a painstaking process of trying to find the right family for him. Sixteen years on and Amy still lives with the pain of her decision, but she does have a relationship with her son. She reveals that they haven't had an in-depth talk about the circumstances of his adoption and hopes one day he will understand how hard it was for her to make that choice.

Photo: Judith Fleming and Amy Seek with Kim Chakanetsa in the studio, Credit: BBC

Alone At Sea20170102

Two women who steer boats across oceans single-handed on the challenges of being at sea

Steering a small boat across oceans by yourself - why do it? Kim Chakanetsa meets two women who have been alone at sea for months - and they chat about encountering sharks, avoiding pirates and having to call their mums.

Roz Savage is the first woman to have rowed solo across three oceans - the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. She had no background as an adventurer and in fact was a UK management consultant for years, but in her 30s she decided to do something completely different with her life. Roz says rowing the Atlantic was a huge struggle physically and mentally, but afterwards she wanted to put herself in even more challenging situations to see if she could do it, and to raise awareness about sustainability.

Australian Jessica Watson sailed around the world when she was just 16, battling storms and isolation, but also fierce criticism from those who thought she was too young. On her return after 210 days she was greeted by the Prime Minister and tens of thousands of people, and was later named Young Australian of the Year. Jessica says she did it partly to prove that young people, and young girls, can be serious and achieve incredible things, and they should not be dismissed.

(Photo: (L) Roz Savage sat in her row boat. Credit: Phil Uhl and (R) Jessica Watson stood on her yacht. Credit: Sam Rosewarne)

An Extraordinary Meeting Between Two Former Hostages20161121

What life as a hostage in the depths of the jungle or in a darkened room can teach you

In 2002, the French Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt became perhaps one of the best-known hostages in the world when she was kidnapped and held for over six years, deep in the Colombian jungle, by the Farc or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Watching Ingrid's emotional release on TV in 2008, was a young Canadian journalist called Amanda Lindhout. A month later she herself was taken hostage at gun-point, on a work trip to Somalia. For the 460 days of Amanda's captivity, she thought about Ingrid nearly every day, inspired by the thought that she too could one day end her ordeal.

This is the first time they have spoken to each other.

(Photo: Amanda Lindhout (L). Credit: Steve Carty. (R) Ingrid Betancourt. Credit: Barker Evans)

Astronauts: Sandra Magnus And Samantha Cristoforetti2016032820160403 (WS)

Women who have lived and worked in space, share their out of this world experiences

Sandra Magnus is a US astronaut with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and is now the executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Sandra always wanted to become an astronaut and has had a lifelong passion for science and exploring how the world works. On the space station she says that every day is about trouble-shooting, and sometimes it doesn't seem very organised, there is a lost and found plastic bag, "I always thought that was rather amusing because that means there were things on the station that were missing parts".

Samantha Cristoforetti made history when she became the first person to make an espresso in space. "We got to try the first freshly brewed espresso coffee in space" she says proudly. Born in Milan and raised in the province of Trentino in Itlay, Samantha speaks four languages including Russian. She has a second degree in aeronautical sciences and a masters in mechanical engineering. She is a captain in the Italian air force, a qualified jet-fighter pilot and has been an astronaut with the European Space Agency since 2009, the first Italian woman to take the role.

(Photo: Sandra Magnus: NASA, Samantha Cristoforetti: ESA-S. Corvaja)

Ballroom Dancers: Oti Mabuse And Alex Hixson20161107

Two female professionals take us backstage in the world of ballroom dancing

Get your dancing shoes on because this week Kim Chakanetsa brings together two supremely talented ballroom dancers who between them have a pile of trophies. We talk about the glamour, romance, athleticism and also the rivalries, injuries and tears that go on behind the scenes.

South African dancer Oti Mabuse has been Latin American dance champion in South Africa eight times and she is currently gracing UK screens as a professional dancer on the popular reality TV show Strictly Come Dancing. When she started ballroom dancing was a very divided activity, "We were the only black family doing Latin and ballroom, I was young, I was four and cute, but for my sisters it was extremely difficult." More recently, things have changed, she says "It's not about where you come from or what you look like, it's about what you do and what you deliver."

Alex Hixson is from the UK and has been a World Champion bronze medallist and an International Professional Rising Star Champion. Her favourite dance is the foxtrot. Alex started dancing aged 6, "before 'Strictly', so before ballroom dancing was cool. I saw a poster and told my mum that I want to do ballroom and Latin dancing and she said why? That's what old people do."

(L) Photo: Oti Mabuse. Credit: BBC.

(R) Alex Hixson. Credit: Nick Redman, London Photos.

Being Transgender: Isis King And Abhina Aher2015081020150815 (WS)

Model and fashion designer Isis King was catapulted to fame on US TV series America's Next Top Model. Her physical transition from male to female was caught on camera and got global attention in 2009. Isis says she knew she wanted to be a girl as early as four years old - "I always knew that I was different". Her mother was a strong role model and Isis remembers, "I would put on my mum's heels" when she was out and practise walking in a straight line in them. She reveals that it's been hard to find love since her genital reassignment surgery, because people have seen her on their screens at her most vulnerable, but says now she's just trying to focus on herself.

Abhina Aher is part of India's Hijra, or "third gender" community. Hijras were recognised by the country's supreme court last year, but Abhina says there's still a long way to go until people like her are accepted by families, communities and employers. Abhina, who works as a programme manager for India HIV/Aids Alliance, couldn't "connect" to herself as being a boy growing up and wanted to be a dancer like her mother. Abhina says that genital reassignment is costly in India and she had to opt for castration and hormone treatment carried out by unregulated medics.

(Picture: Isis King (Left) and Abhina Aher (Right). Credits: Isis - D Dipasupil/ Getty Images for Logo TV; Abhina - Prakash Singh/ AFP/ Getty Images)

Bodyguards: Jacquie Davis And Denida Zinxhiria2016042520160501 (WS)

Meet the women who would take a bullet for their wealthy clients

Jacquie Davis began her career with the British police, but soon moved into security and close protection. This was in the 1970's when Jacquie says it was "very lonely" being the only woman in the industry. Today Jacquie runs the security and risk management firm Optimal Risk and her clients include the ultra-rich and famous; she's dealt with everything from hostage situations to screaming fans and celebrity tantrums.

Denida Zinxhiria grew up in Albania during a time of social upheaval where it was commonplace to hear bombs and bullets in the street. As a child she remembers her grandmother covering her to protect her from gunfire and says that incident sparked an interest in keeping people safe. Denida worked her way up through private security in Greece and now runs Athena Academy, a security company that trains female bodyguards.

Photo: Jacquiee Davis. Credit: Aaston Parrot.

Photo: Denida Zinxhiria. Credit: N/A.

Cave Women: Jill Heinerth And Elen Feuerriegel20160125

Two women who go deep underground in the name of science and discovery

Jill Heinerth is the world's top underwater cave explorer. More people have walked on the moon than have ventured to some of the places she has dived. Originally from Canada, and now living in Florida in the US, Jill has broken records mapping whole water courses underground, and once had a narrow escape from cave-diving in an Antarctic iceberg. She takes photographs and video whilst underground, and says that she would never attempt a dangerous dive just for the thrill of it - there has to be a new discovery to pursue.

Elen Feuerriegel is a PhD student from Australia who was catapulted into one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of our time, when her caving experience and slim build led to her joining the Rising Star Expedition. This all-women team excavated over a thousand fossils from a deep cave system in South Africa, which at its narrowest point measures just 18 cm. It was announced in September 2015 that these bones were from a previously unknown species of human ancestor, Homo Naledi.

(Photo: (L) Jill Heinerth in diving gear, Credit: Wes Skiles. (R) Elen Feuerriegel holding MH1)

Child Stars: Mandisa Nakana Taylor And Mara Wilson20161031

The star of the film Matilda talks to a trail-blazing South African youth TV presenter.

Can you beat the so-called 'curse' of the child performer? Maryam Maruf brings together two women who grew up on camera - the American star of the films Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire, and a South African youth TV presenter.

At six years old Mara Wilson was playing Robin Williams's daughter in Mrs Doubtfire, then she bagged the leading role in the film version of Roald Dahl's Matilda. For a few years she was the cutest little girl in Hollywood. Then as she hit puberty and did not become classically 'pretty', she discovered that the parts simply dried up. Mara chose not to re-enter the limelight as an adult, and is a writer and storyteller in New York. She's written a memoir called 'Where Am I Now?'

Mandisa Nakana Taylor shot to fame in South Africa aged 10, as one of a multi-racial cast of young presenters on the kids' show YOTV. For six years children raced home after school and watched her grow up on their televisions. Mandisa says it was great fun, and there were a lot of first kisses on set, but they were also expected to maintain an adult work ethic. Now a mother and student in the UK, she still appears on screen, this time on her own YouTube channel.

(Photo: (L) Mandisa Nakana Taylor. Credit: Vanity Studios. (R) Mara Wilson. Credit: Ari Scott)

Choreographers: Aditi Mangaldas And Jasmin Vardimon20151207

Growing up in an Israeli kibbutz taught choreographer Jasmin Vardimon all about group dynamics, but she came to dancing relatively late, aged 14. Now artistic director of the Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company in the UK, her visually stunning and exciting performances are inspired by universal themes such as brutality and justice, filtered through the personal experience of her and her dancers. Jasmin says that leading a production is like bringing up a child - at a key point you need to be able to let go and trust the dancers to do their best.

Aditi Mangaldas was trained in the classical Indian dance form of kathak from the age of five. Her Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company, Drishtikon Dance Foundation, now performs all over the world. With its fast footwork and rhythmic complexity, kathak gives Aditi a sense of feeling timeless, of being bound to the ground. She believes that there is room for the dance form to evolve and in some of her productions fuses kathak with contemporary dance. Aditi still performs on stage, and on those days says she has to become just one of the company.

(L) Aditi Mangaldas. Credit: Dinesh Khanna

(R) Jasmin Vardimon. Credit: Ben Harries

Dancing and directing - the art of the choreographer

City Traders: Louise Dispo And Lucy Shitova2016062720160703 (WS)

Women make better city traders than men according to research, but most trading floors are dominated by men. Kim Chakanetsa explores why this might be and meets two traders from Russia and the Philippines who are helping to redress the balance.

Currency trading is Louise Dispo's area of the market. Originally from the Philippines, Louise work's in London now. She says she's used to being one of the only females on the trading floor and thinks it's the high pressure, risk and unpredictable hours that put other women off choosing this as a career. Chocolate, coffee and nuts get Louise through the day and she says the office is filled with high screens, people shouting and phones ringing.

Lucy Shitova has traded base metals, such as aluminium and steel, for 10 years. She began her career in Russia and also works in London now. Lucy says she was drawn to this profession because of the buzz, the "pay-off" and the fact it's like getting paid to gamble in a casino with someone else's cash. Lucy admits that it hits hard when you lose money, but you've got to be confident in your decisions and move on.

Image: City Traders Louise Dispo (L) and Lucy Shitova (R)

Credit: Louise Dispo and Lucy Shitova

Profits, losses and bonuses - two female traders from Russia and the Philippines

Disability: Maysoon Zayid And Gloria Williston20160222

Two successful women from America and Ghana who refuse to be defined by their disability

Maysoon Zayid is an Arab-American actor and writer with cerebral palsy. Brought up by parents who believed that nothing was impossible, she learnt how to walk by placing her heels on her father's feet. Combating unequal treatment in her profession, Maysoon went on to become a popular stand-up comedian, co-founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and has performed in clubs in the US and the Middle East.

Gloria Williston was born with micromelia ‚Äď one leg shorter than the other - and uses a prosthesis to keep balance when she walks. Growing up in Ghana she faced prejudice and stigmatisation but always kept a positive attitude. She completed her degree and now works at the Orthopaedic Training Centre in Nsawam. Gloria believes that the key factor in her success was her family's 'love all the way'.

Photo: Maysoon Zayid (L) Gloria Williston (R).

Divorce Lawyers20161219

How to deal with the financial and emotional fallout when a couple split up

Sorting out the messy business of divorce, in France and India.

Veronique Chauveau is a divorce lawyer based in Paris, where she's been practising for more than 30 years. The bulk of her work is with the rich and famous, but she also finds time for a 'reality check' through taking on international child abduction cases. And she is an undisputed expert in jam making!

Vandana Shah is a divorce lawyer in Mumbai. She learnt about divorce the hard way, when she was thrown out of the family home, and spent the next 10 years battling to get a divorce. During that time she got herself a law degree, and she is now one of the foremost lawyers at the family court in Mumbai. She regularly writes for The Huffington Post, and her memoirs are called The Ex-Files. She also started 360 Degrees Back to Life, India's first support group for people going through a divorce.

(L-Image and credit: Vandana Shah.

R-Image and credit: Veronique Chauveau.)

Domestic Workers: Marissa Begonia And Siphokazi Mdlankomo2016100320161009 (WS)

Life in service: the secret tales of domestic workers in the Philippines and South Africa

Siphokazi Mdlankomo comes from South Africa and Marissa Begonia from the Philippines but they have plenty in common. They have both dedicated a great deal of their lives to taking care of other people's households and children. They are Kim Chakanetsa's guests on this programme and they are discussing life as a domestic worker.

Marissa Begonia left her three young children to work overseas. It was a tough decision for her but she couldn't bear to see them going hungry at home in the Philippines. She found work initially in Hong Kong and then Singapore and finally London. Her choice has worked out for her, after years of providing for her children back home, she was finally able to bring them to join her in London. But the separation has taken its toll on all of them, and so has the work. Melissa has seen and heard of so much mistreatment among domestic workers that she decided to set up an organisation to protect the rights and welfare of others in her profession. The organisation is called Justice for Domestic Workers.

Until very recently Siphokazi Mdlankomo was working for a family in Johannesburg, South Africa but she's had to leave her job to focus full time on her new role on television and writing cookery books. She came to fame when she was runner-up in the South African reality TV show Master Chef. Her cooking has come a long way since she started her working life. She looks back fondly at the young Siphokazi, just starting out in her career, back then, she didn't know what garlic was, or fresh herbs or how to make a piece of toast.

Siphokazi and Marissa share their intimate, moving and sometimes funny stories of running someone else's household.

(Photo: Marissa Begonia (L) and (R) Siphokazi Mdlankomo)

Endurance Sports: Megan Harrington-johnson And Manu Vilaseca2016050920160515 (WS)

The women who are pushing their bodies to the limit by land and sea

Megan Harrington-Johnson doesn't let worry and doubt stop her when she wants to complete a 13km open-water swim. The South African endurance swimmer has swam in shark infested waters, even though she's petrified of them and has had a close shave with a Great White. Megan says she's often the only woman on the team, but thinks it's fear rather than ability that holds other women back from doing what she does. Sweating in the water is an issue and Megan talks about the importance of staying hydrated and eating lots of calories to get through a big swim.

Manu Vilaseca started by running 5km races and now does 160km ultra-marathons. The lengthy courses are rarely on flat terrain, they're normally up and down mountains and the conditions can be unpredictable, but Manu, who's from Brazil, says even when her mind is telling her to stop she knows how to talk herself round and get through. The competitions might be punishing on Manu's body, but she says she loves the feeling of total exhaustion and almost craves the pain she will feel afterwards so she knows she's pushed herself to the limit.

Photo: (L) Megan Harrington-Johnson. Credit: Charl Rorich.

Photo: (R) Manuela Vileseca. Credit: Bernardo Rodrigues.

Engineers: Marita Cheng And Nisrine Chartouny2016052320160529 (WS)

When Australian mechanical engineer Marita Cheng got to university, she was shocked to discover that only five out of 50 students on her course were female. She responded by starting Robogals - an organisation that goes into schools and teaches robotics to girls as a way of encouraging them into choosing engineering as a career. Having won multiple awards and starting her own robotics company, Marita is now an inspiring role model herself, and has developed a robot arm that can aid people with mobility issues.

Lebanese civil engineer Nisrine Chartouny oversees miles of tunnelling on London's ambitious Crossrail project. Her work requires precision, skill and very long hours. Nisrine joined her company Bechtel 10 years ago, and says she and her husband put off having babies for five years because she was enjoying her job so much. Now a mum of one, she was able to go back to work four days a week and wants the rest of the industry she is so passionate about to embrace flexible working, so that it can hold on to women like her.

(Photo: Marita Cheng (L). Credit: University of Melbourne, Australia. Nisrine Chartouny (R). Credit: Bechtel)

Building robots and boring tunnels, female engineers from Australia and Lebanon

Fantasy Writers: Karen Lord And Maria Turtschaninoff20160208

Two fantasy authors talk about world-building, and the importance of being bored

Karen Lord's writing feeds off the real world but knits in magic, folktales and adventure to create a unique and original universe. She is the author of three books, and her latest is called The Galaxy Game. Karen has won numerous awards including the Frank Collymore Literary award, which recognises literary talent in Barbados. She says that she loves the place where she writes from, because the melting-pot nature of the Caribbean is a constant source of stories and inspiration.

Maria Turtschaninoff started writing fairy tales aged five, and now weaves historically inspired worlds of magical realism with elements of mythology. The prizes she's won for her work include the Finlandia Junior Prize, for Maresi, her first novel published in English. Maria says her 'cricket-mind' means she's easily distracted from writing, but her best ideas often come to her when she's bored. Surprisingly, she writes in Swedish, as she comes from the tiny Swedish-speaking minority in Finland.

(Picture: Fanstasy writers Karen Lord (Right) and Maria Turtschaninoff (Left))

Farmers: J„≥hanna Bergmann √ěorvaldsd„≥ttir And Rashida Khan2015101220151017 (WS)

Two women from Iceland and Australia discuss farming's toughest challenges

J√≥hanna Bergmann √ěorvaldsd√≥ttir grew up on an Icelandic farm that has been in her family for three generations. She has always loved Icelandic goats - a rare and beautiful breed - and when she took over the family farm she decided to concentrate on raising them. Iceland did not have a big market for goat products but J√≥hanna slowly built a customer base for her goats milk, cheese, wool and meat. After the country entered a financial crisis in 2008, J√≥hanna ended up in danger of having to sell her farm. This would have been a great loss to her, but could have led to extinction for the Icelandic goat as J√≥hanna's was the only commercial farm still breeding them. She saved her goats with the help of a crowdfunding website and, to her great surprise, thousands of 'Game of Thrones' fans.

Rashida Khan is a cattle producer and animal nutritionist. She runs a stud farm and a cattle station in Northern Australia. Rashida has Afghan and Aboriginal heritage and her family has worked with livestock in the Northern Territory for three generations. When the Australian government banned the export of live cattle to Indonesia following evidence of cruelty in the livestock industry there, Rashida and many like her were affected. She knew that many cattle workers live in remote, isolated places so she turned to social media to offer support to those struggling to adjust after the ban.

(Photo: J√≥hanna Bergmann √ěorvaldsd√≥ttir (left). Credit: Audra Mulkern of the Female Farmer Project. (Right) Rashida Khan)

Fashion Bosses: Rubana Huq And Kim Winser20141117

A Bangladeshi textile magnate and a British clothing retailer compare experiences

Bangladeshi clothing manufacturer Rubana Huq, who employs over 5000 women in eight factories, talks to British retailer Kim Winser who has been responsible for some major fashion brands.

What do two women leaders in the global fashion industry have to say to each other? From how they got into the world of fashion to factory-floor culture and leadership, Bangladeshi factory boss Rubana Huq and British fashion retailer Kim Winser compare their experiences.

Kim Winser has been described as one of Europe's most successful businesswomen. She spent 20 years with the British retailer Marks and Spencer, where a conversation with her boss in the elevator led to an interview to become the first woman in the company's commercial field and then its youngest divisional director. Kim is also credited with breathing life back into major fashion brands such as Pringle of Scotland and Aquascutum. She now runs her own fashion label called Winser London.

Rubana Huq is a prize-winning poet and the "accidental" Managing Director of the Mohammadi Group. Her company owns eight factories and employs 9000 men and women making garments for export. She is among only a handful of female entrepreneurs in the clothing trade in Bangladesh and wants to see more women leading change in the industry as it recovers from the tragedy of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013.

(Picture: Rubana Huq (left); Kim Winser)

Fashion Designers: Anya Ayoung Chee And Christina Economou2016071120160717 (WS)

Successful female fashion designers from Trinidad and Greece talk shop.

Clothes designers from Trinidad and Greece get together with Kim Chakanetsa, to talk about the killer combination of creativity and business sense you need to make it in the competitive world of fashion.

Anya Ayoung Chee is from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Always interested in fashion, but too scared to study it at college, she started making her own outfits when competing to represent her country at Miss Universe. Anya later entered the US reality TV show Project Runway, and came out the surprise winner, having only learnt how to sew weeks before! She's had her own labels, but is currently leading a collective of 30 local designers with the aim of putting the Caribbean region firmly on the global fashion map.

Christina Economou is a rising star of the European fashion scene. She studied in Paris and won the 2011 International Award at London Graduate Fashion Week, then returned to her home city of Athens to fulfil her dream of launching her own luxury label. Christina has a love of bright colours and bold prints, and sources much of her production and fabric locally, for example in the historic Greek silk town of Soufli. She says fashion school did not prepare her for how to combine her design skills with running a business, so she's had to learn the hard way.

Image: Anya Ayoung Chee (l) and Christina Economou (r)

Credit: Joey Rosado (l) and Yiorgos Kaplanidis (r)

Fighting Extremism: Hafsat Mohammed And Gulalai Ismail20160321

Two women fighting terrorism and violent extremism in Nigeria and Pakistan

Hafsat Mohammed is a Nigerian peace activist who survived a Boko Haram attack on a bus and works to combat violent extremism in the country by engaging young people at the grassroots level. She brings Christian and Muslim communities together to find ways to stop young people joining radical groups. Hafsat says when she was growing up this was a peaceful part of the world and it makes her sad that there is so much hate and violence there now, so she's made it her mission to stop it, despite threats made against her.

Gulalai Ismail remembers being young and seeing graffiti chalked on the walls of her home town Peshawar, in north-west Pakistan, calling for young men to join violent extremist groups. As a teenager Gulalai started campaigning for the rights of women and today has broadened her activism out to include anti-radicalisation programmes, and projects dealing with HIV/AIDS education and safe abortion. Gulalai, who has won many awards, has been threatened because of the work she does and had to flee her home after an attack a few years ago.

(Image: Hafsat Mohammed on the Left, Gulalai Ismail on the Right)

Finding The Funny In Feminism20161205

Stand-up comedians Aditi Mittal and Zahra Noorbakhsh seek out the funny in feminism

Feminism is not known for being funny but we're hoping to change that on The Conversation this week as two feminist stand up comedians go head to head to explore the funny in feminism. They are Aditi Mittal, one of India's top stand-up comedians today and Zahra Noorbakhsh, one half of the internationally acclaimed podcast #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. Also starring a live studio audience of young and alarmingly intelligent people.

This programme was part of the BBC's 100 Women Season.

(L) Image: Zahra Noorbakhsh, Credit: Les Talusan.

(R) Image and credit: Aditi Mittal.

Football Referees: Melissa Borjas Pastrana And Sandra Serafini2016070420160710 (WS)

Women referees from Honduras and Canada on red cards and keeping emotions off the pitch

Kim Chakanetsa brings together top female football referees to discuss their passion for the game, the demands of rigorous fitness training and how they handle aggressive players.

Melissa Borjas Pastrana was inspired to follow in her uncle's footsteps to become a referee. Melissa, who lives in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, referees men's games in Honduras and women's games at Fifa level. Melissa reveals how you have to be good at psychology to succeed as a referee, because you are managing 22 players on the pitch as well as the support staff and the fans in the stadium.

Sandra Serafini grew up in a football obsessed household in Canada and from a young age was a keen player. When she discovered that her talents lay more with officiating rather than playing she began to referee at men's and women's games at an amateur level, until eventually she turned professional and joined Fifa in 2006. For much of her career she has combined refereeing football matches with neurosurgery, her work as a neuroscientist helps her to understand why things can go wrong in a game and how to try and fix them. She now works with the Professional Referee Organisation where she coaches the next generation of female referees.

(Photo: Melissa Borjas Pastrana (L) Credit Omar Martinez. Sandra Serafini (R) Credit Dominic Chan)

Forensic Scientists: Senem ҆kulj And Kornelia Nehse20160104

The 'forensics' who identify bones from mass graves in Bosnia and solve murders in Berlin

Senem ҆kulj is a senior forensic anthropologist for the International Commission on Missing Persons in Bosnia. Thousands of people lost their lives during the bloody conflict when Yugoslavia broke up in the early 1990s. Many bodies were thrown into mass graves and it's Senem's job to put a name to the bones that are found and to reunite the remains with relatives, so they can have a proper burial.

Kornelia Nehse is a hair and textiles expert, she began her career in the forensics department of the Berlin police 30 years ago. At first Kornelia went to the crime scene to collect evidence, but says it was difficult seeing murder victims, especially the vulnerable ones. Now her job is mainly inside the laboratory working with the tiny microscopic fibres that can help catch and convict an offender.

(Photo: Forensic scientists Senem ҆kulj (Left) and Kornelia Nehse (Right) at work.

Kornelia Nehse picture credit: Claudia Wendt)

Funeral Directors: Nomthetho Zote And Lauren Leroy2015092120150926 (WS)

Running funeral homes in the US and South Africa and dealing death everyday.

Lauren LeRoy is a 25-year-old funeral director from New York State. She says she knew she wanted to do this job from the age of 12. Lauren works at a funeral home established by her great uncle, and explains that you have to be good at reading a situation to know how to deal with each grieving family. The worst part of the job for Lauren is the moment just before she closes the casket for the final time and the family are saying their last goodbyes, knowing they won't see their relative again.

Nomthetho Zote runs a funeral parlour in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. The funeral business is in her blood too, she took over the home from her parents. When Nomthetho was growing up she says death was less common, people generally died of old age, but the high prevalence of HIV/ AIDS in the country has made death an every day thing. Nomthetho even gets calls at 3am from families asking for her help, and she says whatever time of day it is you always have to be patient and kind with grieving people.

(Picture: Nomthetho Zote (Left) and Lauren LeRoy (Right). Credit: Amanda Polanski)

Gamers And Geeks: Jenny Brusk And Angelica Lim2015091420150919 (WS)

Jenny Brusk didn't know what she was letting herself in for when she enrolled in a university Masters course in computing in 1990. She went on to become Sweden's first female games developer but she was often mistaken for the company receptionist. The experience made her stronger. She says, "rather than go hide somewhere in the office I would fill my space". Jenny is now researching how game characters can be made more psychologically realistic by using natural speech, gossip and lies. She is also the founder of DONNA, an organisation which aims to attract more women into the games industry.

Roboticist Angelica Lim is a self-professed 'geek' who programmes robots to have more 'human' traits, like compassion and empathy. She has lived, baked biscuits and made music with a robot, all in the name of research. The goal is creating the perfect companion robot which might provide help and therapy to the elderly or provide assistance at home to anyone. At some points when she was sharing her home with the robot, Angelica found herself questioning the relationship asking, "is it my servant or is it my kid?"

(Photo (L): Jenny Brusk, credit: Torbjörn Svensson. (R): Angelica Lim, credit: Andy Heather)

A roboticist and a games developer on how and why they are making technology more human

Graffiti Artists: Lady Pink And Olga Alexopoulou2016102420161030 (WS)

Subway tunnels of 1970s New York and giant murals in Greece - Graffiti artists talk shop

How do you feel about graffiti and street art? Is it a democratic form of creative expression, or an eyesore, a public nuisance, that gets your blood boiling? These are questions that Kim Chakanetsa puts to her two guests today.

Olga Alexopoulou lives in Turkey but is originally from Greece. She has a master's degree in Fine Art from Oxford University but she likes to paint on walls, big walls. She is responsible for the biggest mural in Greece, all 350 square metres of it. Street art has been very visible during the recent crises in both Turkey and Greece and while Olga's work promotes peace she has also had to face down her critics.

Lady Pink has been described as "the first lady of graffiti". She was born in Ecuador but made a name for herself across New York by literally spray painting her name on the city's subway trains. She was one of very few women on the scene in the late '70s. She used to dress as a boy to avoid unwanted attention. Three decades on, she is now one of the leading figures in the street art scene.

(Photo: Olga Alexopoulou (L). Credit: Yannis Bournias. (R) Lady Pink. Credit: Lauren Thomas)

Hair Stylists: Sapna Bhavnani And Charlotte Mensah2016091220160918 (WS)

Sapna Bhavnani is one of India's most celebrated hair stylists and is known for her own cropped hair and tattoos. Her Mumbai based salon, Mad-O-Wat, is the go-to place for Bollywood's A-list when their hair needs some attention. Clients include actors, politicians and sports stars like Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Sapna says her hair appointments can often turn into therapy sessions as her clients want to get their problems off their chest when they're sitting in her chair.

Charlotte Mensah developed a passion for hair styling while she looked after her little sister's hair after their mother died. Charlotte, who has twice been named British Afro Hairdresser of the Year, (by the British Hairdressing Awards) grew up in Ghana and moved to London when she was 11 years old. She goes back and forth to Accra and says it gives her a lot of inspiration for the styles she creates in the Hair Lounge, her Portobello Road salon, which specialises in afro hair. Charlotte promotes natural hair and says women are embracing this look.

Photo: (L)-Sapna Bhavnani. Credit: Sheetal Sherekar.

(R) Charlotte Mensah. Credit: John Rawson.

An Indian hair stylist to the stars speaks to an award winning British afro hairdresser

Heavy Metal: Doris Yeh And Sasha Zagorc2016053020160605 (WS)

Kim Chakanetsa quizzes two heavy metal bass guitarists about their roles in their bands, how they learnt to head-bang, and juggling the music with their day jobs.

Doris Yeh tours all over the world with best-selling Taiwanese metal band Chthonic. She says she only got into heavy metal by accident, but now loves it. Being the only woman in the band can have its down-sides - at performances her male colleagues used to expect her to get changed in the toilet while they occupied the one dressing room! However, Doris learnt to assert herself, and says when she gets on stage and starts playing, she is just excited to be able to treasure that moment with the audience.

Slovenian Sasha Zagorc formed the heavy metal/hard rock band Hellcats with her sister ten years ago. She's always been a metal-head so just wears her own black leather clothes in their videos and on stage. Initially the band had to deal with quite a lot of criticism as the first all-female band on the Slovenian metal scene, but they just kept going and now have fans all over the world. For Sasha having a band provides much needed relaxation, and she loves going on tour with her best friends.

(L) Photo: Doris Yeh. Credit: CHTHONIC.

(R) Photo: Sasha Zagorc. Credit: Simon Podgorsek.

Female heavy metal musicians from Taiwan and Slovenia.

Inside Soap Operas: Simone Singh And Sarah Mayberry2015082420150829 (WS)

What it's like to work on soap operas in India and Australia, on and off set.

Simone Singh is an award winning Indian television and film actress. She became a household name for playing the title role in the popular serial drama Heena. The audience was sympathetic to the heroine of this show, but Simone says even when she played a "baddie" she doesn't lose fans because "they remember your past work, they love you anyway".

Sarah Mayberry works on Australia's longest running soap opera, Neighbours, as a script writer and story liner. She describes the storyline meetings as intense, where the team "absolutely bare their souls" when using personal experience to brainstorm ideas. Sarah has worked on Neighbours for 16 years and says they "spread the villainy across the sexes".

(Picture: Simone Singh - Left and Sarah Mayberry - Right)

Investigative Reporters: Khadija Ismayilova And Sacha Pfeiffer20161114

Female journalists determined to publish the truth whatever the price

Azeri journalist Khadija Ismayilova became the subject of an international release campaign last year when she was arrested and detained by her government, and her cause was taken up by human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Khadija had been delving into the President's family businesses, and published allegations of extensive embezzlement of oil funds. She spent 18 months in prison before being given early release in May 2016, but says she is determined to continue her investigations.

Sacha Pfeiffer is an American newspaper journalist and was a member of the now world-renowned 'Spotlight' team on the Boston Globe. She and her colleagues spent years building up evidence and personal testimony of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, and the systematic cover-up of this by the Church. The resulting story caused shock-waves when it was published and the investigation was dramatised in the film Spotlight, which won the Best Film Oscar in 2016. Sacha was played by Rachel McAdams.

(L) Photo: Khadija Ismayilova. Credit: Aziz Karimov.

(R) Photo and credit: Sacha Pfeiffer.

Jazz Musicians: Melissa Aldana And Nomfundo Xaluva2016092620161002 (WS)

Growing up in Santiago Melissa Aldana learnt to play the tenor saxophone or 'horn' at her father's knee, though he took some convincing that she would stick with it. She did, and went on to become the first ever female instrumentalist to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Award in 2013. Melissa is now the leader of a successful jazz trio based in New York, and loves her work, but is concerned that a musician's life on the road will be hard to square with starting a family when the time comes.

South African musician Nomfundo Xaluva is winning awards for putting a new twist on her country's very strong jazz tradition. As well as singing and composing, Nomfundo says she is one of very few female black pianists in South Africa, and so feels responsible for being a role model to young girls. Being Xhosa, from the Eastern Cape, music forms a huge part of her culture, and she tries to incorporate this into her work, often singing in her mother tongue. Nomfundo reckons jazz is slowly becoming hip again, and she is excited to be a part of that.

L-Photo: Melissa Aldana.

R-Photo: Nomfundo Xaluva.

Award-winning female jazz musicians from Chile and South Africa chat

Jockeys: Michelle Payne And Jadey Pietrasiewicz2016041120160417 (WS)

Michelle Payne is the first ever female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup¬≠ and is the youngest of ten children of Paddy and Mary Payne who grew up in central Victoria, Australia. Mary died in a motor vehicle accident when Michelle was only six months old, leaving Paddy to raise the children as a single father. Michelle entered racing aged 15, the eighth of the Payne children to do so. She won in her first race at Ballarat, riding 'Reigning' a horse trained by her father. Michelle‚Äôs book ‚ÄúLife as I know it‚Ä? is published by Melbourne University Press.

Jadey Pietrasiewicz grew up in a small town in The Netherlands and started horse racing by accident at 14. Jadey started off as an amateur and turned professional in 2013. She won the HH Sheikha Fatima Ladies World Championship in Abu Dhabi in November 2014 and has ridden worldwide on both Thoroughbreds and Arabians (100+ wins). She is currently riding in Australia, based with Ellerton Zahra Racing.

(L) Michelle Payne. Credit: Racing Victoria.

(R) Jadey Pietrasiewicz. Credit: Wouter Tijtgat.

Female jockeys who have made an impact on the male dominated world of horse racing

Journalists: Ameera Ahmad Harouda And Alina Gracheva20151130

Gaza's first female news fixer and a camera woman from Moldova

As a child, Ameera Ahmad Harouda wanted to be the first female Palestinian fighter pilot, but as an adult she became a pioneer in the news field instead; starting work as Gaza's first female news fixer in 2005. Ameera's work begins when the violence escalates, and she's now the 'go to' person for many international journalists who need to hire a fixer to help them get into Gaza and gain access to stories and people.

Al Jazeera camera woman Alina Gracheva grew up in the former Soviet state of Moldova. She's covered some of the biggest news stories in recent history - the war in Chechnya, the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq, but it was the Beslan school siege in 2004, that had the biggest effect on her. Alina says that instead of focussing on the bombs and bullets, camera women can give a different perspective, "they are more likely to notice a mother in the corner, or a child with dirty fingers".

(Picture: Ameera Ahmad Harouda (Left) and Alina Gracheva (Right))

Life In The Circus: Anastasia Iv And Sarah Schwarz2015083120150905 (WS)

Running away to the circus: a Polish hair-hanger and German wire walker discuss their act

Anastasia IV from Poland joined the circus at eighteen. She performs one of the most risky and unusual acts in the circus: hair-hanging. Anastasia endures pain in her scalp and neck as she swings around the auditorium suspended by a metal ring which is plaited into her hair. She says it's 'the closest you can get to actually flying like a bird'

Sarah Swarz grew up in a circus family in Germany and started performing at the age of ten. She trained as a wire walker, contortionist and acrobat. She and her husband live in a trailer and travel with their Piglet Circus where her pig Max, is the 'boss of the show' - he can use a microphone and is trained to undo her clothes for a striptease routine.

Anastasia IV (r) (credit: Circus of Horrors)

Sarah Schwarz (l) (credit: Jessica Ford)

Living With Elephants: Saba Douglas-hamilton And Sangduen 'lek' Chailert2015092820151003 (WS)

Two elephant conservationists share tales of their intelligence, empathy and tempers

Sangduen 'Lek' Chailert comes from the small hill tribe village of Baan Lao in northern Thailand. At a young age she heard the screams of an elephant that was being forced to work in terrible conditions for the logging industry. Lek felt compelled to help it. Although she had no training she bought some medicine and soon she was being called upon to treat other local elephants. She later formed the Save Elephant Foundation to advocate for the rights of these animals in Thailand and the Elephant Nature Park, a protected area where rescued elephants receive protection and form new herds. Lek says that rebuilding an elephant's trust in humans can be a challenge - 'they never forget' - but she's found a novel technique: singing them lullabies.

Saba Douglas-Hamilton was born in Kenya where her father worked as a prominent elephant conservationist. In fact she says she was 'baptised in elephant's breath' as her mother introduced her to wild elephants when she was a baby. Today she works for the charity her family started, Save the Elephants, which researches their behaviour and works with local people to promote human-elephant co-existence. She once feared for her life when she woke in the night to find a wild bull elephant towering over her mattress. Unperturbed by this, she says 'I find elephants endlessly fascinating…We recognise in them, and they recognise in us, a parallel intelligence'.

(L) Saba Douglas-Hamilton. Credit: Sam Gracey

(R) Sangduen 'Lek' Chailert. Credit: Save Elephant Foundation

Making Sex Work Safer: Daisy Nakato And Catherine Healy2016090520160911 (WS)

Two women whose aim is to make sex work safer in Uganda and New Zealand join Kim Chakanetsa to exchange experiences.

Daisy Nakato is the founder of WONETHA, a sex workers' rights and support organisation in Kampala, Uganda. She says she chose to go into sex work at 17, but did face many challenges including violence from clients and running from the police. She is now building a better relationship with the police, which she hopes will lead to a reduction in violence against sex workers, but for her decriminalisation is the ultimate goal. Daisy is also HIV positive, and her project encourages sex workers to get tested and then supports them in controlling the spread of the disease.

New Zealander Catherine Healy went from teaching in a school to sex work in a massage parlour in her thirties. She says this was an empowering choice for her, but she was appalled at the lack of any protections for her profession, which was then illegal. So she formed the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective and led a long campaign to decriminalise all forms of sex work. This law was passed in 2003 and gives full employment rights to sex workers, and Catherine says the police are now partners in keeping sex workers safe.

Sex workers turned campaigners from Uganda and New Zealand

Martial Artists: Norma Foster And Nat„°lia Falavigna20151102

Norma Foster from Scotland discovered karate in her teens when her male friends began taking classes and using Japanese words that were strange to her. She decided to start learning herself but when it came to competitions she found herself the only woman in the room. She wasn't deterred and after spending eight years in Tokyo studying karate she now has a sixth degree black belt. Norma became the first female referee at the World Karate Federation, but her career was not without obstacles: on one occasion a competition was shut down because a member of the referee committee claimed that women were not allowed to judge male athletes. Now she wants to increase the number of women referees at all levels of the sport.

Nat√°lia Falavigna from Brazil knew she wanted to be an Olympic athlete from the age of four. She tried several sports before finding taekwondo. When her teacher told her he could make her a world champion she realised she'd found what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She enjoys the 'explosive' nature of taekwondo which involves high-energy kicking and spinning, and the challenge of mastering her emotions during a fight. In 2004 she achieved her dream of competing in the Olympics, coming fourth place. Then in 2008 she won bronze at the Summer Olympics, becoming the first Brazilian to win an Olympic medal in taekwondo.

Picture: Norma Foster (Right) and Nat√°lia Falavigna (Left)

Picture credits: Peter Stoddart (Right) /Fausto Roim (Left)

A Scottish karate referee and a Brazilian taekwondo champion share their experiences

Mechanics: Patrice Banks And Sandra Aguebor2016061320160619 (WS)

Patrice Banks says she was an 'auto airhead' before she fell in love with fixing vehicles. She was an engineer for a big chemicals company, but despite her passion for problem solving she avoided her own car maintenance and preferred to pay a man to do it. The Philadelphia born mechanic discovered that many other women felt the same way and decided to do something about it. Patrice started work in a garage, went back to school and set up Girls Auto Clinic to help women feel more connected with their cars.

Nigerian Sandra Aguebor got her first job in a car repair shop aged 13 and has never looked back. Sandra did not let the jokes and jeers about being a girl doing this job get to her. Now Sandra is famous for being Nigeria's first female mechanic and has run her own garage, Sandex Car Care, for 20 years. She also leads the Lady Mechanic Initiative, which trains women to work with cars.

(Photo: (L) Patrice Banks. Credit: Girls Auto Clinic. (R) Sandra Aquebor. Credit: Lady Mechanic Initiative)

Nigeria's first 'lady mechanic' with an 'auto airhead' turned car mechanic from the US

Migrants: Cynthia Masiyiwa And Mahboba Rawi2015081720150822 (WS)

Mahboba Rawi was a teenager when the Soviet-Afghan War broke out. She led protests against Soviet control in her high school. After she was nearly arrested, she decided to flee the country. Along with millions of others, Mahboba made the ten day walk to the border with Pakistan, not knowing whether she would ever see the relatives she was leaving behind again. Eventually, she married an Afghan-Australian man and settled with him in Australia. Life took another tragic turn when her son drowned in an accident. His death moved her to set up her own charity, Mahboba's Promise which supports impoverished children and widows in Afghanistan.

Cynthia Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe ten years ago when the country was in political and economic crisis. Worried for her future, her parents sent her to live with her sister in the UK. Cynthia thought the UK would be a "land of opportunities", but she quickly experienced several setbacks. She disliked the cold climate, the "frosty" behaviour of Londoners - and then her mother died. As the only black student in her class, Cynthia was shocked to experience racism; in fact she jokes that running from bullies helped her become a 'champion sprinter'. Later she gained the confidence to challenge the prejudices of her peers and eventually her classmates became her allies. Now she works for Citizens UK helping other young migrants to navigate the immigration system and even persuading the government to improve it.

(Photo: Cynthia Masiyiwa. Credit: Cynthia Masiyiwa)

(Photo: Mahboba Rawi. Credit: Rob Tuckwell Photography)

Leaving Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, two migrants discuss belonging to two cultures.

Missing Relatives: Luz Villamil And Visaka Dharmadasa2015100520151010 (WS)

Visaka Dharmadasa is a celebrated Sri Lankan peace activist whose son went missing in action in 1998, while fighting for the Sri Lankan army against Tamil Tiger rebels. She won a landmark case against the government to get DNA checks done to trace missing soldiers and she works with mothers from both sides of the conflict, Tamils and Sinhalese, for a peaceful future. Visaka's work and her belief that her son is still alive keep her sane; she still keeps the chocolates in the freezer, that she bought for him 15 years ago, waiting for his return.

Luz Villamil is Colombian Palestinian. Her father was kidnapped by Farc left wing guerrillas in 1998, but released after 81 days. Luz's family's joy was short lived as two years later her brother went missing from a Colombian seaside resort. His disappearance has remained a mystery and they have no clues, only rumour and speculation. Luz hopes her brother is hearing the messages her family sends out on a Colombian radio show that features relatives of kidnapped and missing people.

Left: Luz Villamil, Credit: Angelika Bakou

Right: Visaka Dharmadasa. Credit: None

A sister and a mother explain why grief is constant when a relative goes missing

Mountaineers: Shailee Basnet And Katja Staartjes20160111

Shailee Basnet grew up in the shadow of the Himalayas in Kathmandu, but never thought of mountaineering herself. In her twenties she answered an advert for Nepali women to tackle Everest, and has never looked back. Shailee is now the leader of the first all-women team to successfully complete the Seven Summits Challenge - climbing the tallest mountain on every continent.

Katja Staartjes became the first Dutch woman to summit Everest in 1999, and has also done more dangerous climbs of over 8000 metres in Pakistan and Tibet. Katja says she loves putting everything she needs on her back, and setting off into the mountains. Her latest project is opening up the Western part of Nepal to trekking and tourism, by extending the Great Himalaya Trail.

Main image: Shailee Basnet (lhs) (credit Shailee Basnet); Katja Staartjes (rhs) (credit Katja Staartjes).

Mountaineers from Nepal and Holland who have set records on the world's highest peaks.

Musical Theatre20161226

Two female directors shine a spotlight on musical theatre in Nigeria and Pakistan

Treading the boards with two musical theatre directors from Nigeria and Pakistan. Kim Chakanetsa discusses the hunt for local talent, the emotional journey of opening night and running a tight ship in rehearsals.

Nigerian theatre director and producer Bolanle Austen Peters has re-ignited Nigeria's passion for their culture through her highly successful musicals focused on local stories using local stars. She says "The talent is latent, people have it but they just need the right platform to bring it out and the individual who's going to push them". And Bolanle has done just that through her production company Terra Kulture.

Nida Butt is a theatre director, producer and choreographer from Pakistan and is responsible for revolutionising the Pakistani musical theatre scene by introducing live music and orchestras to the stage. She is the owner of Made for Stage theatre productions which has put on performances from Grease! to Nida's own original production of Karachi the Musical. Nida says "We were teaching ourselves, learning ourselves, and doing it ourselves".

Image: (L) Nida Butt and (R) Bolanle Austen Peters, Credit: Nida Butt (n/a) and Bolanle Austen Peters (Reze Bonna)

Image: (L) Nida Butt and (R) Bolanle Austen Peters

Credit: Nida Butt (n/a) and Bolanle Austen Peters (Reze Bonna)

Nannies: Tatiane Dias De Oliveira And Philippa Christian2016071820160724 (WS)

Children's nannies from Brazil and Australia discuss the highs and lows of the profession

A celebrity nanny from Australia and a Brazilian nanny who works in the US tell Kim Chakanetsa what it's like to look after other people's kids 24/7.

Australian nanny to the stars Philippa Christian has worked for actors, singers and Middle Eastern royalty. Even though she won't name names the 'Nanny Confidential' author reveals what it's like to work for Hollywood employers. Philippa loves the challenge of helping 'difficult' children, and there are definite perks, including the pay, but the downsides include rarely getting a day off, being routinely spied on, and having to avoid being 'papped' holding the baby on family outings.

Tatiane Dias de Oliveira who is from Brazil chose nannying over teaching, because she says it is far more satisfying to watch one child grow with her full attention, than try to divide herself between a class full of kids. Thaty has now been a nanny for the past 17 years. Currently based in Boston, she is passionate about training and advising other nannies, who she says can often be in vulnerable situations with their employers, and lack the confidence to negotiate good terms and conditions.

Image: Tatiane Dias de Oliveira (l) and Philippa Christian (r)

Nuns: Mother Hildegarde And Sister Tracy Kemme20161010

Nurses: Rose Kiwanuka And Subadhra Devi Rai20151123

Subadhra Devi Rai started her nursing career in a busy intensive care unit of a hospital in Singapore. She has also dedicated her life to working with those in desperate need in countries where her skills are in short supply, including Thailand, Nigeria and Laos. Subadhra, who's now a senior lecturer in health studies, recently won the Florence Nightingale International Foundation's International Achievement Award.

Rose Kiwanuka isn't saving lives but helping patients as they die, she was Uganda's first palliative care nurse in the early 1990s. Rose, who is the national coordinator of the Palliative Care Association, has the momentous task of making patients and their families, in urban and rural communities, as comfortable as possible about death.

(L) Rose Kiwanuka, Palliative Care Nurse, Uganda. Picture Credit: Alan Hofmanis

(R) Subadhra Devi Rai, Nurse, Singapore. Picture credit: Nanyang Polytechnic

Caring around the clock for the sick and the dying in Uganda and Singapore

Olympians: Dame Kelly Holmes And Aya Medany2016080820160814 (WS)

Two female sports stars on how they achieved their Olympic dreams in the UK and Egypt.

Kim Chakanetsa brings together two athletes from the UK and Egypt who know what it's like to stand on the start line and have the whole world watching you.

Dame Kelly Holmes became the first British female athlete to win a double gold at a Games when she won the 800m and 1500m in Athens, in 2004. Her talent was spotted by a PE teacher at school and her Olympic fire was sparked at the age of 14 watching Team GB win in Moscow. Kelly's fought the physical and mental strains of injury to become the best in the world at her sport and since retirement has tried to support other athletes achieve their dream.

Modern pentathlete Aya Medany made her Olympic debut in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, aged 15. She was the youngest on the Egyptian team and youngest to ever compete in her event, which is made up of fencing, running, swimming, shooting and horse riding. Aya also took part in the Beijing 2008 Games and London 2012. She's now retired but has travelled to Rio with the Egyptian team to stand in the IOC Athletes Commission election and mentor some of the young sports stars who are competing at their first Olympics.


left Gold medallist Kelly Holmes of Great Britain (credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

right Aya Medany of Egypt riding Udea at the 2012 London Olympics (credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Opera: Danielle De Niese And Pretty Yende2015101920151024 (WS)

Sopranos from the US and South Africa talk vocal strength, languages and being a diva

Lyric soprano Danielle de Niese was a star performer at Last Night of the Proms 2015. It was another milestone in this Australian-born American star's glittering career. Growing up, Danielle won various talent and television competitions and debuted at New York's prestigious Metropolitan Opera House when she was 19 years old. She says she knew she wanted to sing opera from the age of eight. Described as "opera's coolest soprano", Danielle is best known for her performances of Handel, Mozart, baroque music, as well as her reality TV shows, including The Diva Diaries.

South African soprano Pretty Yende discovered opera by chance. She was 16 years old and watching a television advertisement for an airline, which featured The Flower Duet, from the opera Lakme by Léo Delibes. Pretty fell in love with the sound and instantly wanted to imitate it. She went to be classically trained at Cape Town University and then got a place at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala, in Milan. In 2011 Pretty won first prize in Placido Domingo's Operalia competition and two years later she shot to fame when, at short notice, she had to stand in to perform Countess Adele in Rossini's opera, Le Comte Ory. This was Pretty's Metropolitan Opera House debut.

(Picture: Opera singers Danielle de Niese (left) and Pretty Yende. Credits: Chris Dunlop/Kim Fox)

Philanthropists: Amy Rao And Tsitsi Masiyiwa2016060420160605 (WS)
20160606 (WS)
20160612 (WS)

Kim Chakanetsa travels to the Global Philanthropy Forum conference in California to speak to two philanthropists and finds out why they give so much money away.

Amy Rao grew her Silicon Valley tech company, Integrated Systems Archive, during the dotcom bubble of the 1990s and says she started giving large amounts of money to causes close to her heart as soon as she launched the business. Amy grew up in a household where helping others and entrepreneurship were a priority, even when they were broke her parents still helped those less fortunate in the community. Today, Amy's philanthropy is focussed on human rights and the environment and she is the chair of the Human Rights Watch Voices for Justice events in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and is on the board of the Schmidt Family Foundation, as well as being the president of the 11th Hour Project.

It took determination and defiance for Tsitsi Masiyiwa and her husband Strive Masiyiwa to build their telecoms empire following a lengthy legal battle with the Zimbabwean government who had a monopoly. Tsitsi also grew up in a community where helping others was important. She says as soon as she realised they might make money with their company, Econet, she committed to giving some of it away because "you can only sleep in one bed, drive one car and have one home". Today Tsitsi is the co-founder and co-chair of the Higherlife Foundation, which has sent tens of thousands of children to school and university in southern Africa.

(Photo: From left, Amy Rao, Kim Chakanetsa and Tsitsi Masiyiwa. Credit: Noah Stout of Stout Film)

Do women make better philanthropists and what motivates them to give cash away?

Photographers: Farzana Wahidy And Xyza Bacani20160215

Two women who use photography to expose hidden lives in Afghanistan and Hong Kong

Farzana Wahidy grew up under the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan and as a young girl was banned from studying. Encouraged by her father she attended an underground school, and even set up her own at the age of 14. She later became the first Afghan female photographer to work for international press agencies AFP and AP. Farzana's photos range from street violence to leisurely meals and festivities, from scenes of war brutality to veiled moments of happiness. One of her unique techniques is shooting photos from behind a burkha.

Xyza Bacani's black and white photographs uncover the hidden world of domestic workers and victims of human trafficking. She can relate to their plight very well. Originally from the Philippines, she later moved to Hong Kong where together with her mother she looked after six children. Through her poignant images she wants to bring the lives of domestic workers to light. Xyza's work has been published in Vogue Italia and she's now showcasing her first solo exhibition in Manila.

(L) Farzana Wahidy. Credit: Meg Prudhomme.

(R) Xyza Bacani. Credit: Jan Gonzales.

Plastic Surgeons: Dr Prisca Hwang And Dr Lina Triana20160118

The plastic surgeons who put patients under the knife in South Korea and Colombia

Dr Lina Triana is one of Colombia's top plastic surgeons and was the first woman to become president of the country's Plastic Surgery Association. Lina's father is a plastic surgeon and at first he tried to dissuade his daughter from following in his footsteps, saying this wasn't the right job for a woman to do as it doesn't allow for being a good wife and mother. But Lina proved him wrong and now works alongside her father's clinic doing aesthetic procedures including body contouring, breast augmentations and facelifts.

Dr Prisca Hwang works for the Korea University Ansan Hospital in Seoul. Like Lina she does aesthetic surgery, which is big business in her city, but also performs reconstructive surgery. This might include working on cancer patients, car crash victims and congenital deformities. Prisca says she makes it clear to patients who want cosmetic surgery that a nose job won't change their lives, and that it's important that she spots any underlying psychological issues.

Photos: (L) Dr Prisca Hwang and (R) Dr Lina Triana

Poets: Imtiaz Dharker And Phillippa Yaa De Villiers2016040420160410 (WS)

South African and British Asian poets translate tough life experiences into their work

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers is an award winning South African writer and performance artist. Phillippa, who is mixed race, was adopted as a baby by a white couple but did not learn of her adoption until she became involved in anti-apartheid politics whilst attending University. Negotiating this newfound racial identity has informed much of her writing. She discusses her inspirations and the journey to becoming a writer, why she found it hard to initially call herself a poet and how South Africa is a country blossoming with poetry.

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and film maker. Born in Pakistan, Imtiaz was brought up in Scotland before she eloped to India aged 20, becoming estranged from her family. She feels that it is important that poets don't get too comfortable in any one place and describes forging her life in 'the cracks in-between'. Imtiaz picks up words that inspire her poetry from her surroundings, sometimes overheard, she jots these down on a paper napkin or whatever is to hand. She now lives in the UK and in 2014 she was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Her advice to aspiring poets is to read a lot and find your own voice.

Image credit

(l) Imtiaz Dharker (Melanie Brown/BBC) and (r) Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Police: Al Beli Afifa And Rebekah Jones20160307

Police officers on working undercover and tackling gender crime in Bangladesh and Grenada

Al Beli Afifa is an Additional Superintendent at Dhaka Metropolitan Police, the largest unit of the Bangladesh Police. Al Beli joined the police partly to serve the women in her community as she felt they were less able to access justice. She has specialised in combating crimes against women, in particular sexual violence. In 2013, Al Beli became the first woman in Asia to receive the International Association of Women Police Excellence in Performance Award.

Rebekah Jones is an Inspector with the Royal Grenada Police Force. Since joining the force in 1997 Rebekah has been involved in a wide range of operations including a lengthy investigation that required her to go undercover to bring down a group involved in financial crime. She specialises in tackling domestic violence, a crime she says is prevalent but still too little understood in Grenada. In 2014, Rebekah received a scholarship from the International Association of Women Police.

Private Detectives: Maureen Nzioki And Akriti Khatri20151214

Maureen Nzioki is a private investigator based in Nairobi in Kenya, a country where this industry is well established. She says she never feels guilty for trailing a suspected cheating spouse, because she is only following instructions from their husband or wife, whose trust they have broken. Although Maureen loves her job, it has made her cynical about relationships, and she now finds it hard to trust any potential partner.

Akriti Khatri runs her own private detective firm in Delhi, and after a decade in the business puts her success down to a combination of confidence, chattiness and patience. Critics say agencies like Akriti's are unregulated, employ illegal surveillance techniques and routinely invade people's privacy, but she says she is providing a useful service, preventing bad marriages from ever taking place, and catching cheats in love and business.

(Picture: Private Detectives Maureen Nzioki (Left) and Akriti Khatri (Right))

Going undercover with female private investigators in India and Kenya.

Professional Gamblers: Cat Hulbert And Celina Lin2016051620160522 (WS)

'The best female gambler on earth' and 'China's Queen of Poker' reveal their secrets

Cat Hulbert started gambling for a living 40 years ago. A blackjack player in her 20s, she became so skilled at winning money from casinos, she was soon very unpopular with them all around the US! Cat took up poker in the 1980s and was one of the first women to break into the ranks of professional card players. The Game Show Network called her "the best female gambler on earth." Now retired, Cat says she is not sure that she would legalise gambling in a state that did not have it - as it can ruin so many lives.

Celina Lin, who has been described as 'China's Queen of Poker', was born in Shanghai and moved to Australia as a child. Always a gaming enthusiast, she got into poker by accident, but quickly became a skilled online player and has been employed by the company PokerStars for the last eight years. She is now based back in China, playing high-level poker tournaments in the casino city of Macau. Celina has won the prestigious Red Dragon cup twice, and views poker not as a game but as an extremely demanding mind sport.

(Photo: Cat Hulbert (left) and Celina Lin (right)

Reality Stars: Karen Igho Rakos And Alexandra Zazzi20151221

Reality stars from Nigeria and Sweden on being locked in a house and stuck on an island

Karen Igho Rakos was joint winner of Big Brother Africa in 2011, and was the first Nigerian woman to win the competition. The reality star claims she was "one of the most hated" people on the planet when she entered the house because of her bold personality, but says viewers fell in love with her "good heart". Karen won $200,000, but reveals that dealing with fame has been tough.

Alexandra Zazzi hit the reality TV scene when the concept was still in its infancy. She won Sweden's Expedition Robinson, also known as Survivor in 1998, winning $17,000. Alexandra says that back then no one knew the power of this type of television, and that it could catapult contestants to instant fame; for her it was about the challenge of living on a desert island and having to find her own food and shelter.

(L) Karen Igho Rakos. Credit: JD Barnes.

(R) Alexandra Zazzi. Credit: Peter Jademyr.

Running Hotels: Hasmik Asatrian And Yin Myo Su20160314

Two women running hotels in remote locations in Armenia and Myanmar

Hasmik Asatrian runs the Basen Hotel in Sisian. The business was owned by her husband's family, but Hasmik took over the management and day-to-day running in 2010. She transformed a rundown, Soviet-style complex with communal bathrooms and a leaky roof into a modern hotel that attracts tour groups and independent travellers who come to Armenia to discover the country's ancient history and culture. Hasmik's success won her Armenia's Young Businesswoman of the Year award in 2013.

Yin Myo Su runs the Inle Princess hotel, located on the shore of Inle Lake, in Myanmar. Su was raised in the hotel industry and says she was trained to work in it from an early age - her earliest memories are being taught how to cook, clean and entertain the guests. She says her strangest request was when a guest asked for his wife to be woken up by a flock of ducks quacking outside her window. Su won the Goldman Sachs and Fortune Global Women Leaders Award in 2013.

Left: Hasmik Asatrian / photo credit Sirun Snetcunc

Right: Yin Myo Su / photo credit Moethida Aye

Snake Rescuers: Dr Madhurita Gupta And Julia Baker20160229

Two women whose world revolves around snakes as they rescue them in India and Australia

Dr Madhurita Gupta grew up in a research institute in Rajasthan. Her father was a scientist and she was exposed to different species of wildlife from an early age. She held her first snake, a sand boa, aged 15 and describes the experience as 'divine'. She says she still gets goose bumps when she holds one of the reptiles because of excitement, not fear. Madhurita is now the chief vet at an animal clinic in Mumbai and runs a snake rescue service. She says she can get up to 10 calls a day, but only goes out to relocate a snake if it is inside someone's property.

Julia Baker grew up in England and Germany before settling in Australia in her 20s. She started her career as a five-star pastry chef, but a life-changing experience led Julia to follow her passions and become a snake catcher. Julia has her own reality TV show called Snake Boss, or Snake Sheila, which follows her as she rescues snakes from people's properties and relocates them in the bush nearby. According to Julia fear is the biggest threat to snakes, as it can quickly turn to hatred and lead to people mistreating them, so she does what she can to educate people about the reptiles.

(Photo: Dr Madhurita Gupta (L), Julia Baker (R) Credit: Deb Nash)

Space Scientists20161212

Two women who reach for the stars, the planets, and the comets.

Space Scientists from the UAE and the UK discuss the missions they're involved in and what they mean to them.

Sarah Amiri is the lead scientist for the UAE's Mars Mission. Their plan is to send an unmanned spacecraft, the 'Hope', to reach Mars in 2021, where it will provide unprecedented data on the Martian climate, and also send a message to the youth of the region that there are paths available to them in science, rather than radicalism. Sarah says the people working on the Hope mission are all under 35, and 34% of them are women.

Monica Grady is a prominent British space scientist, known for her work on Beagle 2 and the international Rosetta mission, which aimed to find out where life on Earth came from. In 2014, when the robot probe Philae successfully landed on a comet, a video of Monica's hugely excited reaction went viral on the internet. She says it's no wonder she was so happy - this mission had been part of her life for 30 years.

Image: (LHS) Sarah Amiri and (RHS) Monica Grady

Credit: n/a

Speech Writer To The President20161128

Sarada Peri and Garentina Kraja on being a wordsmith to their country's leader

Two women who get inside Presidents' heads, tell Kim Chakanetsa how they turn their bosses' thoughts and ideas into powerful oratory.

Sarada Peri is Special Assistant and Senior Speechwriter to President Obama. She says a good speech writer is like a ghost, and that her job is really to inhabit the President's mind on any given topic. For her, the goal isn't to emulate what he sounds like, it's to understand how he thinks. This is then represented on the page or teleprompter; with Sarada ever conscious that a single line from any one of his speeches could be lifted out of context and tweeted around the world in seconds.

When the first female President of the Republic of Kosovo came into office in 2011, it was Garentina Kraja who she turned to for her speech writing prowess, as well as her policy expertise. Together Garentina and President Jahjaga wrote a speech about the women who were raped in Kosovo during the war, and who felt they'd been ignored and forgotten since. It helped to change the whole national conversation on the subject. Garentina passionately believes in the power of words and story-telling to persuade hearts and minds.

Image: (LHS) Sarada Peri speechwriter to President Obama and (RHS) Garentina Kraja speechwriter to the former President of the Republic of Kosovo

Credit: N/A

Squash Stars: Maria Toorpakai And Nicol David2016041820160424 (WS)

Pioneering squash players from Pakistan and Malaysia swap notes

Maria Toorpakai grew up in the traditional tribal region of Waziristan, and from an early age decided she would rather play with the boys than stay inside with the girls. So she burned her 'girly' clothes and cut her hair short so she could run and jump and wrestle outside. When her family moved to Peshawar Maria picked up a squash racket for the first time, and by the age of 16 was Pakistan's number one player. Her success led to death threats however, and she was forced into hiding and playing only in her bedroom. Maria now lives and trains in Canada. Her book A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid From the Taliban in Plain Sight (with Katharine Holstein) is out now.

Malaysia's Nicol David has dominated women's squash since 2005. She was the World No 1 woman player for an unprecedented 9 years. Nicol says her greatest win was her first world title when she was 22 in Hong Kong, which came as a complete surprise. She started playing squash with her sisters to work out her hyperactivity, and quickly became a junior champion. She says squash is like 'physical chess' - you are always thinking ahead by two or three moves.

Standing Up To Bullying: Zainab Chughtai And Lauren Paul2016091920160925 (WS)

Two women trying to stop girls being bullied in the US and Pakistan.

Kim Chakanetsa meets two women who are taking on the challenge of combating bullying in Pakistan and the US.

Zainab Chughtai says the bullying she endured as a young girl inspired her to go into schools to try and stop other school children experiencing what she did. The emotional impact was so severe on Zainab, she says it's affected her personal relationships as an adult. Her campaign, Bully Proof, travels across Pakistan providing workshops to school children which create a safe space for them to open up about bullying - whether they are the victim, or the perpetrator.

Lauren Paul was the target of bullying by a group of girls at school in California. It was so traumatic it led to depression, an eating disorder and even an attempt to take her own life. She says every single woman can recall a moment when their relationship with other girls had a negative effect on them. This is why she co-founded 'Kind Campaign', an organisation which goes into schools across the US working with girls of all ages in the hopes of spreading a positive message, and stamping out girl-against-girl bullying.

(Photo: Left to right, Zainab Chughtai. Credit: Hamza Bajwa. Lauren Paul. Credit: Brandon Kidd)

Surfers: Cori Schumacher And Ishita Malaviya20151109

India's first female professional surfer talks to former world champion Cori Schumacher

Cori Schumacher was surfing before she was born - her mother, also a professional surfer, carried on surfing while she was pregnant. Cori got her first board when she was five and was competing by eight. She quickly came to love the sport and her dedication led her to become a three-time world champion. However, she came to have reservations about aspects of surf culture and the pressure placed on female athletes to be attractive and thin. She now campaigns to raise the status of women's surfing and to make surf culture more inclusive.

Ishita Malaviya grew up in Mumbai where there was very little surf culture. Many Indians, she says, have a fear of the sea. Ishita first learnt to surf at university. She and her boyfriend saved up to buy a second-hand board which they shared - one of them would practise in the waves while the other cheered from the beach. Now Ishita has been recognised as India's first female professional surfer. She runs a school where she 'spreads the stoke of surfing' to other Indians.

(Photo: (Left) Cori Schumacher. Credit: Maria Cerda. (Right) Ishita Malaviya. Credit: The Shaka Surf Club)

Surviving An Economic Crisis: Iliana Fokianaki And Bettina Rosenqvist2015090720150912 (WS)

Two women from Greece and Venezuela swap stories of living through a financial meltdown

Iliana Fokianaki is from Athens and is an art curator, critic and journalist. She also runs a non-profit contemporary art gallery which opened its doors in the Greek capital last year. Iliana describes seeing people rummaging through bins on a daily basis, which didn't happen before the crisis. She is in her mid-thirties and reveals that even though she would like to have a child, she can't because she can't afford to.

Bettina Rosenqvist is from Caracas and recently opened a new juice bar despite the financial situation. She says that queuing for hours at the supermarket for essential products and dealing with constant price rises has become the norm. Bettina won't visit the cinema anymore as she's scared to sit in dark places because she feels muggings have increased in the Venezuelan capital as people get more desperate.

Taxi Drivers: Iris Javed And Karin Holmstr„∂m20151116

'You can never tell what type of person is getting into your car' says Iris Javed who has been driving a taxi in New York City for over twenty-two years, 'and once they're in your car you have to deal with it'. Iris, who drove an 18-wheel truck before scaling down to a taxi, has had her fair share of drunk and troublesome passengers - and even one who got into her car completely naked.

Karin Holmström has been driving a taxi in Stockholm for twenty years. She says driving is only a tiny part of the job - 'you more or less have to be a mother, a priest and a psychologist'. She's doled out relationship advice and consoled the lonely and although she welcomes all kinds of passengers, Karin has one hard and fast rule about fast food - 'they will never eat hamburgers and hotdogs in my car. I'm not a restaurant!'

(Picture: Iris Javed (Left) and Karin Holmström (Right - Credit: Stockholm Taxis)

Taxi drivers discuss life behind the wheel in New York and Stockholm

The Conversation Goes To School In South Africa2015102420151025 (WS)

To celebrate the programme's first birthday, Kim Chakanetsa is at Parktown High School for Girls in Johannesburg, bringing 22 students who are in their final year and about to set out into the world, together with two dynamic southern African women who share a passion for connecting people through technology.

Khosi Zwane-Siguqa is Head of Content for the communications app WeChat Africa. She dropped out of a law degree to become a community journalist, a move her father was not happy about - but she says she has made him proud by going on to have a stellar career, becoming the youngest ever editor of South Africa's iconic Drum magazine. Her move into tech came recently, and she is now using her story-telling skills to create engaging and relevant content for one of Africa's newest digital platforms. She says her approach to content is all about community, and she is passionate about finding African solutions to African problems through technology.

Emma Kaye is founder and CEO of Bozza, an online platform that links local artists and musicians with a global audience, and enables communities to tell their stories from the inside out. A serial entrepreneur, Emma says she and risk have always been good friends - she jumps in, and only does the things she loves. After trail-blazing in South African films and animation, she realised that the next big screen in Africa was going to be the mobile phone, so went into developing apps and content. Frustrated by how few story-tellers were getting exposure, she did something about it, and her platform is now helping 10,000 artists across Africa to be their own boss.

The girls about to finish high school share their hopes and ideas for their futures, ask searching questions and seek advice from Khosi and Emma, on how to grow their confidence and achieve their dreams.

Picture: Kim Chakanetsa with Emma Kaye, Khosi Zwane-Siguqa and pupils at Parktown High School for Girls, Johannesburg, South Africa

On the programme's first birthday, Kim and guests visit a girls' school in Johannesburg

The Conversation Goes To School In South Africa20151026

To celebrate the programme's first birthday, Kim Chakanetsa is at Parktown High School for Girls in Johannesburg, bringing 22 students who are in their final year and about to set out into the world, together with two dynamic southern African women who share a passion for connecting people through technology.

Khosi Zwane-Siguqa is Head of Content for the communications app WeChat Africa. She dropped out of a law degree to become a community journalist, a move her father was not happy about - but she says she has made him proud by going on to have a stellar career, becoming the youngest ever editor of South Africa's iconic Drum magazine. Her move into tech came recently, and she is now using her story-telling skills to create engaging and relevant content for one of Africa's newest digital platforms. She says her approach to content is all about community, and she is passionate about finding African solutions to African problems through technology.

Emma Kaye is founder and CEO of Bozza, an online platform that links local artists and musicians with a global audience, and enables communities to tell their stories from the inside out. A serial entrepreneur, Emma says she and risk have always been good friends - she jumps in, and only does the things she loves. After trail-blazing in South African films and animation, she realised that the next big screen in Africa was going to be the mobile phone, so went into developing apps and content. Frustrated by how few story-tellers were getting exposure, she did something about it, and her platform is now helping 10,000 artists across Africa to be their own boss.

The girls about to finish high school share their hopes and ideas for their futures, ask searching questions and seek advice from Khosi and Emma, on how to grow their confidence and achieve their dreams.

Picture: Kim Chakanetsa and guests with South African school girls

On the programme's first birthday, Kim and guests visit a girls' school in Johannesburg

The Djs - Tatiana Alvarez And Lea Barrett2016072520160731 (WS)

Presenter Gemma Cairney gets behind the decks with two female DJs who get dance floors pumping in America and South Africa.

DJ Lady Lea got hooked on house music and the Cape Town dance scene as a teenager in the early 1990s. She started taking her record box to clubs and playing early morning sets. Now rated as one of South Africa's top female DJs, Lea plays electro, funky, deep, tech, minimal and progressive house. She started an all-women DJ agency called Divas on Decks, which promotes up and coming talent and dishes out essential advice for being a success in this industry.

DJ Tatiana Alvarez was obsessed with making mix tapes and cutting tracks growing up near Los Angeles. But her DJ career got off to a rocky start when her agent said he could not promote her to the serious underground clubs she wanted to play in, because she is a woman. So with the help of a make-up artist friend, some shoulder pads and breast tape Tatiana decided to pose as a man for a year to see if she could get bookings. The promoters loved her music.

(Photo: DJs Lea Barrett (left) and Tatiana Alvarez (right). Credit Robert John Kley)

Female DJs filling dance floors and mixing it up in America and South Africa

The Magicians: Ekaterina Dobrokhotova And Adeline Ng2016080120160807 (WS)

Two magicians from Singapore and Canada talk card tricks and dazzling sleight of hand

Ekaterina Dobrokhotova was born in Moscow, and moved to Quebec when she was eight. She learnt magic as a teenager via the internet, practised every day for hours, and soon began to perform in public. Ekaterina is now the most watched female magician on YouTube. She specialises in the art of card manipulation, and believes the true secret of magic is not how good you are, but about how you make people feel.

Adeline Ng is the only practising female magician in Singapore. She incorporates elements of her Chinese culture into her illusion stage show, which she has performed across Asia and Australia. When she started out, she struggled to get respect from the male theatre technicians, so took courses in sound and lighting and now feels more confident to say what she wants.

(Photo: Ekaterina Dobrokhotova (L), with permission from E. Dobrokhotova. (R) Adeline Ng. Credit: Arron Teo)

The Scientists At The Crick2016101720161023 (WS)

Is the future of science female? Lab leaders and aspiring scientists discuss

When you are involved in the race to shed light on some of our biggest scientific questions, does your gender matter? Kim Chakanetsa brings together two successful female life scientists at the new world-leading Crick Institute in London. They are both leading ground-breaking research in their respective fields, and are joined by young women from Camden School for Girls who are considering a career in science.

Dr Vivian Li grew up in Hong Kong and completed her PhD there, and says it was only when she went on to conduct research in Europe that she noticed any gender divide in science. She found that male colleagues did not take her expertise seriously as a young woman, and so she had to work twice as hard to prove herself. Vivian now leads a molecular biotechnology research team, and is pioneering a technique to create human intestines in the lab, to then transplant back into patients. She says she used to work seven days a week, but since having a family she has learnt to prioritise her work differently and get her weekends back.

British virologist Dr Kate Bishop's research focuses on HIV and other retro-viruses, and she hopes her work could contribute to stopping HIV in its tracks at an earlier stage. Kate was the first in her family to go to university, and says she was always encouraged by her parents, who never put boundaries on her ambition. Leading a research group means she is less likely to be sitting at the bench conducting an experiment herself, but she now gets the satisfaction of passing her knowledge on to the next generation of scientists.

(Photo: The Conversation team and guests at The Crick Institute, London)

Truckers: Elin Engstrom And Heather Jones2016082920160904 (WS)

Women who make a living driving tankers and 50 metre super trucks in Australia and Sweden

Kim Chakanetsa gets into the driving seat with two female truckers from Sweden and Australia.

Elin Engstrom test drives heavy haulage trucks for Swedish transport company Scania. The 26

-year-old has been in the business for six years and started out operating forklift vehicles, which had to be loaded manually. When she saw that the big trucks had rollers she realised that was the job for her. Elin has driven oil tankers and double trailers and describes driving as an art form. Despite the snow storms, and high winds in winter, she says you get a sense of freedom when you are sitting in your cabin high above the other cars on the road.

Heather Jones is from western Australia and runs Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, which trains women to handle big trucks. She has worked in this industry for 25 years and got into it because as a single parent she needed a job where she could take her two little girls along with her. She describes the trucking industry in Australia like a big family, but even though it is welcoming, Heather says women have to work 200% to prove themselves. She can drive up to 17 hours per day, in trucks that are up to 60 metres. In summer it can reach 55 degrees and Heather says melting tarmac can be tough to deal with.

(Photo: Elin Engstrom (L) and Heather Jones)

Vets: Dr Gladys Kalema-zikusoka And Dr Nalinika Obeyesekere2016062020160626 (WS)

Leading vets in Uganda and Sri Lanka talk about their love for the profession

Kim Chakanetsa brings together leading women vets from Uganda and Sri Lanka to talk about their careers and their trickiest challenges.

As a new vet graduate, Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka was made chief veterinary officer of the Ugandan Wildlife Service. She set about restocking her country's national parks with giraffes and lions following years of civil war, but it was the endangered mountain gorillas that really captured Gladys' heart. She now leads her own charity Conservation Through Public Health, which looks after both the health of the gorillas and the people who live near them, who are crucial to their survival.

Sri Lankan vet Dr Nalinika Obeyesekere prefers to treat smaller creatures such as cats and dogs. Nalinika grew up looking after her parents' adopted animals, everything from fish to a leopard cub! But she soon decided that working with wildlife was not for her, and instead started up her country's first multi-doctor veterinary practice. Nalinika is passionate about improving training and education around animal care, and she uses a portion of her profits to provide free treatment for Colombo's huge stray dog population.

(Photo: (L) Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. (R) Dr Nalinika Obeyesekere)

Wedding Planners: Vithika Agarwal And Gloria Buckman Yankson20160201

Vithika Agarwal runs a successful wedding planning business in Bangalore. Weddings in India are big business and are heavily influenced by Bollywood, so it is Vithika's job to make sure couples feel like film stars for their celebrations. She says she is never phased by unusual requests and has seen grooms arriving in helicopters and brides jumping out of books.

Ghanaian couples from all kinds of backgrounds choose Gloria Buckman Yankson to plan their weddings. She says the celebrations traditionally start with the engagement and continue to the reception. Gloria, who has made her name as one of Ghana's leading entrepreneurs and business women, says keeping your cool is essential in this job and reveals what happens when things don't quite go according to plan.

(Photo: (L) Vithika Agarwal. (R) Gloria Buckman Yankson. Credit: Ekow Arkorful)

How to organise a memorable wedding and avoid a disaster in India and Ghana

Women At Sea: Zimasa Mabela And Jasmin Labarda2016082220160828 (WS)

Two women in charge of ships in South Africa and the Philippines discuss life at sea.

Kim Chakanetsa finds out what it's like to run a ship in South Africa and the Philippines.

Zimasa Mabela is the first African woman to command a navy vessel. Commander Mabela is in charge of a de-mining ship based in Cape Town, South Africa. She grew up two hours from the sea, but only saw it for the first time aged 18. A few years later she felt compelled to join the navy so she could see the world. Zimasa was recruited as a radio operator and has travelled around the world to countries like India, Canada and Uruguay. She says she's very happy to have shown that a woman can not only join the navy, but that she can end up in charge.

Jasmin Labarda is the first woman, and Filipino, to become the Chief Mate and a senior Dynamic Positioning officer of an offshore ship. She is currently navigating Technip's flagship vessel, the Deep Blue, which lays pipe along the ocean floor. Having first served on a tanker vessel at the age of 17, Jasmin worked her way up the ranks and in 2010 passed the Master Mariner's exam, which means that she is a licensed ship's captain. Jasmin is looking forward to the time when she finally can take up that sought-after Captain's position.


Left: Zimasa Mabela (Credit: South African Navy)

Right: Jasmin Labarda (Credit: Alecs Ongcal/Rappler taken in IMOSTI)

Women's Fiction: Cathy Bramley And Cheryl Ntumy2016050220160508 (WS)

Cathy Bramley is the UK author of best-selling romantic comedies such as Appleby Farm and The Plumberry School Of Comfort Food. Cathy has spent most of her working life in marketing, however reading has always been a passion of hers, and she says one particular book inspired her to take up writing herself. Four years ago she went for it and self-published her first novel. She was then taken on by a publisher and was able to give up her day job to write full-time in 2014.

Cheryl Ntumy has written 11 books, including romance novels for a South African audience and young adult fiction. She grew up surrounded by books and has been writing stories since she was very young. Originally from Ghana, Cheryl now lives in Botswana and her characters often reflect her feelings and experiences of being an outsider. She says writing isn't really taken seriously as a career in Botswana, so it has been a challenge to keep going at times.

Photo credit: (L) Cathy Bramley and (R) Cheryl Ntumy

Authors share their tips on creating feel-good fiction