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Women With Balls
25 minutes | Jul 22, 2022
Anatomy of a downfall: with Victoria Atkins
Until July 6, Victoria Atkins was the Minister of State for Refugees and Minister of State for Prisons and Probation. But as dozens of her colleagues quit in the wake of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid's resignations (which themselves followed No. 10's messy handling of the Chris Pincher affair), Atkins resigned too, writing that 'values such as integrity, decency, respect and professionalism' have ‘fractured’ under Boris Johnson's leadership. On this episode of Women With Balls, Katy Balls hits the rewind button with Atkins, taking us through the turbulent events of those few days. They discuss what it's like to resign from government while on a school run; unforced errors from No. 10 itself; and whether the Conservative party can properly heal after this divisive time. Produced by Cindy Yu.
33 minutes | Jul 1, 2022
The Anne-Marie Trevelyan Edition
Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the Secretary of State for International Trade and the MP for Berwick-Upon-Tweed. In the episode, she tells Katy about what it was like to join the City in the 90s, what she calls 'the mysterious management by the civil service of its ministers' and what she makes of the rumours that she could be sacked in an upcoming reshuffle.
32 minutes | Jun 17, 2022
Time to break the menopause taboo
Women of menopausal age make up a tenth of the UK workforce (and a quarter of all working women). The symptoms of menopause can make work much harder, they include both physical and mental, from hot flushes and brain fog to insomnia. But at a time when many may be reaching the peak of their career, these symptoms can halt years of career progression. What’s more, the condition is stigmatised and little discussed. Steps are being made to break this stigma. This year MPs introduced the first private member's bill on menopause and the government established a menopause task force. Employers are becoming ever more aware of things they could do to help these millions of women. What are the next steps? To discuss this, Katy Balls is joined by Conservative MP Maria Caulfield, who’s also the minister for women’s health and co-chairs the government’s menopause taskforce; Jacqui Smith, a broadcaster and Home Secretary under Gordon Brown. She is also currently the chair of two NHS trusts. Finally, Michelle Blayney, chief culture and talent officer at Lloyds Banking Group. This podcast is kindly sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group.
32 minutes | Jun 10, 2022
The Julie Bindel Edition
Julie Bindel is a radical feminist, journalist and activist. Leaving home at 15, she moved to Leeds in search of – in her own words - 'scary-sounding feminists'. Quickly she found her passions lay in fighting against prostitution, pornography and violence against women. She founded Justice for Women, a feminist campaigning organisation that supports, and advocates on behalf of, women who have fought back against or killed violent men. On the podcast, Julie speaks about growing up in the North-East of England, her fight in the gender ideology debate and shares her thoughts on Pretty Woman. To read more on Julie Bindel visit her Substack page here.
39 minutes | May 27, 2022
The Frances Haugen Edition
Frances Haugen is an American data scientist, most well known for her whistleblowing of Facebook's failures at controlling misinformation. Her insider knowledge allowed the Wall Street Journal to publish a series of exposés about the social media platform, which became known as 'The Facebook Files'. She has testified before the US Congress, the European Parliament and the British Parliament on online safety and Silicon Valley. On this episode, she talks to Katy about first experiencing sexism in tech when she joined Google at her first job; the shocking reality of how Facebook's algorithm worsens civil strife across the world; and what she wants to see changed from the British government's Online Safety Bill, which Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries recently joined the series to talk about. Produced by Natasha Feroze and Cindy Yu.
39 minutes | May 13, 2022
The Kemi Badenoch Edition
Kemi Badenoch is the MP for Saffron Walden and a minister in Michael Gove’s Levelling Up department. On entering parliament in 2017, Kemi was quickly pegged as one of the Conservative Party’s rising stars and an example of what she calls the “British Dream”, going from immigrant to parliamentarian in the space of one generation. After a career as a software engineer, she made her move into politics as a Conservative member of the London Assembly. Then beat Theresa May’s own special advisor to the ballot of Saffron Walden. On the podcast, Kemi talks about her childhood in Nigeria and the golden ticket that was her UK passport, hacking Harriet Harman and how her conservative views were formed.
46 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
The Nadine Dorries Edition
Nadine Dorries is the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sports and MP for Mid Bedfordshire. After leaving school at 16, Dorries went on to become a nurse and an entrepreneur before entering politics at the age of 49. She was a minister in the Department of Health during the pandemic, and in her current role is leading five bills at DCMS through Parliament, including the controversial Online Safety Bill. On the podcast, she talks to Katy Balls about her plans for the BBC and Channel 4, why she believes much of the criticism against her comes from those unable to accept her background, and where her red line would be in sticking up for Boris Johnson, as one of his most loyal allies.
34 minutes | Apr 22, 2022
Generation spent: can renters be better protected?
The cost of living is rising, as is the cost of renting. Zoopla estimates that rents are rising at the fastest rate in 14 years, which means that the average rent in the UK is now over £1000 a month. This is partly a pandemic effect, especially in London as people return to offices. But Covid has also shaken people’s financial security - the Citizens Advice Bureau found that more than one in three renters felt insecure about their ability to stay in their tenancy during the pandemic. And women were disproportionately impacted - during the pandemic, mothers were more likely to be put on furlough or even lose their jobs. Rising prices are not the only problem with the UK’s private rentals market - slow or unethical landlords, unsafe properties or short term tenancies are all problems faced by renters. What more can be done for the almost five million private renters in the UK? Katy Balls, The Spectator's deputy political editor is joined by Nickie Aiken, the Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster; Karen Buck, the Labour MP for Westminster North, who is also the vice-chair for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the private rental sector; and Esther Dijkstra, managing director of Intermediaries at Lloyds Banking Group, who are kindly sponsoring this podcast.
36 minutes | Apr 8, 2022
The Arlene Foster Edition
Arlene Foster is the former first minister of Northern Ireland and was leader of the Democratic Unionist Party from 2015 to 2021. She was the first woman to hold either position. Arlene moved into politics after joining the Ulster Unionist Party as a Law student at Queen’s University Belfast. Having grown up in conflict during the Troubles, she remembers an attempted murder of her father by the IRA. During her long career in politics, Arlene has consistently fought for the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. She resigned from her positions in politics to become a broadcaster and campaigner where she host a weekly show on GB News. During the podcast, Arelene reflects on her long career in politics, the Brexit negotiations as part of Theresa May's coalition government and Article 16.
48 minutes | Mar 25, 2022
The Anji Hunter Edition
Anji Hunter is the former gatekeeper to Tony Blair's Labour government. She was once described as the most influential non-elected person in Downing Street and became one of Blair's closest confidantes. Acting as an alliance broker, Anji worked across businesses and the media, including Murdoch's empire. After decades by Blair's side, Anji moved to the private sector to take up various roles across industries from BP to the Royal College of Engineering. As Boris Johnson welcomes the new Anji Hunter of 10 Downing Street, Samatha Cohen, Anji reflects on what it takes to do her former job – you've got to have balls.
37 minutes | Mar 11, 2022
The Suella Braverman Edition
Suella Braverman is the Conservative MP for Fareham and became the first female elected Attorney General in 2020. Formerly known as one of the Brext Spartans, she talks on the podcast, about growing up surrounded by politics where she first lay the foundations for a career as a Conservative politician. As a young woman, she studied law in Cambridge, the US and in Europe where she could excel as a linguist. Since taking her role as Attorney General, she made history by rewriting the law to become the first female Cabinet Minister to take maternity leave - named Gabriella's Law after her daughter who is now one year old.
28 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
Online fraud: how best to fight back?
During the pandemic, we spent more time online than ever before and this has seen a boom in online fraud. It's estimated that scam adverts have tricked 1 in 10 people on the biggest online platforms into paying for fake products. In 2020, almost 150,000 fraud cases were recorded with losses reported of up to £500 million. For the scammers, they will do anything to convince you to key in your card details and this problem has shown no sign of slowing down. The online safety bill is expected to pass Parliament in March 2022. As things stand, the government hasn't included online fraud as a type of harm when it comes to certain adverts. So could the online safety bill be an effective solution? To discuss this, Katy Balls is joined by Nicky Morgan, former Culture Secretary and chair of the Treasury Select Committee. Now a member of the House of Lords, Nicky is chairing a new inquiry into digital fraud. Also on the podcast is Lucy Powell, the Shadow Culture Secretary for Labour and Liz Ziegler who is the retail bank fraud and financial crime director at Lloyds Banking Group. This podcast is kindy sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group.
44 minutes | Feb 25, 2022
The Fiona Hill Edition
Fiona Hill is the former director for European and Russian Affairs on the United States National Security Council. She has advised presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George Bush. In November 2019, she testified at Trump's first impeachment hearing. On the podcast, she tells Katy about growing up in the North East and moving the America, meeting Vladimir Putin, working in Trump's White House, and why getting a perm was such a bad idea.
26 minutes | Feb 11, 2022
The Carolyn Harris Edition
Carolyn Harris is a Welsh Labour Party politician serving as the Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour since 2018, and has been the Member of Parliament for Swansea East since 2015. On the podcast she talks to Katy about her three successful campaigns, menopause, and the time she accidentally turned on the No.10 Christmas lights.
30 minutes | Jan 28, 2022
The Emma Gormley Edition
Emma Gormley is managing director of daytime at ITV studios, where she controls flagship shows on the channel such as Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women. On the episode, she talks to Katy about what got her into broadcast journalism, the pressures of looking after some of the most popular shows on TV ('Having those four shows, which are juggernauts and are always in the press scrutiny, have A-lister talent... The role is everything'), and what it was like to work with Piers Morgan ('My ambition isn't to make vanilla television').
24 minutes | Jan 14, 2022
The Michelle Donelan Edition
Michelle Donelan was elected in 2015 as a Conservative MP for Chippenham. Since then, she has been re-elected twice and has risen in her political roles. Starting as a member of the education select committee and becoming a whip, to then being appointed a minister, first of children and families, and then in the latest cabinet reshuffle, becoming minister of state for higher and further education. On the episode, Michelle talks about how she had decided on a career in politics at the age of six, working for World Wrestling Entertainment, and what surprised her when she first entered politics.
36 minutes | Dec 31, 2021
The Camilla Tominey Edition
Camilla Tominey is known on both sides of the pond as one of the world's go-to Royal correspondents. She began her career in journalism at the Hemel Hempstead Gazette before moving to cover the Royals for the Daily Express and is now the associate editor at the Telegraph. On the episode, she talks to Katy about how studying law ended up inspiring her to get into journalism, the differences between coving politics and the Royal family and the perils of engaging on social media. 'I've been accused on the same day of being a far-right extremist and a socialist.'
30 minutes | Dec 17, 2021
The Tzipi Hotovely Edition
Tzipi Hotovely is the current Israeli Ambassador to the UK. She was formerly a politician in Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, having climbed the ranks to become deputy foreign minister. On the episode, she talks to Katy about her 2,500 strong wedding reception, campaigning for mother's rights in Israel and what modern-day anti-Semitism look like. They also discuss the time when she had to be escorted out of the LSE for her own safety, in the face of an aggressive student protest. She reflects: 'Think about it. Does it make sense? I’m the only foreign ambassador that needs to have such heavy protection when I go on campus. Aren’t campuses all about freedom of speech?'
27 minutes | Dec 3, 2021
The Bridget Phillipson Edition
Bridget Phillipson is the shadow education secretary and MP for Houghton and Sunderland South. On this episode, recorded just before Labour's last reshuffle where Bridget was promoted, she talks to Katy about what it was like to go to Oxford from a humble upbringing, how Labour can win the next election, and why she didn't take career advice from school telling her to be a fence-builder.
34 minutes | Nov 19, 2021
The Sarah Vine Edition
Sarah Vine is a columnist for the Daily Mail and formerly wife of Cabinet minister Michael Gove. On the podcast, Sarah talks to Katy about growing up in Italy, working her way up tabloid journalism (including what it was like to work for Paul Dacre), and her reflections on being a columnist with a politician (ex-)husband.
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