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The Politics of Motherhood, Big Night Out Reading, Women and environmental art.

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BBC Woman’s Hour
June 2nd, 2021

You may have visited Kew Gardens and seen the incredible gallery of botanical art created by Marianne North – she is one of several female artists being featured at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture Celebrations. The exhibition, called UnNatural History, explores not only the historical role of artists in the science of natural history – but also contemporary artists addressing the current climate crisis. But with so much focus on the environment how effective is art in grabbing the public’s attention? Alice Sharp is the founder of Invisible Dust who have curated the exhibition and Frances Disley is an artist who examines the medicinal properties of plants and healing power of nature.

Why, after decades of social progress is motherhood still so much harder than it needs to be? Why aren’t we honest about the realities of being a mother? These are just two of the themes explored in a trio of books about motherhood that have just been published. It’s not as if these questions haven’t been asked before. There is a rich vein of literature from Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex through to Adrienne Rich’s classic study Of Woman Born, Juliet Mitchell’s A Women’s Estate , Jane Lazarre’s The Mother Knot and many more. And many second wave feminists fought hard for the rights of mothers on both sides of the Atlantic. And yet very little, if any progress, has been made according to this new crop of authors. Elaine Glaser author of Motherhood: A Manifesto and Pragya Agarwal author of (M)otherhood: On the Choices of Being a Woman join Emma.

A few weeks ago as meeting up began to look possible again, we asked you to tell us about who you were desperate to see again and why. Last week we heard from Chris and her mates in Cardiff – this week listener Sally-Ann from Reading wanted to nominate ‘the girls’ – she’s had a tough year and not seeing them face to face has been hard. Our reporter Jo Morris spoke to Sally-Ann as she prepared to host a garden get-together and popped into one of their regular Zoom chats to eavesdrop on their banter and memories.

Boric acid is a white powder that can do everything from get stains out of your clothes, to stop your fridge smelling, to acting as a pesticide. But apparently there’s another use for this chemical remedy, and mentions of it have been popping up lately on social media threads and message boards: it can also be used as a treatment for chronic bacterial vaginosis. However, it is also being used for less serious vaginal infections. Dr Jen Gunter, American gynaecologist, obstetrician and author of the Vagina Bible says she has seen an increase in the use of boric acid vaginal pessaries among her patients over the past few years, paralleling an explosion of new over the counter boric acid products and heavy marketing from celebrities, influencers, naturopaths, and functional medicine providers. She explains her concerns

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