Takeko Nakano of the prominent Aiku clan was a fierce Onna-bugeisha and master of the deadly naginata. When the Boshin War saw the Shogun’s army square off against the Imperialists, Takeko knew where her duty lay. At just 21, with the Imperial Army at the gates, she led a rag-tag squad of lady warriors onto the battlefield, determined to sacrifice everything for the honour of her clan. Join us as we delve into the fray, but don’t forget to pen your death-poem first, and bring your kaikan dagger just in case …
In the frosty splendour of 18th century Moscow, the death of Peter the Great paves the way for family rivalries and political intrigue. Drawn into the fray is Anna, the impoverished and largely forgotten Duchess of Courland. As the noble men of court clamour to pull the strings, Anna makes her move, becoming Empress of all Russia on her own terms. While Anna’s ten-year reign bolstered advances in science and the arts she is mostly remembered for her excess, extravagance, and ruthless cruelty. Brace yourself as we sweep through the lavish rooms of the Winter Palace, and into the fiendish realities of Anna’s imagination. You are going to need a very warm coat…
In 1984 author Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale: the chilling dystopic story of Offred, a woman trying to survive in a world where women have been reduced to their procreative functions. Since its publication, the novel has been turned into a film, an opera, a ballet, and most recently into a Hulu television series. Join us as we pair up with Justin from Mayday: The Handmaid’s Tale Podcast to unpack just what it is about Atwood’s vision that seems so compelling, and so relevant, over thirty years later.
In the epic time of Norse mythology, the Völsunga Saga tells of love, betrayal, tragedy and blood feuds. At the heart of one family’s legend sits Guðrún Gjúkadóttir, wife to three kings, and a woman to whom vengeance necessitates a devastating sacrifice. Join us as we venture into a land of Valkyries and dragons, where a sorceress’s prophecy might foretell your doom, and you must always be wary of accepting ale!
Born to only ever be the King’s Great Wife, Hatshepsut defied history and, after the death of her Pharaoh husband, proclaimed herself King. A great builder, trader, and military leader, the history of Hatshepsut’s achievements was systematically erased, lost for thousands of years until archeologists began to piece together the truth about the woman who ruled as Pharaoh. Come with us as we travel through the mists of time to a land steeped in myth and legends to discover one of the ancient world’s greatest rulers.
Both born bastards, and disguised as boys in their youths, Anne Bonny and Mary Read shared more than just their love for the sea. Each left the British Isles for a life of piracy in the Caribbean where their fates intertwined. Infamy soon followed, as the pair gained a reputation as the most fearless and ferocious duo of the high seas. Come aboard as we follow the reckless adventures of these swashbuckling lady pirates!
Assigned female at birth, Eugenia Falleni led most of his life as Harry Crawford: a tough-talking, whiskey-drinking ladies man. In 1920 Harry was charged with the murder of his first wife, Annie Birkett, and his ‘duplicitous’ identity as Harry – then perceived a ‘sexual perversion’ – became Australia’s headline news. Join us as we trace Harry’s life, from shocking events aboard a merchant vessel on the high seas, to the working houses of Sydney, and wonder whether or not Harry’s fate could have been any different.
Josephine Baker broke from a life of poverty in St Louis to take jazz age Paris by storm. Riotous and erotic, Baker was adored for her uninhibited sensuality, unpredictability and wild humour. But she was also one of the most glamorous espionage spies of the French Resistance, and a passionate advocate of the Civil Rights Movement. Join us as we travel from St Louis to Paris, Berlin and Casablanca, chasing one of the twentieth century’s most dynamic women.
Cult hit stars, The Travelling Sisters, are physical, musical, and character comedy at its finest. From Queensland to France, Edinburgh to Hong Kong and everywhere in-between, their sassy and absurdist wit proves that funny women are a force to be reckoned with. Join us in our very exciting and very first guest episode, as we chat to Lucy, Laura, and Ell about the continuing misconceptions around women in comedy, and how to smack down anyone who tells you that ‘women aren’t funny’.
From the north west of England to the heaving metropolis of Mexico City, Leonora Carrington defied convention. A celebrated Surrealist painter and a deeply inventive writer, Carrington’s personal life was just as colourful as her art. Join us as we follow her escape from stuffy English society, Nazi occupied France, and the asylum, to the vibrant and fantastical worlds of her imagination.
The identity of Tituba, the Arawak slave at the centre of the Salem Witch Trials, has undergone a series of transformations in the centuries since the craze. From instigator to accused, innocent servant to dark and terrifying Obeah queen, Tituba’s legacy is one that doesn’t always reflect the woman that she was. Come with us to the dark New England forests, where witchcraft is rife and Tituba sits at the heart of its infamous mythology…
Witty, subversive, and unafraid to offend, author Angela Carter wrote fiction and non-fiction that dealt with sexuality and gender, and that often probed the boundaries of good taste. Join us as we open the book on some of Carter’s best known work and the women she writes.