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BBC '100 Women' Season Returns

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The BBC has confirmed that its '100 Women' season is to return for 2015. The season will air this autumn, and aims to highlight women's lives around the world.

First launched in 2013, 100 Women led the BBC's commitment to better represent women in its international news output. This year, the season will include a fortnight of debates, programmes, special reports and journalism, as well as revealing the list of 100 inspirational women for 2015.

Starting on 18 November, the 100 Women season will feature special reports, programmes and discussions running across BBC World News,, the 29 languages of BBC World Service, and network news.

The 100 Women list
Each year, the BBC names 100 women – a mix of influential women who are world leaders in politics, science and entertainment, as well as less well-known but inspirational women from all over the world. The list will include 30 female entrepreneurs under the age of 30, women over the age of 80 and nurses from frontline war zone care, to informal birth attendants. Many of these women will feature in interviews and debates throughout the two-week special, while six young women will create films to document how they respond to the expectations of their communities, and how they conform or rebel.

The 100 Women debates
On 1 December, the BBC will bring a series of debates together from around the world to discuss what it means to be a 'good girl' or an 'ideal woman' in different regions and cultures. The BBC will host a live debate in its London headquarters at Broadcasting House, asking questions such as, 'Are beautiful women more likely to succeed?', and 'What kind of women are more likely to become leaders?'

With more than 100 conversations happening across the globe, in more than eight languages, the BBC will live link to debates in other parts of the world to reflect many of those voices on a live page on, as well as World News and World Service Radio.

'Is News Failing Women?'
The BBC will hold a debate at its Radio Theatre to look at how media organisations around the world feature women in programmes – both on and off air – and how that impacts the stories covered. BBC World News presenter, Philippa Thomas, will host the debate which will feature high profile and international media personalities asking why female audiences are consistently failing to increase their engagement in any media, apart from social.

The 100 Women season
Complementing the 100 Women list and debates, the BBC will offer audiences special content across all of its platforms, including profiles of the 100 Women throughout the season. BBC World News and BBC World Service English will feature a 30-minute documentary from World Service Languages journalists, Nurses on the Front Line, which follows three nurses in Central African Republic, Gaza and Venezuela. On BBC World News, Rupa Jha from the BBC Hindi service fronts Women and Land, where she investigates a spate of farmer suicides in Maharashtra whose wives were left to take over responsibility of the farms, to Rajasthan where two sisters turned their land into an agri-business after inheriting it following their father's death.

Also on BBC World News, there will be a Health Check special on nursing and female health, and how issues, such as domestic violence in Russia and FGM in the Somali community in the UK, are being tackled.

BBC World Service will broadcast another Languages Service four-part series called Home, which will explore the experiences of first, second and third generation immigrant women from Britain's Jamaican, Bangladeshi, Polish and Nigerian communities. Each episode will feature conversations between older women who came to UK to create a new life for themselves, and younger women from their community.

Also on BBC World Service will be Young, Geeky and Black, a three-part series highlighting young black female computer coders in Memphis, Accra and Kampala who are challenging the technology industry's status quo. BBC World Service will also air Global Midwives, following midwives in a London hospital, where many of the midwives and the mothers they care for were born overseas. The programme will follow midwives as they prepare parents-to-be for birth in a country far from home.

Migrant Wives, a digital special on also from BBC Africa, will look into the women left behind in Burkina Faso, whose husbands have fled to Europe to look for a job. Also online will be Dictator's Daughters, where three women explain how they shed the legacy of their father and stepped out of the shadows.

How Equal Am I? is an online calculator, available on, which uses statistics from institutions such as WEF, OECD and the UN, to allow users to discover how their country and circumstances compare with others for gender equality.

Elsewhere, coverage on the BBC's Language services includes BBC Arabic specials on the 16-year-old Syrian girl being called the 'Malala of Syria' for her efforts to encourage refugee girls to go to school; the first female governor in Palestine; and the first woman in North Africa and the Middle East to serve as a coach for a men's football club in the region.

BBC Hindi coverage will include the story of an Indian woman who ran away to marry the man of her choice, but was then forced by her family to register a rape complaint against him. The coverage will also look at the increasing number of brides who are rejecting their arranged marriages, how 'house husbands' are changing the traditional view that housework is handled by women, how some of the women's issues initiatives being championed by men, and a piece on second or third daughters born to families in some regions of Maharashtra are not given a name, merely termed 'nakusha' meaning 'unwanted'.

BBC Urdu programming will include a piece on Pakistan's first and only women's Jirga (an assembly of leaders who make decisions in a rural community), and a look at the 'Girls at Dhabas' movement which is encouraging women to use public spaces.

Spanish language service BBC Mundo will look at female volunteers and nuns in Brazil, Honduras and Venezuela who regularly visit some of the most dangerous prisons in the world to offer a word, a book, a lesson or company.

The 100 Women season is produced and created by the BBC's 29 language services. Audiences can join the conversation on Twitter using #100women.

Fiona Crack, Editor of 100 Women season, said: "We are proud of 100 Women – over the last two years we've given more time and space on our platforms to stories and issues that affect women wherever they are in the world – as our audience told us they wanted. This year we'll be launching a Facebook and Instagram account and asking if women accept or reject pressures and expectations on them to be an 'ideal woman' or for our younger audience 'a good girl' – we want to hear their views on leadership image and relationships."


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