This month’s review is a podcast by Rachel Johnson entitled “Difficult Women”. A name inspired by Ken Clarke’s description of Theresa May as “being a bloody difficult woman”. In this podcast, the journalist, presenter, and writer speak to various influential and successful women in their industry.  Johnson discusses the title they have been as “being a difficult woman”? A term typically applied to women by men, or are they, in fact, just passionate and determined?   

The podcast style is very much interview/conversation with the added bonus that the women are able to answer the question. It is obvious some of the interviewees are friends with Johnson, or they socialise in the same circles.  The opening podcast is with Lady Brenda Hale, who in 2004 was the only woman appointed as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary. Then in 2017, she served as the President of the UK Supreme Court.  She is now a member of the House of Lords. 

Criticism – Well, there would be!!

There has been criticism of the podcast in that, so far, the women are all middle-class with middle-class views.  What is wrong with that?  Being a middle-class woman with views and opinions is not a crime.  In the interview with Sasha Swire, Swire discusses how the wives of some politicians express their political views. They are then regarded as an object of fun with views that are unimportant. 

If you listen to the stories, some of the women interviewed had to work hard from poor backgrounds and carve out a career for themselves.  The significant takeaway is that education is a great advantage.  Whether you went to grammar school or secondary school and then worked your way through the education system, you must take a risk, fight the ‘Old Boy Network’ and at times fight prejudice and discrimination. 

Podcast: Rachel Johnson – Difficult Women 


I have enjoyed these podcasts, and if you want to listen to Sarah Vine, Baroness Joan Bakewell, and Prue Leith discuss the differences, barriers, and discrimination they had to overcome, this podcast will be for you.  Leave your political view of her brother aside, your idea of what a middle-class woman should be and listen to the inspirational stories of these exceptional women at the top of their field.