BBC 100 Women returns for 2020 amid COVID pandemic

bbc 100 women

BBC 100 Women returns this month, shining a spotlight on women’s experiences around the world.

The special will offer a week of special interviews, inspirational masterclasses, documentaries, features and digital content across the BBC’s UK and international TV and radio services and online.

BBC 100 women

In a year of unprecedented turbulence, this year’s theme is How Women Led Change In 2020, the UK broadcaster said.

It will celebrate some of the scientists, public health experts, and healthcare workers who have helped us weather the storm of the global pandemic, as well as women from other industries who have all been leaders of change in their own way – from politicians, lawyers and architects to actors, writers, athletes, singers and those who have sought to improve the lives of others in their community.

Fiona Crack, Founder and Editor of 100 Women, said: “Returning for the eighth year, 100 Women capitalises on the unique reach and expertise of the BBC’s 42 language services to bring together diverse stories of women’s lives and achievements from across the globe.

“In a year of turmoil, this year’s 100 Women List will recognise women who made a difference from a community level right up to international politics, and brand new for 2020 is a day packed full of online masterclasses led by experts on the List.

“But we’ll also be taking a look at how the pandemic has impacted women’s unpaid workload, and violence against women in the home.”

The 100 Women List

The season kicks off on 24 November when this year’s 100 Women List will be announced, celebrating inspirational and often unheard women from across the globe – from high profile names to unsung heroes.

For the first time, this year’s List will see the 100th spot left blank to honour all the women who made an impact and a sacrifice in this extraordinary year, and allow our audiences to fill it with someone meaningful to them.

The 100 Women Masterclasses

Brand new for 2020 is the BBC 100 Women Masterclasses on 30 November – a day of inspirational talks, mind-expanding workshops and ‘how to’ sessions streamed on BBC digital platforms and social channels.

Guided by expert speakers including those featured on the 100 Women List, sessions will tackle topics such as money management, public speaking, sustainable living, mental health self-care, and practical tools and tips for our everyday lives.

The sessions will cover:

  • BBC 100 Women In Conversation – with three women who were behind one of the biggest social movements in 2020
  • Rewriting The Script – making kids’ bedtime stories more diverse… and less sexist
  • Make Yourself Heard – how to find your voice and beat the ‘gender say gap’
  • Tips To Make Your Cash Work For You
  • Turn Up The Volume, Girl! – how to create (and listen to) tunes that empower you
  • And mini, six minute drop-ins covering:
    – Get your mental health fix in five minutes
    – Five top tips to live a greener life
    – Want to help build a more inclusive world? Stop being a friend and become an ally
    – How to stay social and beat ‘lockdown loneliness’

Women’s Unpaid Labour

100 Women will take a special look at the issue of unpaid labour and how much work women do for which they are not paid.

Even before the pandemic, an estimated 16 billion hours were spent on unpaid care work around the world each day, and it was women who bore the brunt of domestic chores, childcare and care for elderly dependants.

Working with the UN, BBC 100 Women will publish new data on how the pandemic has impacted women’s unpaid workload.

Violence against women – ‘the shadow pandemic’

In 2018, 100 Women took an in depth look at intimate partner violence and tried to find the stories of the women behind the statistics.

Two years later, with countries in lockdown, we are seeing a ‘shadow pandemic’ and a rise in violence against women in the place they are most likely to be in danger – their homes.

In a special report, the BBC’s Divya Arya takes a closer look at the situation in India.

Other documentaries and programmes airing throughout the season will include:

  • With exclusive access to Finland’s unique all-female coalition government, the BBC World Service’s Megha Mohan follows Prime Minister Sanna Marin as she navigates life at the top – and a global pandemic (BBC World News)
  • Presented by Kim Chakanetsa, a special edition of The Conversation will bring together women from this year’s 100 Women List to take questions from an online audience on how to build a brighter future after Covid-19 (BBC World Service)
  • Women In Power sees writer and broadcaster Mary Ann Sieghart ask what it takes to be a powerful woman and what holds so many back (BBC World Service)
  • The family watching the ground melt beneath their feet. Following three generations of indigenous women in Alaska as they deal with climate change (BBC World News)
  • Music has been a perennially powerful tool when it comes to protest. In Rebel Girls Soundtrack, Beatriz De La Pava looks at the ways pivotal events are reflected in songs, and how music paints a vivid picture of the social, political, economic and cultural landscape (BBC World Service)
  • An update on last year’s look at Barcelona’s urban revamp involving their female mayor, architects, and organisations (BBC World News)
  • An updated look at last year’s investigation into our digital twins in Women Of The Future: My Avatar And Me (BBC World News)
  • A special episode of Click will celebrate women in technology. 100 women will zoom in from around the world to ask a panel of tech leaders their burning questions. Plus visits to an all-woman team using Artificial Intelligence to aid IVF, and a quantum physicist choreographing a dance between a robot and human (BBC World News and BBC News Channel)
  • The Mushroom Woman: The Story Of Chido Govera will chart how a Zimbabwean orphan’s fascination with growing mushrooms grew into a foundation training thousands of other growers – mainly women and orphans – across Africa and the world (BBC World Service)

Starts 20 November

BBC 100 Women 2020 launches on Tuesday 24 November, when the List will be revealed. A week of content will culminate in the 100 Women Masterclasses on Monday 30 November.

BBC 100 Women season is powered, co-produced and inspired by the BBC’s 42 language services – telling women’s stories throughout the year.

100 Women was established in 2013 as an annual series focused on a list of 100 inspirational women.

The list was supported by news, features, investigations and interviews highlighting the work of these women, targeting female audiences.

In 2016, the 100 Women site generated 30 million hits over three weeks and was awarded an Alliance for Women in Media Gracie award.

The project was also a finalist for the US Peabody Awards 2017 and scooped many other accolades.