As the weather turns gloomy and the news even gloomier, light relief is just what we need to escape the doomscrolling. Luckily, there are tonnes of great podcasts out there to help you zone out from reality...
For a long time, podcasts were seen as a 'boy's club': hosted by men, produced by men, for men. But, thankfully, women have been a central (if less visible or heard) force behind podcasting's rise, especially with a recent wave of podcasts specifically geared toward feminism, women's issues, gender equality, and equity.
Whether you're looking to listen to an insightful conversation on politics, a gritty discourse on true crime or just two best friends talking about everyday life – there is nothing quite like hearing from other like-minded ladies that is sure to keep you at ease, and well-informed at the same time.
Below, we've rounded up a list of our all-time favourites for your listening pleasure. Some are so funny, you’ll have to pull the car over. Others are so inspiring, you’ll be ready for world domination after just one half-hour episode. Though the themes are disparate, they do all have something special in common: the podcasts on this list are all hosted by women (and in some cases, for women).
Think about it: When you were in school, presidents, artists, inventors, admirals, etc. filled your history books. And though they each played a significant role in weaving the yarn that is global history, they all had one thing in common: they were mostly men. Jenny and Liz Kaplan started Encyclopedia Womannica to fill in the gaps where women are historically underrepresented. Each episode is a five-minute lesson on a brilliant woman you may not know, but should.
2. The Calmer You Podcast
As well as having a fabulously calming voice (handy, that), host Chloe Brotheridge – a hypnotherapist, anxiety expert and author – is full of handy tips and advice on managing anxiety, dealing with the overwhelming nature of modern life and just taking time out to breathe. Featuring lots of mental health experts and with episodes titled This Too Shall Pass and Being Mentally Fit, The Calmer You Podcast is just what we need right now.
3. Fashion No Filter
A podcast centred on fashion and friendship, Fashion No Filter sees influencers Camille Charrière and Monica Ainley give you a real insider look at the fashion industry and how it operates. Covering everything from catwalk trends, to unpicking what it means to be a modern muse, the duo have an all access guide to the previously closed world of fashion. Guests on the podcast include fellow influencers Pernille Teisbaek and Bryan Boy, as well as important conversations on circular fashion with Arizona Muse and how to make the most of your Instagram with Eva Chen.
4. The Gurls Talk
This is your regular source of fierce female chat. The podcast hosted by model Adwoa Aboah, featuring a number of different guests, as they talk, share, listen and take control of their lives. Covering topics from sex to success, the episodes are motivating, inspirational and thought-provoking.
5. Private Education
Whether you're having it, not having it, wanting it or not wanting it, sex is a topic on all of our minds. The first podcast of its kind in Ireland, Private Education with Aisling Keenan is all about open communication and understanding sex in the hopes to lead to more acceptance. From open relationships to locating the 'G' spot, there's a lot to learn. Listen to what’s going on behind closed doors in a fun and often hilarious manner, with the aim to normalise the way we talk about sex.
6. Bad With Money
Hosted by Gaby Dunn, a self-proclaimed finance "deadbeat," this podcast explores personal finance from a feminist and LGBTQ+ lens. Expect conversations with activists, politicians, celebrities, and authors. From healthcare to parenthood to cryptocurrency, Bad With Money discusses all kinds of financial issues for anyone who feels like they're bad with money and wants to learn how to be a little bit better with it.
7. Full Coverage
Full Coverage, “a podcast hosted by professional makeup artist, Harriet Hadfield and unprofessional beauty lover, Lindsey Kelk,” provides the perfect balance of professional expertise and down-to-earth entertainment, so whether you’re a beauty pro or total newbie, you’ll love this podcast. From debating trending beauty topics to interviewing industry superstars to exploring diversity in the industry, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
When you just want to talk to your best friend, turn on this podcast for a hit of fellowship. Best friends Fionnuala Jones and Bríd Browne spend each episode chatting about both light and heavy topics in this funny and conversational podcast. They cover so many bases – current event, cultural phenomena, and even random subjects that speak to both of them.
9. Feminists Don't Wear Pink
This truthful podcast hosted by journalist, activist and writer Scarlett Curtis illuminates the path for our future female leaders. Scarlet invites bold and pioneering women for her live podcast discussion on what feminism means to them. An unfiltered, frank and honest conversation that will leave you in high spirits.
10. In Good Company
Another popular podcast that tackles women and work, Women Who founder and author Otegha Uwagba's podcast has a number of candid conversations with successful women with Uwagba and her guests covering everything from personal brands to raising investment. It's relevant to women at every stage of their career and is full of inspiration and practical advice.
11. The High Low
Chances are you've already devoured this podcast and wait eagerly for a new episode to drop. But for the uninitiated...Once a week, Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes tackle the week's current affairs and pop culture stories and the biggest issues facing women in the UK and abroad. Consistently taking a top spot in the iTunes charts, the programs signature mix of high low journalism, stellar recommendations and author specials have made it popular with women everywhere.
12. Rebel Eaters Club
"In this world, pizza is not the enemy, and we love the bodies we have right now!" More beautiful words have never been spoken. Transmitter Media's new podcast hosted by Virgie Tovar discusses diets, discrimination, and freedom from the restrictions society attempts to place on our bodies.
13. The Michelle Obama Podcast
You can’t talk about the best podcasts for women without taking about Michelle Obama’s incredible new series. In each episode, the former First Lady sits down with a new guest to discuss the relationships and experiences that make us who we are – tackling subjects from the complexities of marriage to managing mental health during a pandemic, this series is a must-listen.
14. The Home Stretch
The Home Stretch is a six-part series brought to you by GAFF interiors in collaboration with Bank of Ireland. Each episode features interviews with experts from across the home-buying spectrum, who will guide those searching for their first home.
15. Dirty Laundry
While sustainability is perhaps the buzzword du jour in the fashion industry (and, for good reason), more of us are looking to overhaul our shopping habits, but figuring out how to do that in a way that's affordable, ethical and fun can be a challenge. Cue Tara Stewart. Dirty Laundry sees style icon and sustainability queen, Tara Stewart, explore the world of sustainable fashion, looking at the way we currently approach buying clothes, assessing what the future holds for style influencers, and looking at how big brands are handling the climate crisis.
16. Freezing Time
You might have zero interest in egg freezing or have never even thought about your own fertility. But regardless, it is near impossible not to get drawn into host Sophia Money-Coutts’ journey in Freezing Time. As she tells us, she’s 35, single and wants to give herself a chance to have kids one day. In Freezing Time she documents not only her own (often emotional) path to having her eggs frozen but also interviews a range of fertility experts and speaks to other women who have gone through the process, with varying results. It’s really honest, and often pretty raw, and at the very least will get you thinking about an aspect of your own health that, as women and society as a whole, is still often labelled as taboo.
17. Love Stories
Yes, we know Dolly Alderton's already on this list for The High Low. But her Love Stories podcast (there's two seasons available to keep you busy) is one of the most wonderful listens on the internet as Alderton interviews guests such as Stanley Tucci and Lily Allen to discuss, well, love stories. If you're a fan of Alderton's best-selling memoir Everything I Know About Love and are hungry for more lessons on love, you'll want these thoughtful conversations in your ears.
18. The Laughs Of Your Life
Is there anything Doireann Garrihy can't do? Her increasingly popular podcast, aptly named “The Laughs of Your Life”, explores the various manifestations of laughter – from having the last laugh to being laughed at – and Doireann uses these themes to guide her guest’s re-telling of poignant moments in their life. From “when was a time you had the last laugh?” and “who is someone who always makes you laugh” to “tell us about a time when if you didn’t laugh you’d cry”, the show is considerably deeper than you might expect and is sure to pull on your heartstrings as much as it tickles your funny bone.
19. The Entreprenista
Less of a podcast, more of a genuinely exciting business meeting; The Entreprenista Podcast is a weekly show featuring the stories of successful female founders and what it’s really like to run a business. Hosted by Stephanie Cartin & Courtney Spritzer, co-founders of Socialfly, a leading social media marketing agency, each episode goes beyond what you see on Instagram and into the nitty-gritty of growing and scaling a company effectively from women who’ve done it
20. Mixed Up
Mixed Up hosts Emma Slade Edmondson and Nicole Ocran started the podcast out of frustration over not being able to find stories about the lived experience of mixed-race people. The show is about straddling two worlds and multiple identities, unpicking the nitty-gritty and opening up an inclusive dialogue. It’s a warm space filled with real insight, shared experiences and a lot of belly laughing along the way.
Main image by @sofiamcoelho on Instagram