Woman’s hour presenters make awkward and insensitive comment

In the UK, “woman’s hour” is a daily show on the quality news sender Radio 4. It often has feminist themes. The show follows the 10 o’clock radio news in the morning. This morning, the news reported that the oldest woman alive has passed away.

The “woman’s hour” presenter (Jane Garvey) said immediately after this news item in the opening of her show:

That is a good line, isn’t it, outlived her husband by 84 years.

What an awkward and insensitive comment to make! It really made me think. The woman never remarried, and with 3 children it is sad that she lost her husband so young. Maybe that is not something that matches the perspective of the show, which is often viewing women as victims of men. It seems just wrong to try to score points using this news item, though.

Am I being too sensitive here? Did the presenter just mean that it is just a very unusual situation that one partner outlives the other by so many years, and that it is good in the sense of newsworthy? In the context of a feminist show, it is probably difficult to tell what the presenter means exactly.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

If you are in the UK, you can listen to the segment on the BBC iPlayer, here is the link.


About Gijsbert Stoet

Gijsbert Stoet is a Reader in Psychology at the University of Glasgow. Gijsbert has carried out research in psychology and neuroscience and is particularly interested in gender differences in thought and behavior. Gijsbert has published a number of papers on this topic in well-known scientific journals.
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