Tina Fey begins the show by explaining it was Stevie Wonder’s mother, Lula Mae Hardaway’s obituary that inspired her and The Kitchen Sisters to make The Hidden World of Girls.
Hardaway negotiated her son’s contract with Motown Records and co-wrote Stevie Wonder’s hits Signed, Sealed, Delivered and I was made to love her. If Lula Mae Hardaway had such an incredible story to tell, imagine what stories were going unheard across the globe.
The Hidden World of Girls brings together a diverse range of stories told in part by the women themselves and by NPR reporters. Here are some highlights from an hour of the show.
We meet a group of women in Mali who perform traditional dances of Timbuktu. As their camp travels the desert they meet other camps by moonlight. They believe women become more beautiful with every divorce.
In the world of a 23 year old Irish Traveller girl we learn that as the women of the community grow older they become well respected matriarchs. This young woman tells of how her teacher told her she had no reason to become literate as a traveller. It wasn’t until she became older that she attended a literacy course, followed by a childcare course. This is in stark contrast with the girl’s world presented in Channel 4’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
NPR then visit the Braveheart Women’s Society. Returning to their Native American roots this group reclaimed their history through listening to older women's stories of Native American traditions. They place great importance on the first menses and hold discussions about sexual abuse. One of the members bore the name Stand Strong Woman. I like that.
It’s mysterious how this was a secret, certainly to me. The Speed Sisters of Ramallah drive around listening to Shakira at full volume “she’s my eeedol”. They are 8 women who race against men in an old donated BMW and are backed by the British Consulate.
There’s also the sci-fi writer who created a story with her best friend that they were actually Venusian twins with special powers over The Beatles, the Babushka choir and the incredible story of photographer Deborah Luster. I get the feeling NPR and The Hidden World of Girls had to reel some of the awesomeness in for the radio edit and I'm still overwhelmed.
To be inspired and get a great new list of women to Google go to and listen…