WOMAN’S Hour presenter Jenni Murray and New Statesman’s deputy editor Helen Lewis took to the stage at Brighton and Hove High School on Sunday night to discuss Murray’s book, A History of Britain in 21 Women, which sees Murray talk through her selection of 21 noteworthy British women, from Boudicca to Margaret Thatcher.

Anyone going along to the event to get a taster of the book would have left disappointed; other than a brief reading at the beginning of the evening, its contents were largely undiscussed.

The event focused more on Murray’s own feminist awakening at the age of fifteen, when she noted the constricting effect that traditional gender roles had had on her mother’s life, and on anecdotes from Murray’s history in broadcasting, such as her experiences interviewing Thatcher and, more recently, Hillary Clinton.

A brief question and answer session followed, with a question from a primary school teacher prompting an interesting discussion on how to avoid entrenching sexism in children at a young age. All in all, the evening didn’t exactly deliver on its tagline of discussing A History of Britain in 21 Women, but Murray was an engaging presence and the event raised some interesting questions on how the cause of feminism can be usefully furthered in the future.

Kate Bennett