Mishal Husain joined BBC Radio 4’s morning news programme Today in October 2013. She has extensive experience reporting live on location, including in Pakistan after the death of Osama Bin Laden and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
In October 2013 Mishal interviewed Malala Yusufzai exclusively for BBC News, and returned to Pakistan to retrace Malala’s campaign for girls’ education in the Swat valley. She is the voice behind the series, Her Story.
We spent 5 minutes with Mishal…
Why should people watch Her Story? What do you think will resonate most with viewers?
The series is a great combination of well-known women and intriguing unknown women doing striking things for their communities. I think it’s that juxtaposition that’s very compelling – you might know of Michele Bachelet but not know she brought in a gender balanced Cabinet in 2006 – and you’re unlikely to have heard of Balkissa Chaibou, only 19 years old and fighting child marriage in Niger.
Which women did you find most inspiring?
I was struck by how open Christine Lagarde is about the personal sacrifices she made in the time she spent away from her children, while building her career. That kind of honesty is rare from women who have risen to the top, but I think it helps younger women to know that these women aren’t superhuman, and have also had their trials and tribulations along the way.
How did you adjust to your role as narrator in this series? Did you find it as interactive as being the interviewer?
I would have loved to be the interviewer in this series and meet these extraordinary and diverse women, each with their own passions and convictions. But, I was happy to be involved in the series at a later date, to come to know these stories, and see both the difficulties and hope in the change that these women of all ages are a part of.
What are some of the things you learnt while being part of the series? Did you gain any new insights?
There were several aspects of the series that were new to me, especially the programme on religion where we see Buddhist and Orthodox Jewish women’s struggle for equality. At a time when the headlines have been so dominated by stores about extremist Islam, it’s a reminder that no religion has a monopoly on misogyny and gender-based discrimination.
What’s your personal opinion of gender equality?
Women have come such a long way and I’m heartened by the equal numbers of men and women entering universities and professions in many parts of the world. But too few are reaching leadership positions, whether in the developed or the developing world. That’s the next frontier.
Her Story airs on BBC World News, DStv channel 400, from 20 February to 12 March.
To read what the Head of Content for BBC World News, Mary Wilkinson has to say about Her Story, click here.