Hidden World of Girls

A Kitchen Sisters’ series on NPR exploring stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities–of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide. Visit the Hidden World of Girls blog  Hidden World of Girls on Facebook  and Hidden World of Girls: Stories for Orchestra—a symphonic, multi-media collaboration with The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Conductor Marin Alsop, four women composers and Obscura Digital.


The Hidden World of Girls with Host Tina Fey
From the dunes of the Sahara to a slumber party in Manhattan, from the dancehalls of Jamaica to a racetrack in Ramallah, groundbreaking writer and comedian Tina Fey takes us around the world into the secret life of girls and the women they become.

Chicken Pills
In this story Hidden World of Girls travels to Jamaica — where cosmetic folk treatments and changing ideals of beauty are part of a the national debate going on in the music, the dancehalls and on the streets.


Hidden World of Traveller Girls
Travellers. The people of walking. Sometimes called the gypsies of Ireland. They speak of non-Travellers as “the settled people.” Mistrusted for the most part and not well-understood. Nomads, moving in caravans, living in encampments on the side of the road. We listen to the stories of young Traveller women and explore some of the ancient and modern rituals clinging on the edge of the Celtic Boom.


The Hidden World of Daphne Mae Hunt
Nigerian writer Chris Abani’s story about his English-born mother enlisting him at age 8 to be her translator in Nigeria as she travels door to door through the villages teaching women the Billings Ovulation Method of birth control.


The Day the Earth Stood Still
Science fiction writer Pat Cadigan sent us an email that inspired this story about her secret life with her best friend Rosemarie.


Deborah Luster: One Big Self
After the violent murder of her mother, photographer Deborah Luster takes thousands of haunting formal portraits of men and women incarcerated in Louisiana’s prisons. Working with poet CD Wright, she creates a project called One Big Self


The Hidden Wedding Dance of Sudan
Produced by Gwen Thompkins
Young brides in Northern Sudan have been performing the Bride Dance on, or near, their wedding nights for thousands of years. Today, plenty of Sudanese women reject it, saying they don’t want to debase themselves.


Women in Pop in Character
Produced by Zoe Chace
A look into the created characters of today’s rising pop artists.


The Brave Heart Women’s Society: Coming of Age in South Dakota
Brook Spotted Eagle called us from the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. She told us about the Brave Heart Women’s Society and invited The Kitchen Sisters to their Isnati Coming of Age Ceremony for Girls.


The Secret (and Not So Secret) Life of Theresa Sparks
We take a look at the life of Theresa Sparks, the former San Francisco Police Commissioner who is running for a seat on the SF Board of Supervisors.


Hidden World of Kandahar Girls
Produced by Renee Montagne and Jim Wildman
Within the walls of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center in Kandahar, girls and young women throw off their burqas as they laugh and study together. Many of them want careers. But they know the danger in the Taliban heartland is real. “We want to be brave,” says student Tahira Sadisaidi.


Girls Who Hunt
Produced by Tamara Keith and Leah Scarpelli
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service there are some 300,000 female hunters under the age of 16. We travel to Wayne Country, Mississippi to meet a girl who hunts.


Lesbian Lives in Pakistan
Produced by Habiba Nosheen
Although gays and lesbians can be imprisoned for life in Pakistan, rarely are such charges brought to court. Pakistani lesbians say it is often easier for them to engage in a sexual relationship because society simply doesn’t perceive women to have sexual desires.


Al Qaida Brides
Produced by Kelly McEvers and Isra’ al Rubei’i
In a country with millions of orphans and widows, officials say it’s tough to make women who are seen as criminals a priority, which means they’re basically ignored by everyone.


Horses, Unicorns & Dolphins
Many girls fantasize about horses, dolphins and unicorns. One theory about why is that it helps them express their power. Others say the animals — real and mythical — symbolize dreaming and achieving. Still for many, it’s a way to run away with their imaginations.


Veiling, Unveiling, Reveiling
Produced by Asma Khalid
About 1 million Muslim women live in America; 43 percent of them wear headscarves full time. But now, a generation of Muslim women is taking off the headscarf, or hijab. For many, their choice is an attempt to balance their private lives with a very public symbol of their religion.


The Secret Life of the Termite Queen
The termite queen may be the mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice for her swarms of children. Isolated in an earthen capsule, she lays more than a quarter-billion eggs in her lifetime. On the eve of Mother’s Day, NPR honors this species’ story of struggle, rebirth and death below ground.


The Sisters of General Vang Pao
Produced by Doualy Xaykaothao
Gen. Vang Pao, an exiled leader from the Hmong hill tribe in communist Laos, was a CIA ally during the Vietnam War. Now, shortly after his death and six-day funeral in California, NPR’s Doualy Xaykaothao — Vang Pao’s grandniece — is delving into her family history. Who was Vang Pao, and what stories can his surviving sisters share?

Amira in America
By Shereen Meraji
Amira Al-Sharif came to New York City to document the lives of young American women. The 28-year-old was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Yemen and was the first person from her family to graduate from university. And while Western journalists often document Arab women, Al-Sharif wanted to flip the script.

Russia’s Singing Babushkas
Produced by David Greene
In Russian culture, one iconic image is the elderly woman — in Russian, she’s called a “babushka” — sitting on a roadside, selling vegetables from her garden. One group of babushkas from the village of Buranovo, 600 miles east of Moscow, is blowing up that stereotype.


Never on Sunday
Listen. It’s 6:30 pm in Montevideo. The streets are full of traffic, and the radio is on everywhere. Tune into CX22 Radio Universal AM 970 and you can hear Elena Fonseca present Nunca en Domingo (Never on Sunday) her daily women’s radio show. Elena is 81 years old, elegant and on fire.


Just Girls: The Hidden World of Patti Smith & Judy Linn
Photographer Judy Linn shares her stories of Patti Smith before rock stardom. Featuring an old cassette recording made by Smith and Linn in 1969.