Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Xinran

Emine Saner

The Guardian

China’s first agony aunt broadcaster, and author of the Good Women of China

In 1989, she started presenting her radio show, Words on the Night Breeze,China‘s first agony aunt programme. Thousands of women contacted her to tell their stories, and for the first time women’s voices and experiences were being heard – they told of rape, incest, violence and childhood abuse. “I discovered that women had no idea how to talk about themselves. In family tradition, in education, in society, even if you asked them, women had never talked about what happened in their own lives.” The programmed turnedXinran into a successful broadcaster, but she felt constrained by the state and the demands of her job. She spent two years travelling around China, listening to the stories of more women, before leaving for the UK in 1997, where she worked as a cleaner and a waitress while she learned English. Her book, based on her research, the Good Women of China, was published in 2002 to acclaim, and she continues to write about women’s stories. Xinran also set up a charity Mother Bridge of Love, to support British families who have adopted children, mainly girls, from China.


  1. I have had her book for ages. I think maybe it’s time to move it out of the To Be Read pile and start reading it.

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