Maeve Binchy speaks about the meaning, use and evolution of the word femininity.

As a child Maeve Binchy had looked up to heroines in books. As she grew older her admiration moved from characters in books to real people. While at University College Dublin in the 1950s, Maeve’s admiration moved towards women with freshly starched skirts.

For Maeve, a feminine woman was a small woman who wore angora and sounded over-interested in things she knew nothing about.

Maeve recalls how the use of words such as 'feminine' or 'femininity' have changed over the years and provides examples of usage that would be considered intolerable. Maeve refers specifically to a time when her cousin Anne Binchy had worked as a reporter at RTÉ.

This episode of the 'Women's Programme' was broadcast on 19 March 1984. The presenter is Doireann Ní Bhriain, was broadcast on 19 March 1984.