4 Podcasts for Your Summer Travels

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“The stories I want to tell are when we’re our own heroes and our own enemies, and I don’t think that’s a rude thing to ask for.”

Jessica Williams, the comedian who hosted the popular podcast “2 Dope Queens” with her best friend Phoebe Robinson

It’s that time of year when many of us are spending hours and hours road tripping, sitting in airports and on planes, or hoofing it through city streets around the world to get a glimpse of, well, something, anything, different. On these long hot days of travel, podcasts are my salve. And to think, I used to roll my eyes at my parents for listening to talk radio.

Here are some recommendations for podcasts for women, by women or about women (or all three!) based on your mood. They should help you make the most of your time and give you plenty to discuss at those backyard barbecues.

Did I miss your favorite? Please let me know at dearmaya@nytimes.com.


Part standup, part storytelling and part guest interviews, “2 Dope Queens” is basically like hanging out with your funniest, coolest, most interesting best friends — the comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, who created and host the podcast — as they chat about sex, romance, race, life in New York and everything else.

It’s so good, in fact, that the duo landed a deal with HBO for a series of specials based the podcast that aired for two seasons.

My favorite episode, Season 4, Episode 49: “Karaoke With Michelle Obama”

This interview with the former first lady in late 2018 was also their final podcast. And while it might have been the end, it’s a great place to start. Obama talks about her book “Becoming,” her struggle with the “angry black female” stereotype and how to raise bold women.


Jonathan Van Ness has skyrocketed to fame over the past couple of years as the Fab Five’s effervescent grooming pro on the Netflix reboot of “Queer Eye.” But long before the makeover show premiered, Van Ness, who came out as nonbinary last month, has been hosting “Getting Curious.”

In each episode, Van Ness interviews an expert on a topic the host is curious about. I once spent six straight hours bingeing these on the road.

My favorite episode, No. 57: “Gender Bias in Film Scoring, What’s Her Story?”

Jessica Rae Huber, a film and television composer, talks to Van Ness about her evolution in the industry and what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated field.


Those who read this newsletter regularly know that I don’t need an excuse to go off about the gross exclusion of women’s stories from history. I’m cranky about it, but “The History Chicks,” Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider, help ease my simmering rage.

In each episode, they explore the stories of women in history, real (like Harriet Tubman and Audrey Hepburn) or fictional (like the Statue of Liberty and Barbie).

This is the herstory class you wish your college offered.

My favorite episode, No. 84: “Ida B. Wells”

Wells was an investigative journalist who developed techniques that remain central to journalism. She was a former slave who took on racism in the Deep South and campaigned for anti-lynching legislation. I can’t ever learn enough about her.

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