In וגברים the vav was pronounced as 'oo' - and someone said it was because it preceded a word that began with a consonant. So my question is, is נ not a consonant, or not hard enough of one to change the ו , or does this has to do with the noun אישה of the singular, so the consonant rule doesn't apply?
"vi" before words starting with the letter "י"
"u" before words starting with the letters בומפ
"u" also before words starting with a letter with the niqqud "shwa" (two dots vertically under the letter). Bummers; in spoken Hebrew the "shwa" sounds sometimes like no vowel and sometimes like "e", depending on the letter that carries it. You might need to look it up in a dictionary. In the case of "וגברים", though, you can hear "gvarim" so you know the "g" has no vowel, so it's "u".
"ve" in the rest of the cases, e.g. ונשים.
Spoken Hebrew - always "ve" (sigh of relief).
You can find pronunciations for just about anything on Forvo.com.
For "men", גברים, the pronunciation is https://forvo.com/search/%D7%92%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%9D/he/
For women, נשים, the pronunciation is https://forvo.com/search/%D7%A0%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%9D/
A couple of things.
גברים - men, not gentlemen
נשים - women, not ladies
The order in Hebrew is men first and then women.
Lady and gentleman are quite formal words, in both languages. This sentence is a simple sentence about men and women.
The address "ladies and gentlemen" would be גברותיי ורבותיי. So, as you can see, they are two different things.