Films – Women & Girls

Must-See List of Films on Women’s Rights
This site includes a comprehensive list and descriptions of films on women’s rights and gender inequality. Additional lists with: “Films on Violence Against Women,” “Women’s Rights and Role Models,” and “Films on Rape.”

Discrimination against Women
Source: Plan International Girl Rising
Animated video showing the importance of a girl’s choices after the age of twelve, and what happens when those choices are not available.
Time: 4:15 Minutes
Grade Level: middle school – adult

Girl Rising
Kayce Freed, Tom Yellin, Holly Gordon
Source: Vulcan Productions, The Documentary Group
Tells the stories of nine girls from nine countries: (Sierra Leone,  Haiti,  Ethiopia,  Afghanistan, PeruEgyptNepalIndia and Cambodia) written by a writer from that country. Their stories reflect their struggles to overcome societal or cultural barriers to education.
Time: 105 minutes
Grade Level: middle school – adult

Half the Sky
Producer: Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Source: Cinedigm Entertainment
“Inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book, the documentary series introduces women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting bravely to change them” (Half the Sky Movement, 2012).
Time: 4-hour series
Grade Level: middle school – adult

Human Rights Watch Videos on Child Marriage
Source: Human Rights Watch, 2013
Collection of brief videos from Malwai, South Sudan, and Yemen showing the cultural norms that permit child marriage and the results in the lives of girls.
Time: 5-10 minutes
Grade Level: high school – adult

Human Trafficking Webcast
Source: Global Nomads Group and the New York Times
Video and lesson plan that examines reasons why women are trafficked and the economic implications of this form of slavery
Time: 57 minutes
Grade Level: high school
Subject area: social studies, current events

Killing Us Softly 4
Director: Jean Kilbourne, Producer: Cambridge Documentaries, 2010
Focuses on images of women in advertising, in particular on gender stereotypes, the effects of advertising on women’s self-image, and the objectification of women’s bodies. Accompanying study guides available.
Time: 45 minutes
Grade Level: high school

Olga’s Girls: Indentured Servitude in Nepal
Source: Pulitzer Center
Tells stories of the sale of young girls in Nepal into indentured servitude and prostitution.
Time: 7.40 Minutes
Grade Level: middle school – adult

Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars
Director: Berit Madsen, Producer: Stephan Frost, Henrik Underbjerg, 2013
Sepideh wants to become an astronaut. She spends her nights exploring the secrets of the universe, while her family will do anything to keep her on the ground. The expectations for a young Iranian woman are very different from Sepideh’s ambitions, and her plans to go to university are in danger. But Sepideh holds on to her dream! She takes up the fight and teams up with the world’s first female space tourist, Anousheh Ansari.
Time: 90 minutes
Grade Level: high school – adult

Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Director: Lisa Merton, Alan Dater, Source: PBS
The story of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization encouraging rural women and families to plant trees in community groups, and follows Maathai, the movement’s founder and the first environmentalist and African woman to win the Nobel Prize. Modules and lesson plans available from PBS.
Time: various
Grade Level: middle school – adult

Waiting for the Revolution: Bolivia’s Indigenous Workers
Directors: Rodrigo Vazquez, Don Edkins, Mette Heide
Source: Independent Television Service
Indigenous people of the Andes have endured racism and discrimination for more than 500 years, but two newly elected indigenous leaders illustrate the changes coming to South America. Lesson plan and discussion guide available using the film to explore right to work and its application to unemployed native women in Bolivia.
Time: 60 minutes
Grade Level: high school