It’s International Women’s Day, and Women’s History Month! What better way to celebrate the lives and legacies of women—past and present, from around the world—than through learning their stories. And we have some programs by American Masters and POV that will help us get started!
It’s easy to get caught up in the lives of famous women (and we’ll do that here in a moment), but it’s important to also learn about people whose names you’ve never heard, and whose faces you haven’t seen.
POV, television’s longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films, affords us so many opportunities to do just that. Here are some of our favorite woman-focused POV films you can stream now.
Dalya’s Other Country (pictured) follows the nuanced story of a family displaced by the Syrian conflict, walking the line between their Muslim values and the new world they inhabit after moving to Los Angeles.
Motherland provides an intimate look at the busiest maternity hospital in the world, located in one of the poorest countries: the Philippines.
Tribal Justice introduces us to two extraordinary Native American women in Southern California, both chief judges for their tribes’ courts, who are healing their communities one case at a time. Abby Abinanti and Claudette White are creating innovative systems that focus on restoring rather than punishing. By addressing the root causes of crime, they are providing models of restorative justice that work.
For Spaniards nothing has expressed their country’s traditionally rigid gender roles more powerfully than the image of the male matador. Ella Es el Matador offers fascinating profiles of two female matadors currently in the arena. These women are gender pioneers by necessity. But what emerges as their truest motivation is their passion for bullfighting and the pursuit of a dream.
Born George, Georgina Beyer was elected to New Zealand’s Parliament in 1999, becoming the world’s first transgender person to hold a national office. A mostly white, conservative, rural constituency voted this former sex worker of Maori descent into office. Chronicling Georgina’s transformations from farm helper to celebrated cabaret diva to grassroots community leader, Georgie Girl couples interviews and images of Beyer’s nightclub and film performances with footage showing a day in the life of this New Zealand Member of Parliament.
Of course, it’s always fun to learn interesting facts about the people we admire, who feel so familiar to us. American Masters often unearths such tidbits of information, and we’re grateful for it! Here are a few programs about iconic women you can stream right now.
Althea (pictured) shares the story of Althea Gibson, a truant from the rough streets of Harlem, who emerged as the unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world in the 1950s. She was the first African American to play at and win both Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals (precursor of the U.S. Open) — a decade before Arthur Ashe.
Once referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Dr. Maya Angelou led a prolific life. She inspired generations with lyrical modern poetry that pushed boundaries. Best known for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before. Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise lets us see a side of Angelou known only by those close to her.
Carole King shares how she went from a 16-year-old songwriter to a star in Carole King: Natural Woman. The film weaves previously unseen and rare performances with home movies featuring interviews with King, friends, fellow songwriters, and other musicians.
Dorothea Lange’s photograph Migrant Mother came to represent America’s Great Depression, yet few know the story of the woman who created it. See Lange through her granddaughter’s eyes, and explore the life story of the influential photographer. Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning reveals the artist who challenged America to know itself.
Every great cook secretly believes in the power of food. Alice Waters just believes this more than anybody else. Waters is creating a food revolution, even if she has to do it one meal at a time. Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution follows Waters through a year of shopping and cooking, and reveals the vision of an artist and advocate, who has taken her gift for food and turned it into consciousness about the environment, and a device for social change.