Aug 4, 2015

50+ Films About Women That Will Inspire You, Anger You, and Make You Want to Change the World

By Films For Action /
50+ Films About Women That Will Inspire You, Anger You, and Make You Want to Change the World

Here are 50 documentaries, short films and other videos that focus on women's issues, perspectives and struggles. We're hoping to expand this list over time so feel free to share links to anything we missed via our contact page. Thanks!


Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full of hope? Where are you, wise women covered in wounds? Where...
For The Next 7 Generations
84 min · In 2004, thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers from all four corners, moved by their concern for our planet, came together at a historic gathering, where they decided to form an alliance: The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous...
Arise (2013) (trailer)
2 min · On every continent, women are taking the lead to protect and restore the natural environment, and are empowering others to respect the earth. Arise presents the stories of a diverse group of 13 women in five countries who have initiated...
Miss Representation
90 min · Miss Representation is a powerful film that exposes damaging, sexist media messages that inhibit young women’s happiness, ambition, and leadership.
This Is What Every Young Girl Can Expect to be Bombarded with for a Lifetime, Condensed Into 1 Min
1 min · Parents, friends, and teachers alike - talk to girls before the beauty industry does. A powerful and concise message that communicates the destructive effect the ad and beauty industry has on society.
Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising's Image Of Women
5 min · In this update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of...
Jackson Katz: A Paradigm-Shifting Perspective On The Violence That Harms Both Women and Men
19 min · This should really get your brain thinking in entirely new ways.
75 min · Life, death, oppression and resistance - 5 Years with the women of Bangladesh's sweatshops and their fight for a better life. Produced by RAINBOW COLLECTIVE and OPENVIZOR, 'UDITA' follows a turbulent 5 years in the lives of the women at...
War Zone
45 min · What does it feel like to be a woman on the street in a cultural environment that does nothing to discourage men from heckling, following, touching or disparaging women in public spaces?  Filmmaker Maggie Hadleigh-West believes that...
When Abortion Was Illegal: Untold Stories
27 min · This Academy Award-nominated film features compelling first-person accounts which reveal the physical, legal, and emotional consequences during the era when abortion was a criminal act. Remembrances include those of women who...
It's A Girl
64 min · In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this...
Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring On Sex, Lies And Global Economics
94 min · In this feature-length documentary, Marilyn Waring demystifies the language of economics by defining it as a value system in which all goods and activities are related only to their monetary value. As a result, unpaid work (usually...
India: A Dangerous Place To Be A Woman
57 min · In December 2012 a young medical student was brutally gang-raped on board a bus in Delhi. Horrified by the attack, 28-year-old British Asian Radha Bedi travels to India to uncover the reality of life for young women there.
Blurred Lines: The New Battle Of The Sexes
53 min · From bomb threats sent to campaigners for more females on banknotes to sexually explicit pop videos. From extreme laddism at universities to rape jokes in the school yard... Kirsty Wark explores whether there's a new culture abroad in...
I Never Said Yes
56 min · A woman is raped every ten minutes in the UK and yet thousands of rapes go unreported and conviction rates remain low. Pips Taylor explores why, in powerful interviews with young rape survivors. She confronts those in authority about...
63 min · Amina Filali is a 16-year old Moroccan girl who committed suicide after being forced to marry her alleged rapist (in accordance with the article 475 of the Moroccan penal code). Her tragic death dominated Moroccan and international...
Rape on the Reservation
45 min · According to national statistics, one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. Vanguard correspondent Mariana Van Zeller travels to Rosebud reservation in South Dakota to investigate the alarmingly high incidence...
Insiders Reveal the Layered Forms of Sexism in Film & Television
3 min · When our daughters or young women look at the screen they don't see a reflection of themselves
A Girl Like Me
7 min · A Girl Like Me explores the standards of beauty imposed on today's black girls. The film delves beneath the surface in order to show how such standards affect self-esteem and self-image. This seven-minute film has touched the hearts and...
Selling The Girl Next Door
45 min · Selling the Girl Next Door takes viewers into the world of underage American girls caught up in the violent sex trade. Thousands of girls under the age of 18 are ensnared into lives of prostitution annually, according to the National...
Take Up Space - A Clarion Call to All Women from Poet Vanessa Kisuule
5 min · Vanessa Kisuule calls on all women, whatever their age, creed or class, to stop shrinking themselves, and instead, take up space!
We Need a Sexual Revolution in the Middle East
4 min · 'Let's face it, the Arab Spring failed women. They are no closer to liberation than before the uprisings.' Mona Eltahawy, who was beaten and sexually assaulted by Egyptian riot police in 2011, argues that feminism is a vital movement...
Things Not to Say to a Trans Person
8 min · BBC Free Speech got together some people from the transgender community to pick out questions they often hear. We asked, so you don't have to!
Stop Telling Women To Smile
6 min · Stop Telling Women to Smile is an art series by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The work attempts to address gender based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in...
The Hunting Ground
2 min · From the team behind THE INVISIBLE WAR, comes a startling exposé of rape crimes on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. Weaving together verité footage and first-person...
This Is The First and Last Rape Joke You'll Ever Need to Hear
4 min · Members of the Los Angeles based literacy group, Get Lit, perform "Rape Joke" at Brave New Voices 2014, a youth-centric poetry slam created by Youth Speaks.  
Angela Davis On Violence
8 min · This excerpt from The Black Power Mixtape features a powerful interview with Angela Davis in 1972 in which she speaks about violence, which is still relevant today.
Anarchists in India Need You: Help Us Make India Gender-Tolerant!
3 min · "In three generations, India has systematically targeted and annihilated more than 50 million women from its population – a number which constitutes the sum total of the populations of Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Portugal...
'Like a Girl': What Does that Mean to You?
3 min · A new Always advert seeks to change what it means to be 'like a girl' by showing kids and adults reacting differently to the phrase.
Room for Rent - Making The Case For Sex Worker Rights
3 min · Room for rent is based on the belief that in order to challenge exploitation within this work force we shouldn’t victimize and ostracize sex workers, or close down their working spaces, but recognize sex work as work and listen to their...
I Believe in Me: Fighting for Trans Rights in Prison
7 min · On the day of her release from state custody, Donisha McShan tells her story of finding her voice and standing up for her right to be treated as a woman.
If Women's Roles In Ads Were Played By Men
2 min · Watch this. Then imagine what it would be like if most of the images you saw of men in every form of media were like this too. It would be a little weird, right?
It's Time Our Culture Rewrites the Story on Gender
2 min · Join the movement. Featuring: Jean Kilbourne, Pedro Noguera, Jackson Katz and Rosario Dawson.
Girl Rising (2013) (trailer)
2 min · From Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins comes Girl Rising - an innovative new feature film about the power of education to change a girl -- and the world.
This Powerful Video Shows Men What It Feels Like To Be Subjected To Sexism And Sexual Violence
11 min · The short film, in French and directed by Éléonore Pourriat, shows a father taking his kid to kindergarten and going through the rest of his day facing catcalls, sexist remarks, sexual assault, and contempt.
The 'Sexy Lie' We Should Be Talking About
12 min · "I am here today to talk about a lie." That's how politics professor Caroline Heldman opened her Jan. 2013 TEDxYouth San Diego talk on the topic of sexual objectification. "I'd like to talk specifically about the lie, or the idea, that...
Slutwalk: A Day In Her Heels
17 min · Slutwalk. After a local police chief accused college women of dressing like sluts, the students created a demonstration movement called Slutwalk. It is growing and getting attention. Slutwalk was made by students at Rowan University in...
$5 For Guys, Girls Free
16 min · $5 for Guys. Girls Free is a re-enacted close-up of the college generation and how quickly a typical night out can go wrong. The story is led by a Spoken Word artist and complemented by a sexual assault Psychologist. We took an...
Generation M: Misogyny in Media & Culture
5 min · Despite the achievements of the women's movement over the past four decades, misogyny remains a persistent force in American culture. In this important documentary, Thomas Keith, professor of philosophy at California State...
Give Women Their Share
3 min · Despite significant economic and social progress, India is still host to deep gender inequalities due to the unjustifiable patriarchal social norms and practices that fundamentally value a woman as a lesser mortal than man.
Disney Princesses Sing for Equal Pay for Women
3 min · Disney Princesses believe in equal pay for all humans (and mermaids).
1 Billion Rising Against Rape: Why Will You Rise?
2 min · On December 16, 2012 a young woman and her friend travelling on a bus in South Delhi were physically assaulted.  The young woman was raped and brutalized and fought for her life for days following.  Unfortunately she lost her life, but...
Sext Up Kids: How Growing Up in a Hyper-Sexualized Culture Hurts Our Kids
3 min · The powder keg that is porn culture has exploded in the lives of North American children. From thongs and padded bras for 9-year-old girls to "sexting," 24-7 internet porn, and unfiltered social media, kids today are bombarded with...
Solar Mamas
58 min · SOLAR MAMAS: Are women better at getting out of poverty than men?
Dream Worlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Video
5 min · Examines the stories contemporary music videos tell about girls and women and encourages viewers to consider how these narratives shape individual and cultural attitudes about sexuality. Illustrated with hundreds of up-to-date images...
9 Out of 10 Teenage Girls Haven't Given Up On This Idea. We Shouldn't Either.
2 min · While the chips are clearly stacked against today’s young girls, amazing women everywhere continue to rise above the stats. You or someone you know is probably one of them.   Sources: Catalyst, The Whit
The Codes of Gender
1 min · Written and directed by MEF Executive Director Sut Jhally, The Codes of Gender applies the late sociologist Erving Goffman's groundbreaking analysis of advertising to the contemporary commercial landscape, showing how one of American...
The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking
3 min · The clock is ticking... See how a 12-year-old girl could be the solution the world needs right now.
Meet the Activist Who Wants Women Everywhere to 'Free the Nipple'
4 min · Most American cities are full of breasts. They are everywhere: On billboards. On storefronts. On 
The Business of Being Born
2 min · Birth: it's a miracle. A rite of passage. A natural part of life. But more than anything, birth is a business. Compelled to find answers after a disappointing birth experience with her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker...
Climate Change Is About...Women
2 min · Climate change is, water, extractivism. Climate change is about...women, in leadership, in unity. Climate change is about...much more than climate change.
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer
2 min · Sundance award-winning documentary which tells the compelling story of how a group of young, feminist punk rockers known as Pussy Riot captured the world's attention by protesting against Putin's Russia. Through first-hand interviews...
The Invisible War
97 min · The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film, a nominee for the 2013 Academy Awards, paints a...
The Black Power MixTape 1967-1975
90 min · Swedish journalists came to the United States to document the anti-war and Black Power movements of the late 60s and early 70s. The Black Power Mixtape combines music, original 16mm footage, and contemporary audio interviews from...
The Colour of Beauty
18 min · Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She’s got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a black model in a world where white women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire black...
8 min · The Revolution has begun. Be a part of it. Spread the love. 
The Gulabi Gang
15 min · In this week's show an homage to women everywhere, a look at the trolls from the Men's Rights Movements and how the Gulabi Gang in India who are beating down rapitsts with big ass sticks. On the music break, Bambu with "The Queen is Dead."
What Ads With Half-Naked Women Look Like When They’re Turned Into Men
4 min · The first part of this clip gets into the sexism and rape culture around advertising, but what really illustrates the point clearly is the last half.
The Fighting F--k Toy and Other Disturbing Hollywood Archetypes that Shape Our Perception of Women
10 min · Want to have a pervasive effect on the subconscious attitudes of our culture? Get into the entertainment business.
Awra Amba: Utopia in Ethiopia
28 min · Men of quality do not fear equality. A message about equality from Awra Amba, the amazing egalitarian village in Northern Ethiopia, where men and women enjoy equality at home and at work.
America the Beautiful
2 min · In a society where "celebutantes" like Paris Hilton dominate newsstands and models who weigh less than 90 pounds die from malnutrition, female body image is one of the more dire problems facing today's society. "America the Beautiful"...
Shatter The Silence
20 min · Shatter the Silence focuses on the processes that occur after one has been raped or sexually assaulted. The film provides a concise look at the legal process: filing formal charges, court appearances, arraignments, etc. It also examines...
23 min · Katalyst follows Katya, an amateur artist and survivor of sexual assault, as she goes on a journey of healing. She comes into contact with other survivors and takes steps with them to overcome the trauma caused by her sexual assault...
Invisible Fight
14 min · Invisible Fight is part documentary and part fictional film, with the focus on highlighting the stupidity and injustice of victim blaming. First-person testimonials of actual survivors of sexual assault are combined with vignettes...
Because You're Worthless - Challenging The Current Economic System in 3 Minutes
3 min · Poem by Agnes Török on the news of a new Conservative budget. Based on experiences of living in Britain under austerity as a young, queer, unemployed, female immigrant student - and not taking it any more. More info...
Caught in Conflict: Women in Pakistan
8 min · Discreet and often in disguise, for five years renowned photojournalist Alixandra Fazzina collected the stories and pictures of women surviving conflict on the borders and in the cities of Pakistan. Now, as fundamentalism spreads across...
Tropes vs Women in Video Games: Women as Background Decoration
61 min · Content Warning: This educational episode contains graphic sexual and violent game footage.
This Woman Broke A 3,000-Year-Old Glass Ceiling. No Wonder There Was Such A Firestorm.
2 min · 3,000 years of Orthodox Judaism and no female rabbi - until now. Sara faced a firestorm within the Jewish community in the Bronx, New York - and throughout the world - when she became a "Rabba."
Every Serena Williams Win Comes with a Side of Racism and Sexism
2 min · Serena Williams is widely regarded as the best female tennis player of all time. But her career has been followed by severe racism and sexism that taps into stereotypes about black women.
Set Her Free
3 min · Three refugee women speak out about their experiences of detention in the UK. This film was first shown in Westminster in January 2014 to launch Women for Refugee Women's report on women asylum seekers and detention. Please go to...
Anarchy Lives: Rojava
8 min · There is place where sex, creed and ethnicity do not harbor division. A place where everyone is military trained so that having a police force becomes obsolete. A place where civilian females, instead of asking for permission, instead...
State of Female Justice: What Makes You Rise?
147 min ·  In LA, February 6, Flanders hosted a live public event, bringing together women from the movements for racial, economic, environmental and media justice to discuss creating gender justice in our world. This State of Female Justice...
Two Spirits (trailer)
2 min · Fred Martinez was one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. Two Spirits explores the life and death of a boy who was also a girl, and the essentially spiritual nature of gender
The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men (trailer)
7 min · In MEF's powerful new release, The Bro Code, filmmaker Thomas Keith takes aim at the forces in male culture that condition boys and men to dehumanize and disrespect women. Keith breaks down a range of contemporary media forms that are...
Mountains That Take Wing: Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama
97 min · MOUNTAINS THAT TAKE WING features conversations that span 13 years between two formidable women whose lives and political work remain at the epicenter of the most important civil rights struggles in the US. Through the intimacy and...
Paradise with Side Effects
40 min · A documentary following two women from Ladakh, a remote region in the Himalayas, on a reality tour of London to see what life in the West is really like. The tour, sponsored by Local Futures, exposes the women to aspects of modern urban...
Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
4 min · Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth is a feature documentary film which tells the compelling story of an extraordinary woman’s journey from her birth in a paper-thin shack in cotton fields of Putnam County, Georgia to her recognition as a key...
Ancient Futures:  Learning From Ladakh
59 min · Ladakh, or 'Little Tibet', is a wildly beautiful desert land high in the Western Himalayas. It is a place of few resources and an extreme climate. Yet for more than 1,000 years, it has been home to a thriving culture. Traditions of...
Inside Her Sex: Where Shame And Sexuality Collide
3 min · While we live in a highly sexualized society, the messaging around female sexuality is distorted and rife with shame. What women should look like, who women should want, what women should fact, who women should be, is...
Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower
5 min · LIVING THINKERS examines the intersection of race, class and gender for Black women professors and administrators working in U.S. colleges and universities today.
Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights
3 min · Where do black women activists fit into the epochal struggles for equality and liberation during the 1960s and 70s? This feature-length documentary unearths the story of black women’s political marginalization—between the male-dominated...
Feminism Inshallah: A History Of Arab Feminism
2 min · The struggle for Muslim women’s emancipation is often portrayed stereotypically as a showdown between Western and Islamic values, but Arab feminism has existed for more than a century. And its unique history is shaped by, and...
Private Violence
3 min · Private Violence explores a simple, but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America is her own home. Every day in the U.S., at least four women are murdered by abusive (and often, ex-) partners.
The Supreme Price
10 min · The Supreme Price is a feature length documentary film that traces the evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Following the annulment of her father's...
Imagine The Most Beautiful Future: What Do You See?
5 min · "Trust is the basis on which life heals. There is no deeper vision than the vision of a world in which trust reigns between all beings."



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