It’s been 30 years since the publication of Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique and the women’s movement is still a vital force in our lives, albeit it one that is easily taken for granted. For a primer on how far we’ve come, and an inspiring look at the women who have made all of our lives a little better, the new 3-hour Makers: Women Who Make America doc on PBS will get you thinking about your own role in history.
We watched MAKERS: Women Who Make America last night and very much like how this new documentary tells the sprawling story of the women’s movement in a succinct fashion, connecting the dots of history by introducing the women who fought for change. MAKERS alternates between tales of the women we know about (from Gloria Steinham to Billy Jean King to Sandra Day O’Connor and Hilary Clinton) to stories about lesser known pioneers whose intuitive decisions to do the right thing were equally important in feminism’s progress: the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, stewardesses who fought age discrimination after being fired from active duty on planes at age 32, the 26 year-old woman who argued Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court, and many more. The documentary, which is narrated by Meryl Streep, includes thoughtful exploration of how feminisim has failed to address important issues of economic inequality that still plague women today, and how subsequent generations have adapted to, and perhaps taken for granted, the radical steps taken by the previous generation. Click for local listings – the show will repeat throughout the month – or, click here to watch the show online.
The ever-complex debate between work and family gets a bump this week with a new book from Sheryl Sandberg, that encourages women to stay in the workplace once they become parents. Here’s a recent New York Times article on Sandberg’s desire to spark a “social movement” of her own.