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Add These Films About Women In The Fight For Civil And Human Rights To Your Watch List

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Jan. 15 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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Women have been leading liberation movements as warriors, healers, caregivers, and leaders. As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let’s take a look at the stories of women who are at the forefront of human rights and liberation movements around the world. These five films capture their stories of bravery and resilience. 

Period. End of Sentence.

Where To Watch:Netflix

Access to safe and sanitary menstrual health products should be a right, but for many menstruating people around the world, it is a luxury. A group of women in Hapur, India share their struggle in a quiet sexual revolution captured in the documentary Period. End of Sentence.

In India, as well as many other parts of the world, the topic of menstruation is taboo. Periods are taught about and discussed with an air of shame and secrecy. But the lack of access to pads and other menstrual hygiene products are leading to health issues and a decline in education among girls. So village women are pushing aside cultural norms and taking matters into their own hands.

He Named Me Malala

Where To Watch:Prime Video

This film is an inspiring and empowering documentary about a young woman who needs no introduction. Malala Yousefzai is an activist and a Nobel Peace Prize winner who grew up in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. She captured the hearts of the entire world when at age 15 when she was confronted and shot by members of the Taliban for advocating for young girls’ right to education. This documentary highlights the events leading up to that fateful day and catches up with her amazing accomplishments since then.

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9to5: The Story of A Movement

Where To Watch:Netflix

9to5 was an organization of female office workers in the 1970s who fought for better pay, more opportunities and an end to workplace sexual harassment in the U.S. This film includes recent interviews with activists and footage from the time to highlight the sexist work conditions that led to the start of the movement and how these women forced the country to pay attention. It also provides a great reflection on how far (or not so far) labor movements and women’s rights have come in workplaces across America.

End of the Line: Women of Standing Rock

Where To watch:Peacock

This powerful documentary highlights a group of indigenous women who are risking their lives to stop the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline which desecrates their sacred sites and threatens their land, water and sovereignty.

These women show what it means to persevere even at the cost of losing everything. They show that history is not in the past, but it is happening as we speak, and we have the power to shape it for the better.

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Naila And The Uprising

Where To Watch:Plex

This film takes place in the late 1980s during the First Intifada, a liberation movement in occupied Palestinian territories. It tells the story of a young woman, Naila Ayesh, as she navigates love, family and freedom under Israeli occupation alongside a fierce community of Palestinian women.

This film uses a mix of beautiful animation, intimate interviews and haunting archival footage to show a side of Palestinian history that often goes ignored. It shows what liberation movements can achieve when women lead.

Bonus: Not Done: Women Remaking America

Where To Watch:PBS America

This film offers snapshots into the women’s movement including insights on women leading the charge for the #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and other major initiatives that have gone global.

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By: Bareerah Zafar

Bareerah Zafar is a journalist based in Southern California. On top of her freelance reporting, she works as a beauty editor for Parachute Media. Zafar dedicates her career to empowering underrepresented communities through storytelling.

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