A great way to educate yourself on women’s issues during Women’s History Month in March is to watch an entertaining and informative movie that highlights strong, independent, and confident women. There are so many from which to choose, available across all major streaming sites. We have curated a list of great films worth watching, each of which celebrates the many accomplishments of women over the decades in its own unique way while also highlighting how far we still have to go.
Looking for more inspiring content to watch? We’ve also rounded up the best shows to stream for Women’s History Month.
Whether you agree with Greta Thunberg’s stance or not, there’s no denying that she is an inspiration for young girls and women growing up in these trying times who have felt like they can’t make a difference. She was an outspoken climate change activist at just 15 when she began her crusade. In this documentary, viewers follow the teenager as she works to raise awareness about climate change and discuss what she believes needs to be done to combat it. Inspiring and educational, it’s a worthwhile watch this month about a young woman who proved that gender or age is not a barrier to speaking out.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Stars: Greta Thunberg
Director: Nathan Grossman
Runtime: 97 minutes
In modern-day times, when you think of the fight for women’s rights, one of the first people who come to find, if not the first, is the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The movie, which is also among the best documentaries on Hulu, takes you through Ginsburg’s multi-decade career as long-time Supreme Court Justice, only the second female ever to hold the position, and her rise to fame around the world. An outspoken advocate against gender discrimination, with regard to both men and women, the documentary includes interviews with other feminist icons like Gloria Steinem. Even in her 80s, Ginsburg became a pop culture icon with legions of fans of all ages and genders, and the movie delves into how that celebrity status came to be.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jame Ginsburg, James Steven Ginsburg, Nina Totenberg, Clara Spera, Gloria Steinem
Director: Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Runtime: 97 minutes
Fresh off a Golden Globe win for lead actor Andra Day, this biographical film, based on the Johann Hari book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, tells the tumultuous story of singer Billie Holiday. As the talented performer rose to fame in the ’40s, her controversial song Strange Fruit, which protested the lynching of Black Americans, frightened the establishment, drew the ire of the government, and has widely been considered a precursor to the beginning of the civil rights movement. A story about a woman who penned and sung such powerful lyrics is an inspirational one to watch any day, but particularly this month.
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Stars: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Garrett Hedlund
Director: Lee Daniels
Runtime: 130 minutes
In 1972, Brooklyn, New York, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress and went on to pursue a nomination for president, marking yet another first. Not willing to back down from a fight, Chisholm was determined to succeed and adopted the campaign slogan “Unbought and Unbossed,” which perfectly represented her journey. A brave woman and Black citizen, Chisholm is a female figure from history who is worth celebrating. Her story, told through this documentary, serves as an inspiration for young girls to this day.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Amiri Baraka, Susan Brownmiller, Octavia Butler, Shirley Chisholm, Ron Dellums, Walter Fauntroy
Director: Shola Lynch
Runtime: 77 minutes
Despite having discovered both polonium and radium, Marie Curie could not get funding for her research simply because she was a woman. After marrying Pierre Curie and discovering radioactivity, Marie Curie continued to live in the shadows as her husband was credited with the discovery that revolutionized the world of physics and chemistry. It’s a biographical drama that chronicles the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of a woman who eventually got the credit she deserved for developing life-saving innovations, from a mobile unit that was used to X-ray men during the war to the creation of radiotherapy.
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Stars: Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Aneurin Barnard, Anya Taylor-Joy
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Runtime: 109 minutes
As the first feature film to be shot in the Houses of Parliament, this British historical drama tells the story of women’s suffrage in the U.K. Set in the early 1900s, at the heart of the story is 24-year-old laundry worker Maud (Carey Mulligan), who gets caught up in protests, which causes neighbors, co-workers, and her husband to shun her. Despite the consequences, however, Maud continues her fight, becoming a more vocal advocate for women’s rights. While it’s a dramatization of real events, the movie provides a good education on an important part of women’s history.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, Meryl Streep
Director: Sarah Gavron
Runtime: 106 minutes
Hidden Figures (2016)
Little attention had been paid to the trio of Black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race until this film and Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction book of the same name brought them to light. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson all had critical roles in helping carry out successful missions at NASA, yet they were hit with roadblocks at every turn, not only because of their gender but also their race. It’s an inspiring film that highlights the importance of these women in shaping history and one you can watch with your kids to teach them that STEM career paths aren’t just for men.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons
Director: Theodore Melfi
Runtime: 127 minutes
Looking for an inspiring movie you can watch with kids for Women’s History Month? This fantasy-adventure-drama, a live-action adaptation of the 1998 animated film, tells the story of a young girl who disguises herself as a man so she can take her father’s place as a warrior, fighting off the Rouran army. Based on the Chinese folklore ballad The Ballad of Mulan, the story of a young girl’s rise from adventurous child to fierce warrior is one anyone can get behind.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Stars: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Ron Yuan, Gong Li, Jet Li
Director: Niki Caro
Runtime: 115 minutes
Go way back and enjoy some laughs this month with this comedy that starred Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton as working women who band together to take down their sexist boss. The film, which was a box office success, spawned a TV series spin-off and helped launch Parton’s singing career. Not only will you get a lighthearted look at some fierce and determined characters who define the ’80s and the women’s working movement, shoulder pads and all, but the theme song has become a working woman’s anthem of sorts.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman, Elizabeth Wilson, Sterling Hayden
Director: Colin Higgins
Runtime: 110 minutes
While the movie itself does not focus on women and their achievements per se, it’s an important one to watch because its creation represents a milestone in modern-day history. The war thriller, which received nine Academy Award nominations and won six, remains the only film directed by a woman to win Best Picture and Best Director. Kathryn Bigelow opened doors for female directors in the industry who had, until then, gone largely unrecognized for their talent and work. The movie itself is about an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal team and the different ways each of the men deals psychologically with the stress of combat. The intense and emotional subject matter, not to mention the explosive action, was superbly directed by Bigelow and is a must-see.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Guy Pearce
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Runtime: 131 minutes
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