Despite living in the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, turning on the TV to a female-directed movie, or one with a strong feminist message, is harder than it should be. For this reason, I’ve compiled a list of 10 empowering, moving and inspiring feminist movies for you to watch, whether you’re looking for something to play at movie night with your feminist fight club, or looking to become educated on gender inequality the many issues women face around the globe.
1. Freedom Writers
In the first movie on our list, a young teacher working in a racially-divided Los Angeles school, Erin Gruwell, inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, take an interest in their education and planning their future.
2. The Beauty Academy of Kabul
In this 2006 documentary, a group of volunteer hairstylists arrives in war-torn, post-Taliban Afghanistan, where they open the first beauty school for Afghan women.
3. He Named Me Malala
He Named Me Malala looks at the events leading up to the Taliban’s attack on Pakistan schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai after she spoke out on girls’ education, as well as the aftermath and her speech to the UN.
Award-winning drama Difret tells the story of a lawyer who arrives in an Ethiopian village to defend a 14 year old girl, on trial for the murder of her would-be husband who had practiced one of the nation’s oldest traditions: abduction into marriage.
5. Iron Jawed Angels
This historical drama, directed by German filmmaker Katja von Garnier, follows a group of young activists during the 1917 Women’s Suffrage movement, who put their lives on the line for women’s right to vote.
6. The Eagle Huntress
In The Eagle Huntress, Aishol-pan, a 13-year-old girl, trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, breaking a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.
7. The Color Purple
In this tale spanning over forty years in her life, an African-American woman from the South struggles to find her identity after suffering years of abuse from her father and others.
This 2007 film focuses on the friendship between two women, one who is Orthodox Jewish and one who is Muslim, who meet as new teachers in a Brooklyn school, later learning they are both going through arranged marriages.
9. A Powerful Noise
This movie tells the stories of three inspiring women who fight against ignorance, poverty, oppression, and ethnic strife. It introduces viewers to Hanh, an HIV-positive widow from Vietnam; Nada, a survivor of the recent Bosnia civil war; and Urbain, an advocate for girls’ rights in Mali.
10. Makers: Women Who Make America
Makers: Women Who Make America is a 2013 documentary, narrated by Meryl Streep, that discusses women’s contributions to some of the most important moments in the history of the United States.
Emotion is an important part of education and changing behaviors, and the world of cinema has long been used to move, inspire and awaken. I hope you will allow these movies to do that – make you cry, laugh, call your mom and tell her you appreciate her, scream at the injustices happening on your screen – and then I hope you’ll take that emotion, and channel it into something that ensures what you saw will, from now on, only live on your TV screen. You can create change, and it all starts with education and emotion, and one of the movies on this list.