International Women's Day & Strong Women in Books and Film

Some history on IWD (check out this great site for more details):

The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911 in several European countries. The date of March 8 was chosen because 60 years before, the Prussian king had promised women the vote, only to renege later. Tens of thousands of women across Europe demonstrated for women’s rights. One of the most memorable IWD celebrations occured just a few short years later in Leningrad, 1917. Alexandra Kollontai, an organizer, writes:

“the women of Petrograd began to storm the streets. The wives, daughters and mothers of soldiers, previously as downtrodden and oppressed as prostitutes, demanded an end to their humiliation and angrily denounced all the hungry suffering of the past three years. Gathering strength and passion as they swept through the city over the next few days in food riots, political strikes and demonstrations, these women launched the first revolution in 1917.”

Women today continue to come together on IWD to celebrate and demonstrate for equality, justice, and peace.

In honor of International Women’s Day, I thought I would throw out a short list of my favorite movies and books that feature powerful women or recount struggles and victories women have achieved throughout the centuries. Please add to the list!

Movies:

  • Iron Jawed Angels – (awesome movie about the lengths to which some suffragists went to earn the right to vote. I will never take voting for granted again.)
  • The Piano – (a classic feminist film about a mute woman who enters into an arranged marriage with a New Zealander)
  • Age of Innocence (a film about transgressing societal expectations and mores)

Books:

  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (even though this was published 50 years ago, it still struck a chord with me when I read it last year)
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (fantastic female characters in an Old Testament setting)
  • Jane Eyre (I know some hate this book because of the problematic actions of Rochester, but I still love it. Jane’s implacable insistance on dignity, respect, and equality make me love her.)
  • Women and Authority: Reemerging Mormon Feminism (rocked my world when I read this a few years ago. My view of Mormon women’s past – and present – will never be the same.)

Other blog threads on International Women’s Day:

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women’s Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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