Women's History Month

Women’s History Month - Movements and Movies

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, began in the early 1900s. In 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York City demanding better working conditions, and voting rights. In 1911, thousands rallied for women’s rights on the same day in several European countries, marking the first International Women’s Day. Some say the day kicked off the February Revolution in Russia in 1917. But no one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network, or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere, including WIFSFBA. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist, and activist once explained "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." 

The following three films describe essential international women's movements that changed history.

On the Fence

The Chipko movement in the hills of the Himalayas consisted of women and men who protested logging companies in 1973 in order to save their forests, on which they depended for survival.

Known today as the original “tree huggers,” these hill dwellers put their bodies on the line to combat deforestation.

As a result of the movement, their forest area was declared off limits for logging, and a 10-year ban on felling trees was imposed. Not only that, Chipko reforestation techniques are significantly more successful than those of non-native tree-planters. “Chipkos have never needed to hug a tree. The mere threat of the word has been sufficient.” Their work puts humans at the center of nature, and remains a model of eco-sustainability

On the Fence is a half-hour documentary on the Chipko movement.

The Long Friday

In 1975 90% of Iceland’s women went on strike for women’s equality. Today, they have achieved it. The Long Friday is a film by Pamela Hogan that tells the inspiring true story of 12 hours that sparked a revolution. 

See the Long Friday film trailer.

Learn more about the film on their Women Make Movies webpage.

Mothers of the Revolution

Known as the women of Greenham Common, this anti-nuke movement was started by a mother in 1981 who was outraged by the “duck and cover” exercises that her kids were taught in school. These women sparked international attention that started the demise of the Cold War.

See the “Mothers of the Revolution” film trailer

Watch the full film: Mothers of the Revolution

Amy Harrison is a director, creative producer and WIFSFBA board member.