Socialist Worker

Documenting the struggles for women’s rights

by Sarah Creagh
Issue No. 2191

Women is a three part documentary beginning on International Women’s Day, looking at the women’s liberation movement from the 1970s to today.

The first part, “Libbers”, focuses on the feminist movement of the 1970s, illustrating how it helped to transform women’s lives.

The documentary then looks at the consequences for mothers and, in the final part, the story of young feminist activists today.

Engles uses some archive footage but the documentary is mainly made up of contemporary interviews with leading figures from the movement.

They represent a range of political positions and also reveal the different areas of women’s lives on which the movement had an effect.

The programme charts how the movement flourished and developed.

Women protested outside Miss America pageants, demanded abortion rights and developed ideas about women’s sexuality and place within society.

The documentary gives the viewer a strong impression of the anger felt by women.

However, the programme looks at the feminist movement in isolation from the other struggles going on at the time. It does not place the movement and the changes won within a wider political context.

Because only the “leaders” of the movement, like Germaine Greer, are interviewed, the story of how much this movement affected the lives of ordinary working women is referred to but not told.

The women all conclude that there is still a lot to fight for – and that there is a need for a new movement.

Directed by Vanessa Engles
9pm, Monday 8 March, BBC4

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Article information

Tue 2 Mar 2010, 18:07 GMT
Issue No. 2191
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