26 August of every year commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted women the right to vote. It was first celebrated in 1972. In 1973, the U.S. Congress officially recognized August 26 as women’s equality day. As a reminder to women around the globe to have their voices heard and opinions expressed, we have combined a list of powerful movies about women fighting for the right to vote.
26 August 2020 will mark 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote.
Suffragette is the story of a young working mother who is galvanized into radical political activism supporting the right for women to vote. The movie is a historical period drama that looks at the English Suffragette movement and was written using original testimonies. Suffragette stars Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter with Meryl Streep as real-life civil rights leader Emmeline Pankhurst. In 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst founded Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and became the most prominent of British suffragettes.
Watch Suffragete here.
2. Iron Jawed Angels
Iron Jawed Angels takes its name from Massachusetts Representative Joseph Walsh who, in 1917, declared that creating a committee to consider women’s suffrage would be to yield to the “nagging of iron-jawed angels”. In this HBO produced film, Hilary Swank stars as Alice Paul and chronicles her work with Lucy Burns in the final fight to pass the 19th Amendment that would allow American women the right to vote.
Watch Iron Jawed Angels here.
3. The 19th Amendment: A Women’s Right To Vote
Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment this month by learning how it came to pass from Annenberg Classroom’s award-winning video The 19th Amendment: A Woman’s Right to Vote, which encompasses women’s long struggle to secure the right to vote. It’s not a film, but this video about the more-than-70-year struggle vividly depicts the roles of key figures such as Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt. It also recounts the surprising role played by a 24-year-old Tennessee legislator named Harry T. Burn and his mother.
4. The Divine Order
Marie Leuenberger stars as Nora in the 2017 film The Divine Order, directed by Petra Volpe, courtesy Zeitgeist Films. The movie is about a young Swiss housewife who organizes the women of her town to petition for the right to vote. This film is clever, funny and a great look into the shifting power dynamics between men and women that took place in the 1970s.
Watch The Divine Order here.
5. Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony
Master documentary filmmaker Ken Burns created this film in 1999 based on the biography of pioneering women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her political partner Susan B. Anthony. The film is about the greatest untold chapters in American history where Stanton and Anthony struggled ceaselessly for more than 50 years to organize a movement for basic rights that would not be won until after their deaths. Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony is the story of two passionate women and their struggle to achieve the right to vote.
Watch it here
More About Women’s Eqaulity Day
This day marks a turning point in the history of the struggle for equal treatment of women and their rights. This act stopped the federal government and states from preventing people from the right to vote based on their sex. Every year, the president reads a proclamation, noting the amazing work of trailblazers in the movement.
In 2016, President Obama’s Proclamation read, in part: “Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this hard-won achievement and pay tribute to the trailblazers and suffragists who moved us closer to a more just and prosperous future, we resolve to protect this constitutional right and pledge to continue fighting for equality for women and girls“.
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