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Five Documentaries

to Watch


I love a good story. The characters. The setting. The plot. The conflict and resolution. And some of the best and most powerful stories are the true ones.  Below are five documentaries that tell the stories of multiple women: young, old and every age in between, in their journey to overcome all manner of obstacles to achieve their dreams. These are the stories that stay with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I did.

1. The Eagle Huntress

The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, on her journey to become the first female in decades to achieve the status of eagle hunter. Her story, narrated by Daisy Ridley, is played out against the breathtaking backdrop of the frozen Mongolian steppe.

The tradition of eagle hunter has only been handed down from father to son for generations. With the support of her family, she takes on the challenge of competition, a grueling trek into the wilderness and the disapproval of those who believe a girl is not suited for the title of eagle hunter.

I absolutely loved this documentary and Aisholpan’s bravery and spirit is inspiring.

Available on Amazon, Apple TV, etc.

2. Advanced Style

Advanced Style follows the lives of seven New Yorkers who haven’t let their age get in the way of style. Each woman, aged 62 to 95 at the time this charming documentary was filmed, is sassy, spirited and above all, uniquely fashionable.

These ladies give new meaning to the idea that we grow more ourselves as we age. And challenge the notion that self-expression belongs only to the young. I dare you not to fall in love with them.

Available on Amazon, Apple TV, etc.

3. Girl Rising

Narrated by Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington and others, Girl Rising tells the stories of nine amazing girls from all over the world. Each girl has had to face incredible obstacles to break free of traditions and tragedy, but their journeys will inspire you. 

Each girl’s story has been told to a local writer and then voiced by a well-known actress. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming to watch the courage and determination of each girl to chase her dream, regardless of what stands in her way.

Available on Amazon, Apple TV, etc.

4. Period. End of Sentence.

Period. End of Sentence is a 2019 Academy Award-winning Netflix Documentary Short film (30 minutes) and is worth every moment of your time.

It shares the story of the women of Kathikhera, a village outside of New Delhi, India, as they build a business making sanitary napkins. In India, menstruation is considered impure and unclean, with women being barred from all functions and temples. In some areas, they are restricted to huts designed solely for the purpose of housing menstruating women and rely completely on female relatives to bring them food and water.

These women not only are challenging the cultural norms of their country, they are changing the economic balance of power in their own lives.

Available on Netflix, YouTube

5. Half the Sky

Journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn travelled the world as reporters for The New York Times. In their travels, they started to notice the extraordinary struggles women have to overcome: sex trafficking, forced prostitution, genital mutilation, maternal mortality, unchecked rape, obstacles to education.  This film follows Kristof along with celebrity actresses from the US as they explore different regions of the world and their specific struggles, as well as those there who are working to make a difference.

Half the Sky shows how the key to changing the narrative in many of these places is to empower women and girls. The film was produced in two parts in 2012. But the stories remain reflective of the challenges that are ongoing. The pain is poingant and difficult to see.  But the hope is real. 

Available on Amazon, YouTube.

It is so easy to think that my own story is the only story, and to forget that there are so many women and girls in the world who have such different stories of their own to tell. This Women’s History Month, take the time to listen to another story. I promise you will be inspired. And you may even see how you can contribute and change the narrative for a woman or girl somewhere else in the world as well.

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