International Women's Day

Misbehaviour
Misbehaviour

This year's theme for International Women's Day is ‘Choose to Challenge'. Each year this calendar date celebrates the strides in gender equality and highlights the barriers still very much in place in society. Challenging patriarchy and authority does not need to be big in scale, the small actions we take in our daily lives can make a big impact too, such as speaking up for ourselves or in support of someone else. The films on this list depict stories that highlight how inequality manifests and features characters from different walks of life who, in their own ways, overcome challenges and subvert expectations. This includes primary titles that are accessible for primary audiences and which depict young girls as inspiring and courageous lead characters. The list also includes key historical figures who fought against prejudice and oppression and whose life's work made fundamental changes across many arenas.

Long Way North

CertPG

Age group5–11

Duration81 mins

Long Way North(2015)

Animated adventure about a noble Russian teen who sets out on a voyage to track down her grandfather, whose ship was lost en route to the North Pole.

With a female writing team behind the story, this adventure features a determined young woman who refuses to conform to the expectations of high society. Instead, Sasha is inspired to follow in her explorer grandfather’s footsteps. Despite the difficulty being accepted as the lone female in an all-male ship’s crew, Sasha proves herself a valuable member of the team.

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When Marnie Was There

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

When Marnie Was There(2014)

A shy girl sent to the country to recover from asthma discovers an abandoned mansion and begins to explore its mysteries with her new friend Marnie.

This charming final offering from Studio Ghibli, who frequently centre their stories around curious girls, focuses on the power of female friendship. While shy and complex Anna isn’t the easiest girl to get on with, her mysterious new-found friend Marnie helps her to come out of her shell.

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Moana

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

Moana(2016)

A courageous teenager follows in the footsteps of her ancestors in sailing across the Oceanic seas, accompanied by the demi-god called Maui.

This adventure celebrates the power of the ocean to connect as well as divide, and offers a new kind of Disney princess – Moana, the one chosen to conquer the seas once again after her island begins to suffer from lack of food. Brave, strong, and with the knack for navigation in her blood, Moana is the real hero in this story, although demi-god Maui offers a little help.

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The Eagle Huntress

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration87 mins

The Eagle Huntress(2016)

Inspiring documentary about a 13 year-old girl seeking to defy tradition and become an eagle hunter in her isolated Mongolian community.

Historically, sports has been been a male-dominated arena and this is also the case for eagle hunting, a sport that takes place in Mongolia by the Kazakh community. Determined to be the first female eagle hunter to compete, Aisholpan follows in the footsteps of her ancestors, breaking away from traditions and opening up a new path for other young girls.

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April and the Extraordinary World

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration106 mins

April and the Extraordinary World(2015)

In a smoggy steam-powered Paris, young scientist April is trying to finish her parents’ project to invent an invincibility serum.

Based on a graphic novel, this thrilling adventure set in an alternate version of the past explores the power of science to alter history, and features an inspiring hero in the character of April, a talented young scientist on the run from people who want to seize her valuable knowledge.

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Wadjda

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration96 mins

Wadjda(2012)

A sweet and uplifting story about ten-year-old girl Wadjda who refuses to let the fact she's a girl stop her from doing the things she wants to do.

Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, who became the first woman to release a film in Saudi Arabia, this film also looks at what it takes to break society's rules on the lives of young girls and women. Although 10-year-old Wadjda is told she cannot ride a bike or play with boys, she is determined to proof those around her wrong, in this thoughtful drama.

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Akeelah and The Bee

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration108 mins

Akeelah and The Bee(2006)

Inspiring and uplifting movie about an impoverished child who discovers an exceptional spelling talent.

Akeelah is a bright 11-years-old at a predominantly Black school who is encouraged by the headteacher to sign up for a spelling bee competition. Unable to see her own potential at first she refuses to take part, but with the encouragement of a mentor she finds her confidence and starts to believe in her ability to do everything she sets her mind to.

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Frozen

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

Frozen(2013)

Snow-filled and funny Disney adventure inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's icy fairytale, The Snow Queen.

This hugely popular Disney tale, written and directed by Jennifer Lee, features sisters Anna and Elsa, who grow apart when Elsa’s magical powers become too powerful for her to control. However, in this adventure it’s revealed that sisterly love will find a way, especially when the leaders of neighbouring towns try to take advantage of the sisters’ unusual situation…

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Offside

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration87 mins

Offside(2006)

Warm and original Iranian film about a group of girls prohibited from entering a football stadium who will do whatever it takes to get in.

This refreshing comedy from Iran sees a group of girls who love football and are desperate to see a World Cup qualifying match in Tehran. With women banned from entering all football matches this is no easy feat, but determined, they try every possible trick to make their dream a reality.

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Harriet

Cert12A

Age group11+

Duration125 mins

Harriet(2019)

Biopic of American abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman who escaped from slavery and freed many through the Underground Railroad.

Harriet Tubman is arguably one of the most influential figures in the fight for human rights, as an abolitionist and key leader in Civil Rights and women's suffrage. This account of her life provides insight into some of her life, notably her time as a slave and later on her rescue missions of enslaved people through the Underground Railroad

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Their Finest

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration117 mins

Their Finest(2016)

During World War Two, a young woman discovers she has an inspiring way with words when she is taken on as a scriptwriter for propaganda films.

The underrepresentation of women in the film and television remains an issue and a fraction of this issue could be the little we know about the women who played a pivotal role in the industry. This delightful comedy is inspired by the women who worked as scriptwriters when space became more accessible to them during World War Two.

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He Named Me Malala

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration87 mins

He Named Me Malala(2015)

Inspirational documentary about equal education advocate Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel peace prize.

Targeted for speaking out against the prevention of girls from attending school, Malala survived an attack on her life and went on to become one of the youngest and most well-known advocates of education and women’s rights, whose incredible achievements are a global inspiration.

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The Perfect Candidate

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration104 mins

The Perfect Candidate(2019)

A female doctor in Saudi Arabia decides to run for office in the local elections to raise awareness of several issues.

Politics and gender are mutually examined in this Saudi Arabian drama that looks at all the challenges faced by a doctor despite her expertise. When rejection continues, she decides to run for the local elections. This motivating story is about the need for more possibilities for women and can be used as a starting point to discuss gender in the Middle East.

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Sonita

CertPG

Age group14+

Duration91 mins

Sonita(2015)

Documentary about Sonita, a young Afghan rapper determined to make her voice heard in spite of the repressive society she criticises in her lyrics.

Sonita is a refugee and aspiring rapper who discovers that even in her adopted country speaking out as a woman is unacceptable. Given support by the documentary’s director Roksareh Ghaemmaghami, she finds the opportunity to escape a predetermined fate as a teenage bride and connect with an audience that appreciates, rather than condemns, her words.

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Misbehaviour

Cert12

Age group14–16

Duration106 mins

Misbehaviour(2020)

Based on real incidents surrounding the 1970 Miss World pageant in London, a group of activists hatch a plan to disrupt the event.

Often an overlooked event in British history, this film is an entry point to the conversations on gender and race taking place in the UK during the 70s. Hugely entertaining and with nods to ongoing issues, the film asks questions on the role of feminism and could be used to open a discussion on the issues of centering the experiences of White women.

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Rocks

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration91 mins

Rocks(2019)

After suddenly being abandoned by their mother, a young girl must care for her little brother on the streets with the support of her new friends.

Written in collaboration with young girls from London, this wonderful film looks at the life of a teenage girl after she is left to look after her little brother without any help from adults, is an intimate and realistic look at friendship and the way class and race impacts everyone from a young age, as well as the possibilities available in community.

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Support the Girls

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration90 mins

Support the Girls(2018)

A day in the life of Lisa, a manager of a “sports bar with curves”, as she tries to look after the well-being of both her staff and herself.

This tender and light-hearted comedy follows Lisa, a bar manager trying to juggle her personal life with the dramas brought in by customers and her staff. Gently depicting the emotional labour women must navigate in the workplace, the film is also a celebration of kindness and care and the need for these qualities to be more highly awarded.

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