International Women's Day Resources

04 Mar 2021 in Using Film to Teach...

5 mins
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Rocks Image

International Women's Day takes place in March every year and is a celebration of strides made in women's rights as well as an acknowledgement of issues that still need to be addressed. This year's theme is 'Choose to Challenge' and it encourages discussion and taking action on what we can all do to stand up against inequality.

This page links to films and resources that can be used to spark discussion on key moments in women's rights history or to reflect on how sexism and oppressive rules play a role in everyday life and what can be done to challenge and empower ourselves and others.

Film Lists

A valuable place to start is looking through the various titles in the International Women's Day film list. Selected to coincide with the theme of 'Choose to Challenge', this list contains cinematic takes on real-life events that advanced women's rights. The list also includes relatable stories, varying from comedies to political dramas, which feature characters that defy what is expected of them due to their gender and who unite with others to overcome hurdles placed on them. The films in this list are suitable for a range of ages and are accessible entry points into discussing the meaning of patriarchy, sexism and the meanings of feminism. Our Female Filmmakers list also includes more diverse viewing material that can also be used to discuss the role of women filmmakers behind the camera. 

Film Guides

Our informal film discussion guides are a great way to take a closer look at a film and its themes. These contain both pre and post-film questions, as well as extension activities and suggestions of titles to watch next. These can be utilised alongside screenings at film clubs, in classrooms or one-to-one during home learning.

We have selected three film guides for primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary audiences but more guides can be found in the film lists or content attached below:

The Eagle Huntress

This documentary follows a young Kazakh girl following her dream of competing in an eagle hunting competition despite it being a sport that has traditionally only been practiced by men. The film guide explores topics such as tradition, how gender plays a role within small communities and a discussion on what the film's message might be. The extension activity encourages students to find commonalities with communities they may not be familiar with.

Their Finest

This enjoyable comedy is inspired by the women who worked behind the scenes in the making of propaganda films during World War Two and sees a talented scriptwriter in a key role in the British ministry of information despite her male colleagues' reductive tendencies. The film guide explores topics such as women's roles in society, propaganda and the extension activity includes a link to our International Women's Day assembly which focuses on the representation of women in the film industry and on screen.

Rocks

This refreshing depiction of friendship and growing up follows a young girl who must lean on her best friends when her mother leaves home and is left to look after her little brother. The film guide explores topics such as the representation of young girls on screen, the use of social media and mental health. The extension activity focuses on the difficult issues the lead character experiences and encourages students to think about what they may do in similar circumstances.

Youth Made Films

We're always looking to spotlight more of the youth made films that feature in our filmmaking competitions, most significantly Film of the Month (FOTM), which accepts any type of film at any time of the year from 5-19 year-olds. The brilliant and eclectic range of short films below explore important themes related to International Women's Day, such as breaking new ground, accepting yourself and dealing with sexual harassment.

Dreams of Mars - This FOTM winner for November 2020 is an inspiring stop-motion short that sees a young woman fulfil her dreams of travelling to Mars with an all-women astronaut crew.

The Search - FOTM winner in September 2018, this brilliant all-female homage to the silent films of Buster Keaton was created to celebrate the centenary of women gaining the right to vote and was extensively covered by us in a follow-up profile.

Stolen Skin (Please note: this film contains themes more appropriate for older audiences) - A FOTM winner in March 2020, the film is a collage of visuals and narration that tells multiple stories of sexual harassment.

Lady in Red - A runner-up for FOTM in July 2020, Lady in Red addresses an issue that many young women deal with - accepting yourself the way you are.

In the Deep End - Another runner-up in the same month, this documentary follows the story of a young swimmer Evelyn Davis and how she copes with external pressures.

Strike (Please note: This film has a domestic abuse theme, and contains repeated scenes of emotional and physical domestic abuse) - A final runner-up from what was clearly a uniquely strong month in July, Strike follows seven-year old Emily who is greatly affected by the unhealthy relationship between her parents and goes about her day-to-day life remembering the physical and emotional abuse that happens in her home. Emily feels trapped but will her mother find the courage to escape?

This Article is part of: Using Film to Teach...

A series of articles that highlight how the medium of film can be used to teach a wide variety of subjects and themes.

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