This International Women’s Day, treat yourself to women-centric documentaries that are inspiring and revolutionary. These documentaries help not only to delve into women’s issues but also to celebrate their accomplishments. In February 2019, Indian-origin documentary on menstruation ‘Period. End of Sentence.’ won the Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category at the 91st Academy Awards. The film is set in rural India and is inspired by real-life Pad Man Arunachalam Muruganantham.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, here are 10 documentaries on women you can binge watch.
Period. The End of Sentence
This documentary is a must on the list. Directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and set in Hapur in India, the documentary talks about menstruation, taboos associated with it and how a group of women tackle the issue of hygiene during menstruation. The documentary shows how women in the village learn to operate a low-cost and biodegradable machine that makes sanitary pads.
The documentary is about the Gulabi Gang, a group of fiery women headed by Sampat Pal. The women in the gang take up the fight against gender violence, caste oppression and widespread corruption. The movement initially started at Bundelkhand and was later spread across North India. The documentary has received the Best Film on Social Issues, and the Best Non-Feature Film editing at the 61st National Film Awards.
Driving with Selvi
The Canadian documentary film is based on the life of South India’s first taxi driver named Selvi. ‘Driving with Selvi’ showcases her journey from a child bride in a violent marriage to becoming South India’s first female taxi driver. The story highlights the challenges of thousands of women in India face.
The Forgotten Woman
The 2008 Canadian documentary is directed by Dilip Mehta and directed by Deepa Mehta. Inspired by Deepa Mehta’s film ‘Water’, the documentary is shot in Varanasi and is about widows in India.
The Holy Wives
The documentary explores the life of Devadasis of Karnataka, Mahatammas of Andhra Pradesh and Bedinis of Madhya Pradesh. ‘The Holy Wives’ showcases how women are sexually exploited in the name of religion and how they dream of a dignified life of their children.
The documentary ‘Mango Girls’ focuses on a village on Bihar called Dharhara where villagers plant ten mango saplings every time a girl is born. The village is not only progressive but eco-friendly too.
The World Before Her
The documentary ‘The World Before Her’ explores the complex and conflicting life of young women in India by profiling two young girls – one who aspires to become Miss India and the other a Hindu nationalist with Durga Vahini. The documentary showcases two shades of the country – a modern one that breaks several cultural rules while on the other hand culture is so deeply rooted that they are working hard to protect it.
Directed by Leslee Udwin for BBC’s Storyville, ‘India’s Daughter’ is based on the 2012 Delhi rape case and murder of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, a physiotherapy student. The film was scheduled to release in India on March 8, 2015, but the broadcast was prohibited in India after an excerpt of the film was released. The excerpt included an interview of Mukesh Singh, one of the four men convicted of rape and murder. The film was released outside India and was uploaded on YouTube. Later, the Indian government ordered YouTube to block the video in India.
Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyan
The bold and powerful documentary features stories of women who fought against Khaps and exposes the hypocrisy of modern-India. ‘Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyan’ shows how uncomfortable patriarchal India is when a woman dares to go beyond the so-called boundaries set by society.
Beyond Women’s Stereotypes
‘Beyond Women’s Stereotypes’ showcases how television portrays images of women and how in reality it is different. Indian television most of the times showcases stereotypical images of women, breaking which invokes the anger of the society.