Every August 26, the US celebrates Women’s Equality Day to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. However, for many people this day offers a reason to talk about much more than voting rights — it’s an opportunity to shine a light on how women are still not treated the same as men on several other fronts. Just ask the US women’s national soccer team…
Here are 8 movies featuring women — both real and fictional — who’ve made their mark on the fight for equality.
RBG – Both men and women of this country owe a huge debt to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (aka “RBG”), who in her early legal career famously argued Supreme Court cases for both men and women who faced sex‐based bias. This documentary covers her lifelong fight against gender‐based discrimination and how it led to her becoming the second female ever appointed to the Supreme Court.
On the Basis of Sex – This biopic stars Felicity Jones as Ginsburg and focuses largely on both the sex discrimination she faced in her early academic and professional career, as well as the sex discrimination tax law case that she and her husband Martin (Armie Hammer) won while representing a male client. Incredibly, that landmark case ultimately ended up changing the arc of the women’s rights movement in the United States and led to several other discriminatory laws being struck down.
The Best of Enemies – In this heartwarming and downright amazing true story, we see another side of the fight for equality when civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) and a KKK leader (Sam Rockwell) decide to work together on the many complex problems stemming from racism in Durham, North Carolina.
Long Shot – Switching over to fictional stories, when US Secretary of State Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) sees an opportunity cap off her lifelong political career with a run for president, she leans on her childhood friend Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) as her speechwriter. While there’s lots of laughs with this unlikely duo, what stuck with me most was the film’s frankness about the double standards that exist for women in politics.
Widows – Women can be equally effective criminals, too! In this heist thriller, Viola Davis leads a team of women who attempt to break into a prominent Chicago politician’s house and steal $5 million after their (also criminal) husbands all perish in a getaway gone wrong. It’s filled with twists, turns and lots of girl power.
Black Panther – Sorry, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), but it was the women of Wakanda that stole the show in this billion‐dollar blockbuster that went on to become the first superhero movie to ever earn a Best Picture nomination. Tech goddess Shuri (Letitia Wright) and lethal warrior Okoye (Danai Gurira) became instant fan favorites, inspiring millions of girls and women around the planet in the process, and rewriting what it means to be a female character in a male‐focused superhero film.
Wonder Woman – This rousing 2017 adaptation of the beloved DC comic book series was not only the first female‐led superhero film in a decade, but also the first superhero film to have a female director, ever. And movie‐going audiences couldn’t get enough of Diana (Gal Gadot), the immortal Amazonian warrior princess who leaves the hidden island where she grew up in order to stop Ares, the god of war, from wreaking havoc. Good thing we have at least two more Wonder Woman sequels to look forward to!
Captain Marvel – And finally we come to Marvel’s first‐ever female‐led superhero film. Took ya long enough, guys! The backstory of how Air Force pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) became the most powerful superhero our planet’s ever seen quickly earned the title of the first female‐led superhero movie to rake in more than $1 billion.
What movie will you be watching to celebrate Women’s Equality Day?