The forgotten history of women’s movements showcased in documentary

 The Women's Center hosted a film series in the Student Union on Monday, Mar. 19 on the history of women's momvements in the United States. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The Women's Center hosted a film series in the Student Union on Monday, Mar. 19 on the history of women's momvements in the United States. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The history of women’s movements in the United States is often forgotten, but the University of Connecticut Women’s Center sought to change that by hosting a screening of the documentary “Makers: Women Who Make America”.

“Makers” is a three part documentary series released by the Public Broadcasting Service in 2013. The series takes a focus on women’s rights movements in the United States during the latter half of the twentieth century.

The Women’s Center will be showing all three parts of the “Makers” documentary this March in honor of Women’s History Month. The documentary discussed important events in women’s “herstory” like media representation, reproductive rights, representation of women in politics and the Equal Rights Amendment. “Makers” showed the struggle that these women had to endure in order to create the world we live in now.

Women in politics was a significant point of the film, which highlights not only important female politicians but how women’s movements changed United States policy. The documentary discussed the importance of birth control, Roe vs. Wade, Title IX and female politicians such as Patricia Schroeder and Shirley Chisholm as instrumental in the fight for gender equality.

Kathy Fischer, the Associate Director of the University of Connecticut Women’s Center, believes that it’s important to talk about the history of women’s movements in the United States, particularly because it is often not taught in school.

“These films give a really good context to the importance of the contributions women have made particularly at the end of the twentieth century and into the beginning of the twenty first century,” said Fischer, “a lot of times… we don’t learn these things in school, but they’re really important changes that have been made by women.”

Eighth semester English major and Daily Campus employee John Lawlor said heenjoyed learning about the struggle for women’s equality, especially the pushback against the Equal Rights Movement. “It covered a lot of things I was never taught,” Lawlor said, “I think that’s really important, that’s a huge movement that I had no idea about. The kickback against the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) was really interesting because I see the same parallel today.”

The Equal Rights Amendment was an amendment that would have made it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone because of their sex. The amendment was almost ratified, but anti ERA activists gained enough momentum to stop it before it was passed. The documentary mentioned that in fighting the Equal Rights Amendment, Stop ERA activist Phyllis Schlafly could have been labeled as a feminist for her career oriented behavior.

Sixth semester mechanical engineering major Cleo Alberts noted the similarities between the Equal Rights Amendment movement and the modern mindset on women’s equality, she pointed out the hypocrisy of those who would oppose the Equal Rights Amendment.

“It was funny to see the parallel between what we see today with people that are fighting for something but they don’t realize that they are actually fighting for the opposite thing,” Alberts said.

Women’s History Month will end next week, but documentaries like “Makers” can help inspire women long after the calendar changes to April.

“Knowing our history helps us to know where going, but it were also helps give girls role models as well,” said Fischer, “These are the shoulders we stand on.”


Lauren Brown is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lauren.brown@uconn.edu.