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Why Women Matter

The feminist movement is not dead. Today's blog features a Q&A on the new documentary, MAKERS - Women Who Make America.

Am I a feminist? Yes. What does that mean? It means that I, in all facets of life, believe that women (young and old) deserve the same rights as men. The reason we deserve those rights is because we have just as much to bring to the table. For me, in this day and age, one of the most powerful things about the way many women work is their ability to shake the world and make waves, while carefully ensuring that the most fragile amongst us don't get swallowed up by the storm. I love that women can be strong, yet gentle. Passionate, yet measured. The feminist movement started long ago and many people are still fighting to move things forward. The landscape has changed, but the goal remains the same. I must admit there are days when I feel anything but ready for battle. Those are the days when I am so grateful for the many warriors, past and present, who fearlessly stood and still stand on the field - demanding equality and that their voices be heard.

A few weeks ago my eyes were opened to a powerful documentary that features these warriors that I refer to. As soon as I saw the trailer I knew that this project was right in line with what we like to highlight at The Sentimentalist. This body of work, MAKERS, features women who have changed our world for the better. Some in small ways, many in large, have had the courage to stand up and say "I don't like the way things are going so I am going to change them."

Kudos to these groundbreaking "Makers". I admire them and some day I know my young daughters will understand the importance of what these women did. I am glad that their stories now have a home. 

A Conversation with Nancy Armstrong, Web Producer, MAKERS - Women Who Make America:

Why make a documentary about this topic right now?
A documentary on this topic is actually long overdue. It is phenomenal how far women have advanced in America over just 50 years, and the comprehensive story of the movement that forever altered the world we live in today has never been told in this way, in the words of the women who lived it.  In terms of women's issues and women's equality, it's important to understand where we've been, in order to chart a course for the way forward.  Gloria Steinem has said that a movement takes 100 years.  We are fifty years into the women's movement, so there is still a long way to go.

MAKERS: Gloria Steinem

Whose interview surprised you most?
I have been fortunate to interview so many amazing women through the course of this project, from Martha Stewart, Marlo Thomas, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Danica Patrick, to less familiar but equally game-changing women like Muriel Siebert, who was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and Barbara Burns, who was one of the first female coalminers. All of the women were fascinating to interview, and all of them made an indelible mark on American history.  

What was one of your more emotional interviews?
My very first interview for MAKERS was with Maria Pepe, the first girl to play little league baseball.  She was a gifted ball player who was chosen to play on a team because of her talent, and unceremoniously removed from the team because of her gender. This is one of the quintessential MAKERS stories in that it clearly illustrates how one girl's courage helped change the rule books on whether or not girls could participate on Little League sports teams. Maria and I both cried during her interview, and her final profile piece on MAKERS.com still makes me a little teary. The stories of these women are so powerful.

MAKERS: Maria Pepe

How can we explain the movement and this documentary to the youngest of our communities?
The easiest way to introduce young girls to the project is through the groundbreaking profile pieces on the Web that are produced in short video clips. These are perfect for introducing smaller children to the project with the gripping three-minute stories that they will marvel at. For example, it was hard for my 7 and 9-year-old daughters to believe that women were not always allowed to compete in marathon races, and after watching Katherine Switzer's incredible story, they were able to understand and recount this piece of history in a meaningful way, and feel gratitude for her courage in opening up that opportunity for women.

MAKERS: Katherine Switzer

Why should men care about this project?
Men do care about this content. What surprised us most about the traffic on MAKERS.com is that 48% of it is male. Groundbreaking accomplishments are interesting on their own, whether they pertain to men or women. Gender discrimination was rampant until women woke up and decided to start aggressively challenging that in the 1960s.  There were also many men who were feminists during that period, who fought alongside women for equal rights. I would imagine that for men living in today's society with daughters of their own, there is a strong measure of gratitude to those groundbreaking women who transformed society into one in which their daughters will be able to pursue their dreams without limitations. As a practical matter, men want this country to be successful just as much as women do, and if the advancement of half of the population, and therefore half of the talent, is stifled in some way, the country is ultimately less successful.

What is next for Makers?
There is no set number for the MAKERS program – this is an evergreen project with limitless bounds. There are so many incredible women that we can celebrate. The collection of MAKERS will continue to grow and evolve beyond the broadcast, as new stories are added to the site on a weekly basis.

Where and when can people see the full documentary?
MAKERS - Women Who Make America debuts as a three-part documentary at 8pm on PBS on February 26, 2013 (check local listings).

The Sentimentalist will be watching on the 26th, and I hope you will too.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sanchez February 25, 2013 at 02:08 AM
"I'm twenty years old and I'm a feminist." My late Mom was a young feminist in the mid 1940's. Her Mom was a young feminist in the early 1920's. Her Mother was a young feminist in the late 1890's if the stories were true. Do you ever finally get what you want to live a happy life where you don't feel you need you have to fight for something? Its been going on for generations so what is the end game?
Sanchez February 25, 2013 at 02:10 AM
I see your profile includes "majoring in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies" Is there really some adult who is your parent paying for that major?
Sandra February 25, 2013 at 04:21 AM
@Ella- This is Sandra. It is not so obvious to me. Is Sandra Fluke the example of today's feminist? I thought feminism was about the empowerment of women and yet I am listening to young women demanding from others (tax payers, government) to take care of them and their needs. Have you heard of "Julia" ? Julia appeared in the Obama campaign as a character who would be supported cradle to grave by the government. Contradiction don't you think? Is this feminism?http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/04/why-obamas-julia-campaign-will-be-a-success/
Barry O February 25, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Lindley, What about my girl Sarah Palin?
Mark Schultz February 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM
'sanchez', 'sandra', and 'keep the change'. Slam liberal people all you want. By definition they are tolerant. They won't rise to your bait. Your sexist rants are outdated.
Sandra February 25, 2013 at 01:18 PM
@Ella- It is Sandra. Sorry it isn't self -explanatory to many women. Can you be pro-life and a feminist? If so, then why are conservative women attacked viciously by women on the Left?
Glen K Dunbar February 25, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Nobody is discriminated against more than ME. Really unfair.
Sandra February 25, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Mark- Here is a liberal woman's point of view on how tolerant your side really is. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/04/rush-limbaugh-s-apology-liberal-men-need-to-follow-suit.html The democrats are now convincing women they can't make it on their own without Big Daddy Government. That's sexist.
Sandra February 25, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Is there a reason my comments are pending approval for days and hours on end? Have I broken a Patch policy? .
Canaanite February 26, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Right on! The problem with "feminists" is that they feel they constantly have something to "prove" . . . God made us all equal. But that doesn't mean the *same*. Don't understand why women are threatened by that. We have equality, we have opportunity in this country, thank God. But we no longer have to keep proving anything . . .
Canaanite February 26, 2013 at 01:58 AM
If you have to ask . . .
Canaanite February 26, 2013 at 02:02 AM
hahaha . . . very true!!! "can't even think for themselves" . . . soooo true! We're all forcefed an agenda that most regurgitate. And yes, it is all about pro-abortion.
Sandra February 26, 2013 at 02:44 PM
@Ella- Can a pro-life woman be considered a feminist? This may an interesting read for you based on your major.http://collegeinsurrection.com/2012/10/the-case-for-conservative-feminism/
Sandra February 26, 2013 at 02:45 PM
@Ella- here is the link again http://collegeinsurrection.com/2012/10/the-case-for-conservative-feminism/
John Gruber February 26, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Completely agree, and you should tell this to the person who wrote the blog on here of how they want the government to pay to raise their own child. Articles like that do not make women (or anyone for that matter) look good at all, especially with comments like "nothing good comes from leaving the workforce to raise a child".
Sandra February 27, 2013 at 03:44 PM
@Ella- Please take the time to understand where conservative women are coming from. I hope you realize the government can't be everything to everybody. We're just asking you to keep an open mind. Try not to fall for the made up "War on Women" propaganda.
Siwanoy February 27, 2013 at 06:06 PM
I think your posts push someone like Ella away from you view points instead of bringing them closer to it.
Reverend Barbara Sexton February 27, 2013 at 06:58 PM
All I can say is that I am very thankful when strong, Conservative women--with all of our various opinions and life roles--are capable of unifying when it really counts. And in this 'day and age'...it ALL counts! God Bless Us All-Barb
Sandra February 28, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Siwanoy-I think Ella needs to get a clue that not all women feel like victims. Also this White House pretended to be the warriors fighting the evil Republicans on behalf of women's rights. The Lilly Ledbetter Act became a prize talking point for Obama. Ella did you know Obama paid women much less (18% less in 2011) for doing the same job as the men in his administration? 2008 campaign -McCain paid his female staffers MORE than the males while Obama girls were paid much less In January, Ledbetter told ABC News that the Act bearing her name “might not be such an important bill. … We, per se, did not gain anything except putting [the law] back to where it was before the ruling in my case.” As usual Obama is all smoke and no roast. Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/05/democrats-focus-on-equal-pay-issue-while-obama-white-house-pays-women-less/#ixzz2MCYtMkAc
Ella Dawson February 28, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Sandra: can you stop talking to me like I'm a child or an uneducated liberal pawn? Telling me to 'get a clue' and assuming I subscribe to meaningless rhetoric like believing all women are victims is a huge misunderstanding of feminism, as well as my beliefs, which you clearly know nothing about. I try not to engage in useless debates in the comment sections of articles, but if you choose to spend your time that way, go right ahead. Just please leave my name about of it.
Elizabeth February 28, 2013 at 09:43 PM
GOP voted 100% AGAINST equal pay for women.... http://current.com/community/93796631_republicans-vote-unanimously-against-equal-pay-for-women-bill.htm
Sandra February 28, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Ella-you are majoring in "feminism" but you could not or would not give me the definition. I thought you of all people would have enjoyed having a conversation on the topic but you chose to ignore my "useless debate". According to Obamacare you are still a child until 26. Good Luck to you. Bye Bye.
Sandra February 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM
Elizabeth- The Lilly Ledbetter Act does not ban pay discrimination based on gender. Since 1963, the federal government has banned such discrimination with passage of the Equal Pay Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Act simply resets the statue of limitations for each new pay check if pay discrimination has occurred. Republicans were against frivolous lawsuits but as you well know democrats are very fond of lawyers financial contributions. The facts show Obama pays women less than the males. Where are the women in high level positions? Talk is cheap.
Cliff Cuming February 28, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Elizabeth, in truth, they voted FOR equal pay for equal performance irrespective of gender...isn't that the way it's supposed to be?
Elizabeth March 01, 2013 at 12:24 AM
THANK YOU Women of America !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The War on Women Backfires by Michelle Goldberg Nov 9, 2012 4:02 PM EST The GOP thought it could get away with endless attacks on the fairer sex. They could not have been more wrong. How rape, abortion, and contraception led to Republicans’ resounding defeat.
Sanchez March 01, 2013 at 12:33 AM
So I see the young feminist Ella Dawson is not into debate or answering questions to support her self designation as a member of the group that as I noted been fighting for a century or more and according to her has not gotten anywhere in the fight. One day you will learn to live with yourself as a inhabitant of the planet and not anyone special in the overall scheme of things. Then you can live a satisfying and rewarding life without the pressure that is self imposed.
Sanchez March 01, 2013 at 12:33 AM
So I see the young feminist Ella Dawson is not into debate or answering questions to support her self designation as a member of the group that as I noted been fighting for a century or more and according to her has not gotten anywhere in the fight. One day you will learn to live with yourself as a inhabitant of the planet and not anyone special in the overall scheme of things. Then you can live a satisfying and rewarding life without the pressure that is self imposed.
Sanchez March 01, 2013 at 12:36 AM
"GOP voted 100% AGAINST equal pay for women...." They also voted to sacrifice women on the alter of The War on Women they perpetrated. They voted to use fetal tissue to burn to generate electricity to power the electric car demand. And they want dirty water and air and they cling to their bible and guns.
Ella Dawson March 01, 2013 at 02:40 AM
I am so confused. What on earth are you talking about? "According to her"? I said nothing of the sort. Literally all I have done on this post was say I'm a feminist and that I'm excited to watch this documentary. I have not engaged in any sort of debate. I did not come here to debate. I came here to support a Patch blogger whose post I gained something from.
Sandra March 01, 2013 at 01:46 PM
"I am a a young feminist" hehehehe What is a young feminist? I don't have to tell YOU anything. I am a feminist. hehehehe

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