As the brilliant mathematic from NASA, Mary Jackson, would say: “Every time we get a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line". Unfortunately, both in the past and nowadays women need to face many obstacles and difficulties throughout their lives, only because of their gender. Men have always had more space and voice. However, there were many revolutionary women who fought against all odds to reclaim their rightful place in society. This is why it’s very important to remember and appreciate all of them.
On that note, here are 5 movies about incredible women who managed to exceed all the adversities put in their ways, and completely made history!
- Hidden Figures (2016)
The movie "Hidden Figures" is based on the book with the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly and portrays the true story of three black women who worked at NASA's specific math center. It’s set in the middle of the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union were fighting for supremacy in the “Space Race”. At the same time, the American society was dealing with a profound racial split, between white and black people.
It is in this context that 3 friends proved to be the crucial element needed for the US victory. This unstoppable team was composed by: Katherine Johnson, responsible for all the calculations for the historic launch of John Glenn; Dorothy Vaughn, the first black woman to be promoted as one of NASA's department heads and an expert in computing and programming; and Mary Jackson, NASA's first black engineer. Together, they lead one of the largest technological operations on record. These women knew of their potential and, with their determination, they broke down barriers of gender and racial prejudice. They managed to take man into space and were part of many other projects that transformed the history of the United States. Directed by Theodore Melfi, it’s a beautiful and inspiring movie.
Available on: Telecine Play.
- The Iron Lady (2011)
The film is a biographical drama of Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who faced a period of crisis in England and series of difficulties for standing out in an area dominated by men. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, the movie shows flashbacks of several moments of the Prime Minister's life, such as her entrance into politics and her firm pulse in making decisions. One of the major milestones of Margaret’s career was being in power during the 1982 Malvinas War, when Argentina claimed sovereignty over the archipelago, which was in British possession. For her strength and firmness in difficult decisions, Margaret was known as “The Iron Lady”.
- The Rosa Parks Story (2002)
Directed by Julie Dash, the movie is about the iconic Rosa Parks, a very remarkable activist. The film takes the audience back to the 50s and 60s, featuring Rosa's story and her contribution to the civil rights movement during an extremely racist period in the United States. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. After her arrest, the black population prompted a bus boycott for more than a year in the city. Rosa’s attitude became a huge turning point in the fight against discrimination and racial segregation, mobilizing people across the country. Rosa Parks is still a huge inspiration for the black movement to keep reclaiming their rights and space in society.
- Radioactive (2019)
“Radioactive” brings the incredible story of Marie Curie, one of the most important scientists of all time. The movie portrays her struggle to be heard and respected by the scientific community of the time. It also presents her marriage to Pierre Curie, which is based on encouragement, respect and mutual admiration. It was even described as a relationship of "energy exchanges". With the support of her husband, Marie Curie discovered two brand new scientific elements, radio and polonium, which initiated the studies of radioactivity.
In 1903, Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of radioactivity, being the first woman ever to get the award. After Pierre's sudden death, Madame Curie continued her work and won a second Nobel Prize, this time for Chemistry, in 1911. The scientist was the first and only woman to win two Nobel prizes. The movie goes further than the Curies as a couple, the director Marjane Satrapi did a great job by portraying Marie as strong, determined and brilliant. Marie Curie is an icon of the scientific world and a pioneer not only as a scientist, but also as a woman standing out in man dominated world.
Available on: Netflix.
- Nise: the heart of madness (2015)
Last but definitely not least, the movie “Nise: the heart of madness” (“Nise: o coração da loucura”) brings the true story of the Brazilian psychiatrist Nise da Silveira. Set in Rio de Janeiro in the 50's, Nise, contrary to conventional schizophrenia agreements of the time, which included electroshock and lobotomy, was excluded and ridiculed by other doctors. She decided to take over the abandoned occupational therapy sector, where she started a new way of dealing with patients, using art and love.
For many characters with the most varied clinical conditions, the dignified and humane treatment proposed by the psychiatrist had far more positive effects than the previous brutality. Nise was a strong woman who offered the best to her patients, even though she was judged by several other doctors. Directed by Roberto Berliner, it is a beautiful and breathtaking movie.
These incredible women played an essential role in history and even make us reflect on the importance of women in general for society. Hope you enjoyed this selection of films and feel inspired by these scientists, doctors, politicians and activists. May they never be forgotten!
The article above was edited by Amanda Moraes.
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