As I begrudgingly wake up every morning and head into Manhattan for another day at the office, it’s easy to forget that just 50 years ago, what I’m doing was unheard of for women. This was a time when most girls went to college to find a husband rather than a passion — a time when their “career” consisted of getting married, having children, and raising them. As a girl who grew up repeatedly being told by my parents that I was going to go to college and find a job, it’s difficult to fathom not being able to do this. But that’s precisely the way it was for many of the women highlighted in MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA, a groundbreaking documentary that chronicles the extraordinary stories of women who led, opposed, or were trailblazers in the feminist movement.
I had the opportunity to attend a preview of this film earlier this month, and let me tell you, I was inspired — and a bit embarrassed. I never fully realized just how much the feminist movement impacted my own life or how far women’s rights have come in a matter of decades. The documentary, which premiers on PBS next Tuesday, touches on everyone from the movement leaders, Gloria Steinem and Naomi Wolf; those who opposed it, like Phyliss Shlafly and Beverly LaHaye; and famous faces, like Barbara Walters and Hillary Clinton. In honor of these fearless ladies, I rounded up 8 inspiring feminists who helped shape women’s rights in their own respective careers and fields. From the first female NBA referee to the first actress to play a single working woman on television, we can all take a lesson from these women’s courage and determination. — By Jennifer Gimbel
And don’t miss the premiere of MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA next Tuesday, February 26th at 8PM on PBS!