5 Educational Movies about Women’s History

Frida Kahlo

By: Gabrielle Reeder

You can honor the power of womanhood and girlhood, including the strides, contributions, and advancements made by women all year round. To show our support, we’ve compiled a list of five educational movies you should watch.


Frida Kahlo is one of history’s most sensational and notorious female artists. Kahlo was a Mexican painter who admired her body, sexuality, and creative expression with little regard for others’ opinions. The body-positive icon’s self-portraits acknowledge her infamous unibrow and hair on her upper lip as she refused to submit to society’s commentary on body hair. By remaining true to her essence, she cemented herself as a legendary artist revered to this day. 

Kahlo honored her values while pursuing her dream career as an artist in a time when women, especially bisexual women, weren’t shown appreciation or respect. By breaking barriers regarding gender norms and sexuality stereotypes, Kahlo proved herself worthy of critical acclaim and appraisal, which she continues to receive post-mortem. 

Salma Hayek jumped into the powerful role of the bisexual artist in 2002, earning an Oscar nomination for her dedication and honest portrayal of the artist. 

The biopic “Frida” unearths truths behind her art and rocky relationship with her art teacher, Diego Rivera, who soon became her husband. “Frida” doesn’t stray from illuminating her as a sharp, snarky artist. The film focuses on the use of gender disparities between male and female artists and comments on modern-day ableism. Frida suffered a traumatic accident, landing her in the hospital for nine months. Tired of laying in bed without expressing her creativity, she took to painting her cast, her bed, and later an easel that lay above her bed.

Watch the biopic here.

Hidden Figures

When you put Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, and Taraji P. Henson in a film together, you get an uber-successful Academy Award-nominated picture. “Hidden Figures” is about three intelligent leading ladies behind one of the most successful and progressive space launches in the world. Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe) made up an innovative team of highly-intelligent Black women who changed the trajectory of space travel. 

Katherine Johnson laid out the most probable routes for spacecraft to land on the moon. She figured out the space machinery needed to travel around Earth to the moon to reach the satellite planet. Dorothy Vaughan assisted NASA with computer programming; she excelled in FORTRAN (a programming language) and became the first Black individual for NASA to promote. Her contributions to the mathematical and programming side of NASA helped set the Scout launch vehicle program in motion. Mary Jackson became NASA’s first Black female engineer and spearheaded initiatives to help women advance and succeed in the male-dominated company. 

“Hidden Figures” displays NASA’s history of segregation and misogyny while elevating stories of the powerful women who helped flip the script and progress the company. 

Watch the brilliant 2017 picture here.


After the grief of losing her mother, Cheryl Strayed embarks on a 1,100-mile trail — one of the longest in northern America — along the Pacific Crest with only a few necessities in her backpack. Through interactions with strangers, experiences with nature, and rekindling with herself, Strayed finds solace within, remembering that her mother’s spirit will always be with her. 

“Wild” illustrates this narrative, as well as nature’s profound impact on us and how grief, albeit grueling and harrowing, can lead us to rediscover connections with others and ourselves. Moreover, it showcases women’s resilience.

Watch “Wild” here.

Queen of Katwe 

The 2016 film “Queen of Katwe” follows a ten-year-old, Phiona Mutesi, who’s a resident of Kampala, Uganda. Mutesi, her siblings, and her mother live in extreme poverty. She drops out of school at nine years old to help raise and feed the family. While strolling through the streets one day, Mutesi stumbles upon a local teacher who’s determined to teach children how to play chess. The game of skill enraptures Mutesi, and she soon enrolls in local competitions, seeing the game as a way to improve her family’s quality of life. 

Mutesi morphs into a competitive chess player, traveling the world to play her favorite game and attempting to bring her family success. While she doesn’t succeed in the tournament, she hopes it will earn her enough money to escape poverty. She ends up saving enough from consecutive wins to purchase her family a home.

This riveting tale displays an inspiring underdog story about the importance of family.

Watch “Queen of Katwe” here.


Based on the graphic novel of the same name, “Persepolis” delves into Marjane Satrapi’s upbringing in Iran. The timeline follows Satrapi from childhood to adulthood, centering around Iran’s shifting political climate and tensions as well as her identity. Satrapi and her family lead a rather liberal life. A few of her relatives and family friends are wanted by the government, they attend rebellions, and while her parents try to keep her away from attending rallies and protests, she knows what she wants at heart. Satrapi vocalizes her feelings and thoughts about new norms, landing her in trouble and leading to a near-death experience, but her honesty grants her one of her proudest achievements later in life.

“Persepolis” presents a tale on the importance of education and honesty. History should not be different in each textbook, yet we still find that’s the case. 

Watch “Persepolis” here

Celebrating Women’s History 

Films relay truths through the visual medium. From the moving pictures, we uncover truths and educate ourselves about historical events we might not know about. Each of these five films expounds historical events revolving around different women and various plots, but one message connects them all: Women run the world. 

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