Billie Jean King’s tennis match against Bobby Riggs in 1973 proved to be a more important and significant moment in the history of gender equality than anyone could have possibly predicted.
In celebration of the release of Battle of the Sexes, we’ve picked out five great films about the ongoing, and far from over, battle for women’s rights.
There are many more, not enough, but this list isn’t exhaustive. Make your own additions in the comments!
1. Suffragette (2015)
With its amazing cast, Suffragette made history in 2015 by becoming the first film ever to shoot in the Houses of Parliament. Of course, it was a film about a much more significant epoch. What’s astonishing is that it took this long for a film about the British women’s suffrage movement at the start of the last century to be made.
2. Made in Dagenham (2010)
Telling the true story of the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968, Made in Dagenham is just one of many showcase films for the outstanding Sally Hawkins. The events of 1968 would eventually lead, two years later, to the Equal Pay Act and, eventually, to the production of this fantastic film and its West End musical adaptation.
3. Hidden Figures (2017)
This, the most recent film on our list, Hidden Figures was a real crowd pleaser. Without it, and Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, the world would never have learned of the greatness of these women and their role in the space race. Recognition wasn’t forthcoming in this case, with Katherine only receiving her Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. Wonderful performances raise the film.
4. Mulan (1998)
Disney don’t have the best record when it comes to female icons. Let’s face it, even when they get the characters right (Belle, Tiana, Anna and Elsa), they lump them with preposterous body shapes. Based on the real iconic woman, Mulan finds its way onto our list by virtue of it being the first Disney film to star a heroine who is the master of her own fate and becomes a genuine, sword wielding hero. The song may have been ‘Make a Man Out of You’ but the message was that women are just as strong.
5. Miss Representation (2011)
At the end of a list of films about strong female characters in cinema, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Miss Representation is a harrowing reminder of the real world we live in. Six year’s later, it is still, distressingly, all too real.