On-Air Highlights

'Makers: Women Who Make America' tells comprehensive story of how women have transformed America over last half-century

Written by witf | Feb 6, 2013 1:57 PM
Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan, co-founder of National Organization for Women (NOW)

MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA, a new PBS documentary produced by Kunhardt McGee Productions, Storyville Films and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark Media, will air Tuesday, February 26, 2013, at 8:00 p.m. ET on witf. The film tells the story of how women have helped shape America over the last 50 years through one of the most sweeping social revolutions in our country’s history, in pursuit of their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity and personal autonomy.

MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA chronicles unforgettable moments in history and builds on the unprecedented multi-platform video experience from PBS and AOL, MAKERS.com, which launched in February 2012. Leveraging the combined reach of television and the internet, the project shares the stories of exceptional women whose pioneering contributions continue to shape the world in which we live and the film will continue to chronicle the stories of women who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those — both famous and unknown — who were caught in its wake. MAKERS is proudly brought to you by Simple® facial skincare brand by Unilever.

Anti Bra Protest

Anti-bra protest outside a San Francisco department store on August 1, 1969

“The Women’s Movement, broadly defined, impacted every aspect of American life,” said filmmaker Dyllan McGee, the founder of MAKERS. “It is a very moving, dramatic, and often funny story that we have produced in a way that will appeal not only to women, but to men as well — we want it to be ‘must see TV’ for the whole family.”

Narrated by three-time Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep, MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA takes its cue from the movement’s motto, “The personal is political,” delving into the personal lives of its subjects. The film is built from first-person, intimate accounts of women who experienced this time of change, including movement leaders such as author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; opponents such as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly; celebrities including media leader Oprah Winfrey and journalist Katie Couric; political figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; business leaders such as Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc., and a co-owner of The Colorado Rockies; and many “ordinary” women who confronted the dramatic social upheaval in their own lives.

Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton, first female major party presidential candidate

“By spotlighting some of the most remarkable women in our nation’s modern history, MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA will tell the comprehensive story of how women have advanced in our country during the last half century. We know the documentary will educate and enlighten, but we hope it will also inspire viewers to make positive changes in their own communities,” said Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “PBS and our member stations are proud to support this celebration and dialogue about the role of women in our society.”

Through the perspectives of those who lived through historic milestones, MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA will recount the seminal events in the Women’s Movement, including the publication of The Feminine Mystique in 1963, the battles to end discriminatory laws and practices over the following decade, and Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991. It will also go much further, telling the surprising and unknown stories of women who broke barriers in their own chosen fields — from the coal mines of West Virginia to the boardrooms of Madison Avenue. And it will take the story to today, when a new generation is both defending and questioning the legacy of their mothers.

“I’m so happy that we’re finally hearing the stories and voices of women who make America,” said Gloria Steinem, one of the project’s advisors and featured subjects. “We do what we see, not what we’re told, so an incomplete story of this country damages everyone. MAKERS will not only change our picture of the present, but release talent for the future.”

The broadcast of MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA comes on the heels of the launch of MAKERS.com early in 2012. This landmark multiplatform video experience from PBS and AOL aims to become the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled. The AOL-developed interactive video platform has become a source of inspiration for millions of people, with more than 32.5 million video views to date.

“Our innovative approach to MAKERS.com has enabled us to inspire millions of people with thousands of MAKERS videos showcasing groundbreaking, trailblazing and diverse women who have made an indelible impact on our world today,” said Maureen Sullivan, SVP and General Manager, Women’s Content and Lifestyle Brands at AOL. “MAKERS.com will continue to chronicle the achievements of women everywhere through a growing collection of stories, expanding the reach of the MAKERS platform, and continuing this important dialogue.”

Watch the press tour interview video below.

Watch a preview below.

Below is a slideshow of some of the women and events featured in the film.

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