13 Inspiring Documentaries About Women Around The World That You Can Stream Right Now

Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

International Women's Day is a day to celebrate women everywhere, but also a day to advance women's issues. In 2018, that means building on the momentum of the #MeToo movement and encouraging people to become active in women's causes. And what better way to get you pumped and ready to change the world than by watching these 13 documentaries about women around the world? A big part of being an active champion for women is learning about women's issues, and these documentaries are a great way to do that while also celebrating some important heroines of the past, present, and future.

This year, UN Women has declared the International Women's Day theme "Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives." The theme encompasses every aspect of women's rights, with an emphasis on improving access to jobs, health care, and education for rural women. But International Women's Day, on March 8, is much bigger than just one organization. At its core, the day is about embracing women of all shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, nationalities, classes, etc. It's about celebrating what makes women unique, what makes them strong, and what we can do to improve the quality of life for women all over the world. And, thanks to these 13 documentaries about women around the world that you can watch right now, you can do all of that from your living room.


'What Happened, Miss Simone?'

Celebrate one of the most renowned singers of all time with the documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? The documentary lives at the intersection of entertainment, art, race, and gender — truly showing the complexity of women.

Where to watch: Netflix


'Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds'

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher are Hollywood legends who just so happen to be mother and daughter. And this charming documentary on the duo is a sweet look into that special relationship.

Where to watch: HBO Go



Sonita follows the story of aspiring Afghani rapper, Sonita Alizadeh, who as a teenager was, essentially, put up for sale as a young bride by her mother and brother. The film offers an inside look into Sonita's ambitions, her dreams, and the harsh reality of child brides.

Where to watch: Netflix


'She's Beautiful When She's Angry'

Feeling a little burned out by all the protests and national outrage? Allow She's Beautiful When She's Angry to give you a new pep in your marching step. The documentary traces second wave feminist movements across the country, and reminds us that the fight for women's equality is far from over.

Where to watch: Netflix


'Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise'

Maya Angelou was an activist, author, poet, and icon for people all around the world. Taking two hours out of your day to sit with a global icon is a pretty good way to spend International Women's Day.

Where to watch: Netflix


'The Pearl Of Africa'

The Pearl of Africa follows the story of Cleopatra Kambugu, a transgender woman who was forced to leave Uganda after strict laws against the LGBT community were passed. Kambugu is currently fighting to be accepted as transgender in her home country.

Where to watch: Netflix


'The Vagina Monologues'

Eve Ensler brings her groundbreaking show The Vagina Monologues to life in this documentary celebrating the show. Yes, The Vagina Monologues has proven to be somewhat problematic in leaving out members of the LGBTQ community, but its relevancy hasn't changed.

Where to watch: HBO Go



Iris Apfel, fashion icon and carefree dresser, is the subject of this fun documentary that will have women everywhere embracing their style in a brand new way.

Where to watch: Netflix


'Seeing Allred'

To understand how women's movements have evolved over the years, one must understand how champions of women's rights have been treated in the press, and Gloria Allred is a great place to start.

Where to watch: Netflix


'A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness'

A Girl in the River, the Oscar-winning documentary short, is about Saba, a teenager who survived an "honor killing" at the hands of her family in Pakistan. The tough to watch doc does an excellent job of bringing a harsh, foreign reality, to life.

Where to watch: HBO Go


'Ukraine Is Not A Brothel'

A group of women in the Ukraine, named Femen, decided that the best way to protest for gender equality was to do so topless. In Ukraine is not a Brothel, members open up about their logic, strategy, and the goals of a radical feminist movement.

Where to watch: Netflix



International Women's Day isn't necessarily about motherhood, but that doesn't mean one cannot celebrate the uniquely female experience of giving birth. Motherland gives viewers an inside look at one of the most active maternity hospitals in the Philippines, diving into issues of reproductive health and how class, gender, and access to health care affects women's daily lives.

Where to watch: Amazon


'He Named Me Malala'

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and international activist fighting for the right to education, is the embodiment of International Women's Day. She's worked all over the world to advance women's rights, embraced life in the spotlight, and the responsibility of being a role model for girls.

Where to watch: Hulu

On this International Women's Day, and every day forward, we should all aim to be a little bit more like Yousafzai and these other inspiring women.