32 Documentaries That All Women Should See In Their Lifetime

When I watch a documentary, I tend to figure out, within the first few minutes, whether or not the movie was written with just men in mind, or could be relatable to women, too. There are some people who say that doesn't matter, but I believe it does. When I watch documentaries, I'm looking for stories that could move just about anyone and explore perspectives that are rarely represented. Lucky for me, there are a slew of documentaries that I believe all women should see in their lifetimes.

Many of these flicks you can stream online, and it would be a good idea to get started if you want to finish with some time to spare. I highly recommend watching these movies with friends and family, so you can ask yourselves why these films are important for women of all ages and challenge your existing framework of beliefs on topics like abortion, poverty, sex work, and basic human rights.

When I made this list, I wanted to make sure that each film challenged patriarchy and misogyny as a whole, and after watching them, I'm sure you'll agree these flicks are pretty empowering, too. Without further ado, here are the docs all women should make sure to watch:

1'Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer'

Curzon Cinemas on YouTube

Feminist art collective Pussy Riot challenges Moscow's social construct.

2'Miss Representation'

The women we see in media and politics face real challenges, and this documentary tells all.

3'She's Beautiful When She's Angry'

Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films on YouTube

Want to see who started the women's movement in the '60s? Look no further.

4'Makers: Women Who Make America"

Kristin Casas on YouTube

There are 150+ years of women shaping the country we know, and here are a few of them who made it what it is.

5'The Punk Singer'

VIGO: Trailers & Clips on YouTube

Learn about the woman who pioneered and lead the riot grrrl movement.

6'Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring On Sex, Lies And Global Economics'

NFB on YouTube

Marilyn Waring schools her counterparts on the feminist approach to finances.

7'!Women Art Revolution'

ZeitgeistFilms on YouTube

This film explores the rise of women critics, artists, and historians during the civil rights movement.

8'Ukraine Is Not A Brothel'

sydfilmfest on YouTube

A trailer that starts with the claim that "99 percent of Ukranian women don't know what feminism is" is worth watching.

9'The Life And Times of Rosie The Riveter'

Exploring where Rosie comes from and the political push for women to work during WWII.

10'Until The Violence Stops'

VDAY2008 on YouTube

This one is all bout Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues and how it grew to be a grassroots movement.

11'Rise Above: A Tribe 8 Documentary'

Zebulon Compton on YouTube

Following the legends that made up the queer punk band, Tribe 8.

12'The Naked Feminist'

The porn industry is reimagined in this film that shows what sex positivity can look like.

13'What Happened, Miss Simone?'

Netflix US & Canada on YouTube

The legendary singer, pianist and activist shares her journey by way of sound.

14'One Minute To Nine'

Tommy Davis on YouTube

The story of Wendy Maldonado's history of abuse, revenge, and how that landed her jail time.

15'Girlhood'

Estela Nanic on YouTube

Dissecting America's prisons and what that means for the women behind bars.

16'A Litany For Survival: The Life And Work Of Audre Lorde'

ThirdWorldNewsreel on YouTube

She's the jack of all trades you always hear about but never really see personified. The Black, lesbian, activist, mother, poet, and teacher sends patriarchy packing in this epic doc.

17'The Arbor'

Picturehouse on YouTube

The story of a young woman named Andrea Dunbar growing up in the housing projects of England.

18'Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary'

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on YouTube

Hitler's private secretary comes forward about what it was like to work for the ruler after over 60 years of secrecy.

19'Searching For Angela Shelton'

FilmBuff Movies on YouTube

A woman hits the road to find women with her exact same name. Her findings reveal eerie similarities.

20'Beyond Belief'

AliveMind on YouTube

Two pregnant women find similar ground sharing the loss of their loved ones during the 9/11 attack and propel efforts to help other widowed women.

21'I Am A Girl'

iamagirldoco on YouTube

The powerful doc that explores the persecution girls face in their day to day.

22'Audrie & Daisy'

Netflix US & Canada on YouTube

Two teens share their sexual assault stories and discuss a new era of bullying.

23'Dark Girls'

OnCueNetwork on YouTube

This doc explores the prejudices dark-skinned women face and colorism as a social construct.

24'It's A Girl'

Shadowline Films on YouTube

The movie highlights countries where women are considered disposable for being girls.

25'The Invisible War'

Movieclips Trailers on YouTube

A documentary about rape culture and how it thrives in the U.S. military.  

26'Hot Girls Wanted'

moviemaniacsDE on YouTube

Five young women tell their stories about being inducted into the amateur porn industry.

27'Half The Sky'

Half the Sky Movement on YouTube

Women reveal their journeys living in a world littered with systemic oppression.

28'Girl Rising'

Girl Rising on YouTube

Nine girls fight for their basic right to an education.

29'After Tiller'

Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films on YouTube

This documentary spotlights the doctors who perform third trimester abortions in the U.S.

30'No Woman, No Cry'

DocumentaryTrailers on YouTube

When proper health care isn't provided during pregnancy, it can be fatal. This documentary sheds light on those statistics.

31'The Life And Crimes Of Doris Payne'

Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films on YouTube

One of the world's most notorious jewel thieves has no qualms about her 60-year burglary streak.

32'Dreamcatcher'

MIFF on YouTube

Women share their stories of sex work and how to get out.

There's no doubt that by the time you finish binging these docs, you'll leave more inspired, driven, and empowered than ever before.