WOMEN (3 x 60’)

BBC, 2011

“A beautifully made, serious but never heavy-handed series.”
The Daily Mail

These three films are about feminism and its impact on contemporary women’s lives. The first film maps the ideology of women’s liberation in the 1960s and 70s, evoking the urgency and passion of the early days of the movement.  The second film looks at the consequences of feminism for today’s mothers, documenting the lives of women with children in Britain today.  The third and final film is an observational documentary about young feminist activists.


Ep 1 outlines the politics of feminism and features interviews with legendary British and American feminists including Robin Morgan, Susan Brownmiller, Kate Millett, Germaine Greer, Ann Oakley and Sheila Rowbotham, as well as the last ever interview with novelist Marilyn French, who died in May 2009.  Intercut with archive footage, these interviews draw out the lively and unusual personalities of a group of inspiring old women.



Ep 2 examines the lives of mothers today. Whilst many women experience themselves as free and equal to men, it is often not until they become mothers that this apparent equality is really put to the test.  The film features seven women, some of whom work, whilst others stay at home with their children.  In each case, the women are also interviewed with their husband or partner to find out who carries the domestic burden and the extent to which they have achieved gender equality in their lives.



Ep 3 is an observational film, featuring two feminist groups – the ‘London Feminist Network’ and ‘Object’.  Filmed over a three-month period, the film documents the lives of ten young women, as they organize a range of protests and demonstrations.  The film culminates in a Reclaim the Night march, with 1,500 women marching through central London to protest against male violence.  The film also features interviews with some of the women’s parents, to explore why they feel so passionately about the need to fight for women’s rights. 


“Vanessa Engle’s new documentary series, WOMEN, is completely delicious. It’s been obvious for ages that Engle is a brilliant film-maker. But what she has done in WOMEN feels kind of definitive and should be shown to Heat-reading teenage girls everywhere”
The Observer
“Among the many virtues of Vanessa Engle’s marvellous series WOMEN has been the way in which she has managed to unearth plenty of humour in feminism without veering towards ridicule”
The Daily Telegraph
“Engle served up an embarrassment of riches”
The New Statesman
“This excellent documentary, made by Vanessa Engle (Lefties, Jews) sees her interview the likes of Marilyn French and Sheila Rowbotham, covering archive footage, battle cries and blush-provoking questions about sex with intelligence and a fierce respect for their actions. Extraordinary”
The Guardian
“Vanessa Engle, whose previous series include Jews and Lefties, has a background herself in the women’s movement and her trilogy of documentaries about it is certainly sympathetic to the cause. Yet, being a very good documentary director, she has made a programme which is not quite history, nor polemic, but an unflinching observation of people. A dab hand, Vanessa Engle”
The Evening Standard
“I loved WOMEN. It’s yet another sensitive, intelligent documentary mini-series from Vanessa (‘Jews’/’Lefties’) Engle, looking at the rise of feminism. It’s thoughtful, revealing and quirky. And it’s funny with it”
Time Out


Producer/director: VANESSA ENGLE



Assistant producer: BECKY LOMAX


Executive producer: NICK MIRSKY


Shortlisted for the 2012 Grierson award for Best Documentary Series