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Thursday 27 Nov 2014

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New landmark documentary series charts the changing role of women

A demonstration against violence to women

Following her acclaimed documentary series Lefties and Jews, film-maker Vanessa Engle's new three-part documentary, Women, comes soon to BBC Four.

Coinciding with International Women's Day on Monday 8 March, Women will see Engle turn her attention to sexual politics, charting the rise of feminism and interrogating its impact on contemporary women's lives.

Generational in structure, the first film, entitled Libbers, maps the ideology of women's liberation in the Seventies, including interviews with legendary British and American feminists, including Kate Millett, Susan Brownmiller, Germaine Greer, and the last ever interview with novelist Marilyn French, who died in May 2009.

The second film, Mothers, documents the daily lives of ordinary women with children, exploring the extent to which the legacy of feminism has altered gender roles and the division of labour in the home.

The film features eight middle-class women, with differing attitudes to feminism, to see whether, as a result of the women's movement, gender roles have changed. Are these educated women living the dream that feminism imagined for them?

The final programme is an observational film about a small group of passionate and angry young feminist activists in London now.

These young women believe that the need for feminist activism is now more urgent than ever. They are deeply concerned about the objectification of women, the ubiquity of lads' magazines, and the rise in pornography and lap dancing clubs.

Activists follows the feminists over a three-month period, as they organise meetings and demonstrations, exploring their politics and motivations. Are these women a small group of insignificant extremists or is a new wave of feminism about to be unleashed?

Writer and producer Vanessa Engle says: "The feminist revolution was probably the fastest social revolution of the last century – but maybe it shot out of the bottle too fast?"

Women is a BBC Vision Production for BBC Four. The writer and producer is Vanessa Engle and the executive producer is Nick Mirsky.

In March, the BBC will be showing a number of TV programmes to coincide with International Women's Day, which marks the economic, political and social achievements of women.

The programmes will highlight the changing role of women and include: Women on BBC Four, a three-part series about feminism and its impact on contemporary women's lives by acclaimed documentary maker Vanessa Engle; two documentaries for BBC Three which explore women's rights during conflict, Judith: Going Back To Congo and Nel: From Camden To Kabul; and A Passionate Woman for BBC One, a drama about two stages in the life of a wife and mother, starring Billie Piper and Sue Johnston.

Notes to Editors

This is Vanessa Engle’s fifth series for BBC Four. Her previous series were Jews, Lefties, Art And The 60s and Britart. Jews was nominated for the Grierson award for best documentary series. Lefties won a Gold Plaque for best social/political documentary at the Hugo Awards at the Chicago International Festival.


Information for viewers

More content about these documentaries will be published, as transmission approaches, on these pages:

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