This March iwonder celebrates International Women’s Day with the launch of eight new films looking at the challenges and issues that continue to undermine true gender equality, while shining a light on real-life heroines who continue to challenge bias, discrimination, assumption and misunderstanding over what it means to be a woman in the modern world.

Opening with a film that has featured at film festivals around the world, and which Newsweek calls “A profile in courage for the 21st century”, ‘Nasrin’ tells the story of an Iranian lawyer fighting against her country’s harsh laws, many of them aimed at women. ‘Code’ and ‘Kid or Not to Kid’ then examine the experiences and prejudices faced by women when they come face-to-face with society’s expectations of their roles in life.

Then in this month’s iwonder What Top Five, we look at the different perspectives of women around the world, including the stories of three, young women trying to find their place in modern Russia.

Nasrin

#Justice #Human Rights #Freedom

Launches March 8th

Narrated by Academy Award-winner Olivia Colman, and secretly filmed in Iran by women and men who risked arrest, this documentary follows the work and life of renowned human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, in a film the New York Times calls ‘Breathtaking’.

In the courts and on the streets, Nasrin has long fought for the rights of women, children, LGBTQ, religious minorities, journalists, artists, and those facing the death penalty. Then, in June 2018, she was arrested and sentenced to 38 years in prison, and 148 lashes.

Even there she continued to challenge the authorities.

Featuring acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, journalist Ann Curry, exiled women’s rights activist Mansoureh Shojaee, and Nasrin’s equally courageous husband Reza Khandan, this is an unflinching look at a woman referred to as the Nelson Mandela of Iran.

Code: Debugging the Gender Gap

#Tech #Women #Silicon Valley

Launches March 8th

At a time when jobs in the tech sector are outpacing growth in all other sectors, where are all the women?

This lack of diversity can have serious consequences – as was the case with airbags, designed by and modelled on men and often fatal to women, whose smaller size wasn’t taken into account.

Selected for Tribeca, this film goes behind the glib statistics to find out why so few women work in computer sciences. Through interviews with successful women, including programmers at Pixar, Pinterest and Etsy, it asks what can be done to encourage the next generation of women programmers?

To Kid or Not to Kid

#Current Affairs #Society #Women

Launches March 29th

There is still an assumption that choosing not to have children is weird, selfish, or somehow wrong.

Filmmaker Maxine Trump turns the camera on herself as she confronts the idea of not having kids. She explores the cultural pressures and harsh criticism childfree women regularly experience, as well as the personal impact the decision not to have children may have on her own relationships.

Through the course of the film, Maxine meets other women reckoning with their choice, including Megan, 25, who suffers from serious side effects from taking contraceptive hormones and wants to be sterilised, but who struggles to find a doctor willing to take her request seriously.

Meanwhile, Victoria lives with the backlash of publicly acknowledging that she made a mistake when she had a child.

iwonder When

8th March 2022

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Dating back to the first gathering in 1911, it has become an important beacon for accelerating gender parity.

This year’s theme is ‘Break the Bias’, calling on men and women everywhere to challenge stereotypes and discrimination, to promote diversity, equality and inclusiveness, and to create a truly gender equal world.

iwonder who:

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin Sotoudeh is an Iranian lawyer advocating for the rule of law and the rights of political prisoners, opposition activists, women and children in the face of Iran’s repressive regime.

Nasrin rose to prominence in the aftermath of the 2009 anti-government protests, defending several activists arrested during the government’s aggressive crackdown on the demonstrations.

As a member of the organisation called “Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty” (LEGAM), Sotoudeh has fought to abolish the death penalty in Iran. In 2018 she defended women who protested Iran’s draconian law requiring hijabs, by taking off their headscarves on the streets.

In March 2019, she was sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes on charges including stoking “corruption and prostitution.”

Yet, despite her imprisonment and constant threats to her family, Nasrin remains a defiant advocate for the rule of law, while her unrelenting fight against oppression have made her a symbol of the struggle for justice in Iran.

iwonder What

Women of the world

As the world looks on with despair at the events unfolding in the Ukraine, in this month’s iwonder Top Five we open with a film looking at modern Russia through the eyes of three young women, before moving on for a view of the world through the eyes of women determined to bring about change, acceptance, understanding, and of course, equality.

1) Faith Hope Love: In Search of Russia’s New Heroines

#Russia #Women #Culture

Launches March 24th

When acclaimed filmmaker, Katja Fedulova (Berlinale Talent 2014), returns to Russia 20 years after leaving, aged 18, she asks one big question: Are there still heroines in Putin’s Russia?

Her story follows three young, beautiful women, each fighting for their own vision of what their country should be. With every unexpected revelation, the façade crumbles to show the corruption and fragility of a country still struggling with the aftermath of perestroika.

Sometimes heartbreaking, and always full of open ambivalence, this film is a beguiling, dizzying glimpse into modern Russia.

2) Objector

#Women #Politics #Justice

Launches March 22nd

Like all Israeli youth, Atalya is expected to become a soldier. Unlike most, she questions the practices of her country’s military, and becomes determined to challenge this rite of passage.

Despite her family’s political disagreements and personal concerns, she refuses military duty and is imprisoned for her dissent. Her courage moves those around her to reconsider their own political positions and power to effect change.

Objector follows Atalya to prison and beyond, offering a unique window into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of a young woman who seeks truth and takes a stand for justice.

3) Generation Utøya

#Terrorism #Democracy #Women

Launches March 29th

A decade after they survived the terror attacks on Utøya island in Norway by a far-right extremist, four women transformed their injuries and trauma into strength.

They run for office, lead and draft policy to prevent future attacks, safeguard democratic rights and pave the way for social equality.

Working within government, they represent a new generation of change-makers, vehemently opposed to xenophobia, fascism and hate speech.

4) Ready to Fly

#Sport #WinterOlympics #Women

Launches March 8th

This is the story of world ski jumping champion, Lindsey Van, and her teammates, who took on the IOC in an epic battle to get women’s ski jumping recognized as an Olympic sport.

When the IOC refused to recognise women’s ski jumping, Van and her teammates decided to sue the organizers of the Vancouver Olympics to force them to include female ski jumping on the basis of gender equality.

We follow Van and her colleagues for over twelve years in their struggle for recognition, in an inspiring story of a dream worth fighting for.

5) Love Between the Covers

#Literature #Romance #Women

Launches March 15th

While romance novels and their signature covers are ubiquitous around the world, and romance novels are sold in 34 languages, the global community of millions of women who read, write, and love them remains oddly invisible.

‘Love Between the Covers’ is the fascinating story of six very different authors, as they build their businesses, find and lose loved ones, cope with a tsunami of change in publishing and earn a living doing what they love – while empowering others to do the same.