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Makers: Women Who Make America

Airs Monday - Wednesday, March 24 - 26, 2014 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Equal Rights Amendment supporters voice their disapproval of the 22-16 vote against the E.R.A. in the Florida Senate. June 21, 1982.

"Makers: Women Who Make America," a three-hour PBS documentary produced by Kunhardt McGee Productions, Storyville Films and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark Media, premiered on February 26, 2013 on PBS. The film tells the story of how women have helped shape America over the last 50 years through one of the most sweeping social revolutions in our country’s history, in pursuit of their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity and personal autonomy.

Their Stories

Watch the largest collection of women's stories, sort by category.

MAKERS Blog

Dig deeper and explore more stories in the MAKERS blog.

Celebrate Black History

We wanted to dig a little deeper into the personal histories of some of our African American MAKERS. For many of us, our history begins with our mothers. Learn about five MAKERS who have made impacts in fields from humans rights and education to literature and business, talk about the women who taught them about strength: their mothers.

Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS

During PBS’ "Makers: Women Who Make America" session at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, CA on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, filmmaker Barak Goodman, executive producer Betsy West, former National Organization for Women president Aileen Hernandez, Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, one of the first woman coal miners Barbara Burns and executive producer Dyllan McGee discuss the story of how women have helped shape America over the last 50 years. (Premieres Tuesday, February 26, 2013)

"Makers: Women Who Make America" chronicles unforgettable moments in history and builds on the unprecedented multi-platform video experience from PBS and AOL, MAKERS.com, which launched in February 2012. Leveraging the combined reach of television and the internet, the project shares the stories of exceptional women whose pioneering contributions continue to shape the world in which we live and the film will continue to chronicle the stories of women who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those — both famous and unknown — who were caught in its wake.

“The Women’s Movement, broadly defined, impacted every aspect of American life,” said filmmaker Dyllan McGee, the founder of MAKERS. “It is a very moving, dramatic, and often funny story that we have produced in a way that will appeal not only to women, but to men as well — we want it to be ‘must see TV’ for the whole family.”

Narrated by three-time Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep, "Makers: Women Who Make America" takes its cue from the movement’s motto, “The personal is political,” delving into the personal lives of its subjects.

The film is built from first-person, intimate accounts of women who experienced this time of change, including movement leaders such as author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; opponents such as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly; celebrities including media leader Oprah Winfrey and journalist Katie Couric; political figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; business leaders such as Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc., and a co-owner of The Colorado Rockies; and many “ordinary” women who confronted the dramatic social upheaval in their own lives.

“By spotlighting some of the most remarkable women in our nation’s modern history, 'Makers: Women Who Make America' will tell the comprehensive story of how women have advanced in our country during the last half century. We know the documentary will educate and enlighten, but we hope it will also inspire viewers to make positive changes in their own communities,” said Paula A. Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. “PBS and our member stations are proud to support this celebration and dialogue about the role of women in our society.”

Through the perspectives of those who lived through historic milestones, "Makers: Women Who Make America" will recount the seminal events in the Women’s Movement, including the publication of "The Feminine Mystique" in 1963, the battles to end discriminatory laws and practices over the following decade, and Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991.

It will also go much further, telling the surprising and unknown stories of women who broke barriers in their own chosen fields — from the coal mines of West Virginia to the boardrooms of Madison Avenue. And it will take the story to today, when a new generation is both defending and questioning the legacy of their mothers.

“I’m so happy that we’re finally hearing the stories and voices of women who make America,” said Gloria Steinem, one of the project’s advisors and featured subjects. “We do what we see, not what we’re told, so an incomplete story of this country damages everyone. 'MAKERS' will not only change our picture of the present, but release talent for the future.”

The broadcast of "Makers: Women Who Make America" comes on the heels of the launch of MAKERS.com early in 2012. This landmark multiplatform video experience from PBS and AOL aims to become the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled. The AOL-developed interactive video platform has become a source of inspiration for millions of people, with more than 32.5 million video views to date.

MAKERS is on Facebook, Pinterest and you can follow @MAKERSwomen on Twitter.

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Trailer: Makers: Women Who Make America

Above: "Makers: Women Who Make America" will tell the remarkable story of the Women's Movement for the first time. Built on an extraordinary archive of interviews already completed for the website Makers.com, the film will feature the stories of those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and those – both the famous and unknown – caught up in its wake.

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Makers: Meet Some Of The Women Who Make America

Above: The film is built from first-person, intimate accounts of women who experienced this time of change, including movement leaders such as author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; opponents such as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly; celebrities including media leader Oprah Winfrey and journalist Katie Couric; political figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; business leaders such as Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc., and a co-owner of The Colorado Rockies; and many “ordinary” women who confronted the dramatic social upheaval in their own lives.

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Makers: Women Who Make America: Civil Rights

Above: Radicalized by their experiences for Civil Rights, women began see there needed to be a women's liberation movement.

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Makers: Women Who Make America: Women in the Military

Above: Phyllis Schlafly leads the protest against the ERA and focuses on the possibility of women being exposed to the military draft.

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Makers: Women Who Make America: Stop ERA

Above: The fight to ratify the ERA ran into a changing political climate, and effective opponents.

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Makers: Ladies Home Journal Sit In

Above: Women held a sit-in at the offices of Ladies Home Journal

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Makers: Women Who Make America: 1950 Housewives

Above: Most middle class women of the 1950s became homemakers. Many women felt dissatisfied.

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Makers: Women Who Make America: Dr. Susan Love

Above: In 1980, Susan Love became the first female General Surgeon on the staff of Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. Realizing that women were not getting the best care in the treatment of breast cancer she decided to specialize and has drastically altered the equations surrounding the disease. 1990’s Dr. Susan Love’s "Breast Book" is now in it's fifth edition.

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Makers: Women Who Make America: Conservative Backlash

Above: Abortion would become the leading edge of the Conservative backlash.

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Makers: Women Who Make America: Roe vs. Wade

Above: Sarah Weddington discusses arguing Roe vs. Wade in front of the Supreme Court. The verdict gave the Women's Movement a jolt of momentum.