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Women & Work

Guide to library resources for research in Women & Work

Films on Women + Work

 We list here some of the more significant films concerning women in the workplace, documentaries and fiction based on real events and people.  Check the online Library Catalog, to see if RUL has titles you would like to view (see the informaton on the Media Center below for circulation and viewing policies).  Or, check Netflix and the Internet. 

DOC: Documentary; DRAMA: Dramatization

Heaven Will Protect The Working Girl (1994) American Social History Project. The world of the immigrant worker in New York City in 1909 and the "Uprising of the 20,000", as seen through the eyes of Ida and Angelica, two young Jewish and Italian immigrant women.  DOC

The Life and Times of Rosie The Riveter. (1980) Directed by Connie Field. A wonderful history of the "Rosies" who worked in the factories during World War II and who were forced out when the men returned. Told by by five of the "Rosies" themselves.  DOC

Live Nude Girls Unite! ( 2000)  Directed by Julia Query & Vicky Funari. Query, a performance artist and former dancer, tells the story of a group of strippers in San Francisco who got fed up with their working conditions and formed the first Exotic Dancers Union. DOC 

Norma Rae (1976) Directed by Martin Ritt, starring Sally Field, Ron Leibman. Based on the real life story of Crystal Lee Sutton, a textile worker who joined forces with a labor organizer to unionize a southern mill.  DRAMA

Made in L.A. (2007) Directed by Almudena Carracedo. A documentary about three Latina immigrants, workers in Los Angeles garment sweatshops, who meet at the Garment Worker Center and campaign, for what turns out to be three years, for basic labor protections.  Originally broadcast on public television (P.O.V.), this film can be purchased at  DOC 

North Country. (2005) Directed by Niki Caro, starring Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand.A single mother takes a job in the coal mine to make a living wage, but finds that the female miners are abused and humiliated by the other workers.  But when she sues for sexual harassment, the other women are too scared to join her. DRAMA

Salt of The Earth (1954) Directed by Herbert Biberman. Gripping story about the struggle of a New Mexican mining community for better working conditions, which explores roles of women, class and human dignity.  DRAMA

Silkwood (1983) Directed by Mike Nichols, starring Meryl Streep and Cher. The fictionalized story of Karen Silkwood, who struggled for safe conditions at the nuclear plant where she worked, and was mysteriously killed.  DRAMA

Union Maids (1977) Directed by Julia Reichert. The fascinating story of Sylvia, Kate and Stella, who tell the way things really were back in the days when people risked their lives and jobs to organize trade unions.  DOC

With Babies and Banners: The Story of The Women's Emergency Brigade (1978) Directed by Lorraine Gray. The "untold story" of The Women's Emergency Brigade, the working women, wives, mothers, sisters, who were the backbone of the 1937 Flint Sit-Down Strike.  DOC


Made in Dagenham

Labor Film Guides




Rosemary Feurer's "Culture" page.  

Workng Stiffs, Union Maids, Reds and Riffraff: An Expanded Guide to Films About Labor   by Tom Zaniello (ILR Press, 2003, PN1995.9.L28Z36 2003, available in the Alexander and SMLR Libraries.

Online Labor Film Database, sponsored by the DC Labor Film Fest & co-sponsored by LabourStart.


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