On this International Women’s day, the Cambre team has created a list of resources on gender and diversity and content promoting gender diversity (and strong women leads 💪💁). We’re sharing the books, movies, podcasts, TV shows and more that we love.
If you’re also looking for a soundtrack for the day, don’t miss our #IWD21 Playlist on Spotify!
The views and opinions expressed in these stories do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Cambre. They have been put together to shine the spotlight on women’s remarkable contribution and trigger conversations around gender equality.
- Period. End of Sentence (on Netflix): This short documentary shows the stigma around menstruation in India (and globally).
- Disclosure (on Netflix): A deep dive into the problematic representation of trans individuals in the media, told by trans thinkers and creatives. A powerful documentary that finally gives voice to the trans community, a community too often overlooked, marginalised, and fetishised.
- Knock Down the House (on Netflix): The documentary follows the rise of a new generation in American politics during the 2018 mid-term elections and features – among others – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
- Kreatur (in French and German): Short TV programme episodes about gender equality in different fields (sports, medicine, education), as well as focusing on various feminist movements (ecofeminism, feminist movements in the 1960s, during the Arab Spring)
- Little Girl: Eight-year-old Sasha questions her gender and, in doing so, evokes the reactions of a society that still abides by a biological boy-girl way of thinking.
- BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour: An hour-long re-cap of global news items related to women’s issues.
- Burn it all down: A weekly podcast about women in sports and culture.
- En(gender)ed: Stories exploring the systems, practices, and policies that enable gender-based violence and oppression and the solutions to end it.
- The Guilty Feminist: A show which brings an unfiltered approach to feminism in the podcasting world. Guests discuss the simultaneous shame, strength, strife, and triumph of being a feminist today.
- Popaganda: Bi-monthly investigative deep dives into the intersection of pop culture and feminism.
- hey, girl.: Created with sisterhood and storytelling in mind, the author sits down with women who inspire her.
- La Poudre (in French and some episodes in English): Showcases stories of famous contemporary women and feminist figures.
- Un podcast à soi (in French): Similar to a documentary mixing testimonies, interviews with experts, thoughts of the author and reading short extracts from books, each episode is devoted to a theme linked to feminism and often focusing on recent news.
- Les couilles sur la table (in French): A podcast with a cheeky name in which activists, writers, academics discuss contemporary masculinities through a feminist lens.
- Femmes puissantes (in French): Series of interviews with powerful women working in different fields (politics, medicine, literature, religion). These interviews have also been compiled in a book, also entitled Femmes puissantes.
- Pas son genre (in French): Radio show addressing topical issues relating to women’s rights, gender equality, LGBTIQ+ rights.
- Ainsi soit-elle by Benoîte Groult (in French): The author analyses the “infinite serfdom” of women and launches the first public protest against the practice of female genital mutilation. Direct and straightforward book where humour is also a weapon to fight.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The story of a young Nigerian, Ifemelu, who immigrates to the United States to attend university. The novel traces Ifemelu’s life in both countries, threaded by her love story with high school classmate Obinze.
- Beauté fatale: les nouveaux visages d’une aliénation féminine, by Mona Chollet (in French): Looking into advertisements, TV series, women’s magazines, testimonies from former models and much more, the author shows how the industry of “fashion-beauty shaming” keeps on maintaining sexists bias in the cultural sphere.
- Culottées – Des femmes qui ne font que ce qu’elles veulent by Pénélope Bagieu (in French): Two comic books showcasing women from the past and present whose stories are unusual and/ or inspiring – from Apache warrior to astronaut or bearded woman! The comics were also adapted in an animated series.
- Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates: The book is based on a social project, which has gained more than 10,000 participants, and concentrates on recounting women’s experiences with microaggression and sexism.
- Gärningsmannen är polis, by Lisa Bjurwald, Kerstin Dejemyr (in Swedish): New book on sexual harassment and the culture of silence in the Swedish police, which contributed to a lot of debate in Sweden.
- Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler: Since its publication in 1990, Gender Trouble has become one of the key works of contemporary feminist theory and an essential piece for anyone interested in the study of gender, queer theory, and the politics of sexuality in culture.
- Good night stories for rebel girls: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, illustrated by 60 women artists from all over the world.
- Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay: A memoir about food, body image, and the experiences and emotions related to them. It discusses pleasure, self-confidence, health, appearance, and how the world perceives women.
- I’m Every Woman and other works by Liv Strömquist: Through stories of the partners of several famous men such as Elvis Presley or Joseph Stalin, the cartoonist makes a funny and scathing critique of the patriarchal society’s values.
- Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez: In this book, Perez argues that the data, which governs our lives, is biased because it fails to consider the needs of both genders. She provides relatable daily examples of procedures, which omit to consider the experiences of women. For example, the development of the belt in cars was based on the male physique.
- I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé: A novel based on a real story, that of Tituba, one of the women accused of being a witch during the Salem trials of 1692 in the US.
- King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes: Published in 2006, it has become a French classic feminist manifesto. The short essay, based on her experiences, questions in an unapologetic manner what femininity means and how social constructs can enslave all of us, no matter what our gender is.
- Milkman by Anna Burns: Set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the story follows an 18-year-old girl harassed by an older married man known as the “milkman”.
- Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir: Set in the conservative Icelandic society of the 1960s, this novel showcases Hekla, a woman eager to become a writer and free herself from social prejudice.
- Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay: A collection of essays combining the experiences of several women with rape culture and sexual harassment.
- On Intersectionality: Essential Writings by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw: An accessible introduction to Crenshaw’s work, who coined the concept of ‘intersectionality’ – a framework to understand how aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege (e.g. gender, caste, sex, race, class, sexuality, religion, disability, physical appearance, and height).
- Orlando and other works by Virginia Woolf: Starring a radiant transgender figure, this novel offers a reflection on gender and echoes the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, English writer and poet.
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde: A collection of the essential writings of the author. It discusses intersectional feminism, sexism, ageism, racism, homophobia, and class.
- Sorcières: La puissance invaincue des femmes by Mona Chollet (again!) (in French): A book exploring the history of witch hunts and explaining how the witch, an eternal victim of the moral order of men, has become an icon of feminism.
- Swing Time by Zadie Smith: Beginning in 2008, the novel tells the story of two mixed-race girls who meet in 1982 in a tap class in London. The story follows them into adulthood through different paths. It gives food for thought about English society from the point of view of intersectionality.
- The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: A dystopia written 35 years ago and adapted in series. The story plunges us into the daily life of June, who became Offred, a sex slave whose only role, within Gilead’s society, is to give birth to children for others.
- The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir: The classic and eminent feminist work of Simone de Beauvoir, published in 1949, and in which she discusses the treatment of women throughout history.
Blogs and guides
- Projet Crocodiles (in French and Portuguese): Comics illustrating women’s testimonies on issues such as street harassment, machism and ordinary sexism. These comics were also published as a book.
- It’s Not That Grey: Practical guide on sexual harassment explaining how to detect harassment and speak up – be it as a victim or as a witness.
- MeTooEP blog: A blog created by workers of the European Parliament, and through which anonymous testimonies of survivors of sexual violence in the European institutions are published.
- On sexual harassment in the workplace:
- “Examples of Sexual and Non-Sexual Harassment”
- Sexual harassment in the world of work, International Labour Organization
- Handbook: Addressing violence and harassment against women in the world of work, International Labour Organization
- UN Women Training Centre: Courses in English, Spanish, French and Arabic on numerous topics such as gender equality at work; gender equality and trade; Women, Peace and Security; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; Introduction to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, etc.
- Feminists in the City: Guided tours in several French cities, as well as online seminars and workshops on topics relating to women’s rights and gender equality: Women in Art, Ecofeminism, The History of Witch Hunts, and much more.
- Elles font l’art (in French): Free MOOC by The Centre Pompidou that invites you to discover another history of modern and contemporary art dedicated to women creators. The sessions are illustrated by Pénélope Bagieu (author of Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World).
- Formations Nous Toutes (in French): Online classes on sexism and sexual violence.
- Anti-Racism Daily: Daily emails aimed at dismantling white supremacy. Founded by Nicole Cardoza, it features diverse voices that report on critical current events related to racism and systemic oppression.
- Council of Europe’s Gender equality newsletter: A quarterly newsletter on the Council of Europe’s work and initiatives, as well as resources, on gender equality.
- European Institute for Gender Equality newsletter: A monthly newsletter on the work done by the EU’s agency on gender equality.
- L’Importante (in French): Media reporting on gender equality and women’s rights news worldwide. Readers can subscribe to their newsletter.
- Hot Take: Presents a weekly curated list of must-read climate stories and insights on what’s happening in the climate conversation. Written from an intersectional point of view, Mary and Amy advocate for making climate rage sexy.
- Women Who Do Stuff (in French): Associative, independent and feminist media which contributes to the emancipation of women and gender minorities. They produce a monthly newsletter and an annual magazine.
- Wild Flower Sex: A sexual wellness and adult products store promoting self-care and providing a sex-positive and educational environment.
- The Wonder Down Under: A User’s Guide to the Vagina by Nina Brochmann and Ellen Stokken Dahl (available in 35 languages): A Norwegian best-seller that gives women the knowledge they need to make wise choices about their sexual health.
Stories about women
- Borgen (Netflix): The programme tells how, against all the odds, Birgitte Nyborg Christensen, a minor centrist politician, becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Denmark. The story is inspired by the life of European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
- Fleabag (Amazon Prime): Award-winning playwright Phoebe Waller-Bridge writes and stars as Fleabag, a woman trying to heal while rejecting anyone who tries to help her and keeping up her bravado all along.
- Grace & Frankie (Netflix): A powerful and hilarious representation of women empowering women… even in their seventies! Stars the incredible Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
- GLOW (Netflix): This comedy series is set in the 80s and follows the set up of an all-women wrestling league. Hilarious and heartwarming.
- I May Destroy You: One of the most critically-acclaimed series of the past year, the show follows its main character as she deals with the aftermath of sexual assault. A must watch.
- Insecure: The series follows the everyday struggles of its main character, Issa, as a young adult in LA. Funny, touching and spot on.
- Killing Eve: The series follows two women, a psychopathic assassin and an MI5 agent. Absolutely thrilling!
- Orange Is The New Black (Netflix): The series is set in a women’s prison and takes on a wide array of issues, including a bold portrayal of women’s issues, the American prison system, race and women’s empowerment. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should!
- Pose (Netflix): A drama spotlighting the legends, icons and ferocious house mothers of New York’s underground ball culture, a movement that first gained notice in the 1980s. An honest and emotional look at NYC’s gender-nonconforming drag ball culture scene in the 1980s.
- Unorthodox (Netflix): This miniseries tells the story of a young woman from a Jewish community in Brooklyn who flees to Germany from her home and loveless marriage.
- Becoming (Netflix): You’ve heard of Michelle Obama’s book? This documentary follows her during her book tour and sheds some light on how she’s gotten to be where she is… and who she is.
- Homecoming (Netflix): Is there anything more empowering than seeing a woman excelling at what she does, and bringing people up with her? That’s precisely what Beyoncé did during her 2019 Coachella performance as the first Black Woman headliner of the festival (ever!). An ode to African-American culture and women’s empowerment.
- Adam by Maryam Touzani: The film focuses on Samia, a young unwed pregnant mother who goes looking for work and is taken in by a widowed baker, Abla. The film was inspired by a similar situation the director experienced where her parents sheltered a pregnant woman in Tangier, Morocco for several days.
- Girl by Lukas Dhont: The film is the story of a trans Belgian girl who pursues a career as a ballerina.
- Girlhood by Céline Sciamma: The plot focuses on the life of a teenage girl who lives in a rough neighbourhood on Paris’s outskirts. The movie discusses and challenges conceptions of race, gender and class.
- I Still Hide To Smoke by Rayhana Obermeyer: Fatima is a strong-willed woman who works as a masseuse in a hammam in Algiers. In a society limiting women’s freedoms, the hammam where she works is a safe place to roll a cigarette or talk, away from the eyes of men, and women from different backgrounds gather there.
- Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven: The film is set in a remote Turkish village and depicts five young orphaned sisters’ lives and the challenges they face growing up as girls in a conservative society.
- Woman by Yann Arthus Bertrand: Worldwide project giving a voice to 2,000 women across 50 different countries. The film offers an intimate portrait of those who constitute half of humanity, shedding light on the injustices women are subjected to, and in particular, underlining the inner strength of women.
- A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen: A three-act play premiered in 1879, which deals with the fate of a married woman in Norway who lacked reasonable opportunities for self-fulfilment in a male-dominated world. The play caused controversy and was subject to censorship.
- A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution and 19 women: Tales of resilience from Syria by Samar Yazbek: Samar Yazbek is a Syrian writer and journalist who has been a prominent voice in support of human rights, and more specifically, women’s rights in Syria. Her works were awarded several prizes.
- Beloved and other works by Toni Morrison: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, Beloved tells the story of a family of former slaves whose home is haunted by an evil spirit. It is inspired by a true-life incident involving Margaret Garner, who was a slave.
- Les Impatientes by Djaïli Amadou Amal (in French): Follows the lives of three women as they contend with the injustices of early marriage and gender-based violence in polygamous households. The story is inspired by the author’s own experience of arranged and polygamous marriage at the age of 17, as well as her observations of women around her.
- Maha Mamo – A luta de uma apátrida pelo direito de existir by Maha Mamo (in Portuguese): Biography of a powerful and resilient woman who was stateless until she was 30 years old. Born in Lebanon of Syrian parents belonging to different religions, Maha could acquire neither Lebanese nor Syrian nationality. After living in Brazil as stateless refugees for four years, Maha and her sister Souad received Brazilian nationality. For those who do not understand Portuguese, you can read her story in this New York Times article.
- The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi: the story of two women in Afghanistan, living a century apart but tied by legacy. In the contemporary storyline, Rahima is made to dress as a bacha posh, a girl dressed as a boy to help provide for her family and escort her sisters to school. Shekiba’s story lends a historical fiction bend to the novel, as she dresses as a man to guard King Habibullah’s harem.
- 100 tampons by Marcia Belsky: Did you know that when NASA sent its first woman astronaut to space for a 7-day trip, they gave her 100 tampons “to be safe”? Marcia Belsky has written an hilarious song about those “rocket scientists”.
Want to support a feminist cause in Brussels?
Here are some organisations to which you can donate some of your time or money, or simply discover:
- Amazone hosts the offices of nearly 20 women’s organisations. Its documentation centre includes resources on gender issues from authorities, women’s organisations and academia.
- Brussels Binder is an organisation working on improving gender balance in policy debates. It created a database of women experts in different fields.
- BruZelle fights menstrual poverty by collecting menstrual pads and distributing them for free to women living in precarious conditions.
- Collecti.e.f 8 maars is an organisation preparing actions each 8 March in different cities in Belgium and calling on women to strike on that day.
- Elles Tournent promotes and values women’s work in the artistic and cultural world, particularly in the audiovisual sector. To this end, it organises a festival of movies produced by women.
- End FGM European Network is an umbrella network of 30 European organisations based in 14 European countries operating to sustain European action to ending female genital mutilation.
- European Network of Migrant Women promotes equal treatment, equal rights and better integration for migrant women in Europe.
- Garance asbl is an organisation focusing on violence against women.
- Le Monde selon les femmes is an NGO active in the field of development, lifelong education and action research.
- Period. is a non-profit network that organises workshops, seminars and festivals.
- Young Feminist Europe is an open platform aiming at amplifying young feminist voices and activities across Europe through campaigns, advocacy and movement building.
Want to keep up on Instagram?
Here are some accounts you can follow:
- aranyajohar became known with her slam “A Brown’s girl guide to Gender”, deploring discriminations persisting in Indian society. Since then, she has become a feminist voice in her country and regularly posts texts questioning women’s place, virility, and safety on social networks and in the streets.
- bodyposipanda is the very colourful Instagram account of Megan Jayne Crabbe, where she tells us all about her journey towards body positivity.
- dans_la_bouche_dune_fille was launched by a collective of women who testify to the sexism experienced daily, at work, in class or in the streets.
- girlswhocode: an organisation that aims to “change the face of tech” and close the current gender gap in technology.
- girlgaze highlights the work of photographers, directors and other creative people, both women and non-binary, unknown to the general public.
- oursharedshelf is an intersectional feminist book club founded by Emma Watson, which aims to create discussion around major works of feminism and more confidential books.
- penelopeb gives shape in her drawings to sexist and patriarchal prejudices by recounting these extraordinary women’s lives who are often overlooked by the general public.
- recipesforselflove is an illustrator that is all about promoting self-love from a woman’s perspective. Not only does her drawings showcase the woman psyche, but it also celebrates diversity.
- rupikaur is an Indian-born Canadian poet, illustrator, and author. She publishes poems dealing with topics such as violence, menstruation, love, break-up and femininity.
- the_womanhood_project explores as many questions as there are ways of being a woman through portraits. It addresses topics such as menstruation, prostitution, sexual violence, transsexuality, maternity, and age.
- sophiabush: an actress known for her role in One Tree Hill, she campaigns against physical and moral violence against women. She is also one of the founding members of the feminist movement Time’s Up in the United States.
- theunsungheroines makes room for those who have paved the way in all possible and imaginable fields, from sport to science, including politics and entertainment.
- thisisaliceskinner: regularly accompanied by reflections on feminism or inspiring quotes, Alice Skinner’s colourful illustrations also deal with topical subjects, whether it be body positivism or contraception.
- wondher: interviews, interactive debates, humour, portraits of women, mutual aid and solidarity. This accessible medium allows a large community to come together around various feminist discussions and offers a flow of daily information feeding our thinking.