The women highlighted in Unladylike2020 are five little-known trailblazers such as Martha Hughes Cannon, the country’s first female state senator; Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress; Mary Church Terrell, a leader in the anti-lynching movement and a founder of the NAACP; Jovita Idar, a journalist, and president of the first Mexican American women’s civil rights organization; and Zitkála-Šá, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, who lobbied for U.S. citizenship, voting rights, and sovereignty for American Indians.
Timed with the 2020 presidential election and the women’s suffrage centennial, subjects include the first women in the U.S. Congress and State Senate, and a co-founder of the NAACP. The hour-long documentary examines the methods women used to overcome incredible odds and persistent resistance to forge the foundation of equality through political change. “Two of our heroines, Mary Church Terrell and Jovita Idar, took a stand against lynching. In 2020, Congress is still debating the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act after 120 years of trying to make lynching a federal crime.
Charlotte Mangin, executive producer and series creator, adds, “Our Unladylike2020 changemakers were critical to making the equality agenda part of the national fabric of this nation.” The special is based on a multimedia series, created by the duo, of 26 documentary shorts that launched in March on the American Masters YouTube channel. New episodes debut on Wednesdays through August 26th, which is Women’s Equality Day.
The hour concludes with the perspectives of contemporary female leaders on the lasting impact of these five women, commenting about how though much of their work began 100 years ago, it’s still unfinished today. Each of these stories have the ears they are to reach. Each can build upon that which came before and why we still do the work for equality.
Part Two coming soon