Makers: Women Who Make America

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Makers: Women Who Make America
MAKERS, Women Who Make America - logo 01.png
Genre Documentary
Distributed by PBS
Directed by Barak Goodman
Produced by Dyllan McGee, Peter Kunhardt, Betsy West (executive)
Barak Goodman, Pamela Mason Wagner
Written by Barak Goodman, Pamela Mason Wagner
Narrated by Meryl Streep
Music by Joel Goodman
Production company Kunhardt McGee Productions
Storyville Films
Ark Media
Country United States
Language English
Original channel WETA-TV Public Television
Release date February 26, 2013 (2013-02-26)
Running time 3 hours
Official website

Makers: Women Who Make America is a 2013 documentary film about the struggle for women's equality in the United States during the last five decades of the 20th century. The film was narrated by Meryl Streep and distributed by the Public Broadcasting Service as a three-part, three-hour television documentary in February 2013. Makers features interviews with women from all social strata, from politicians like Hillary Rodham Clinton and television stars like Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey, to flight attendants, coal miners and phone company workers.[1]

In 2014, PBS commissioned a six-episode series that would expand on the themes of the documentary, as a continuation of PBS's broader Makers partnership with AOL.[2] The series is scheduled to premiere on September 30, 2014.[3][4]


Project founder and producer Dyllan McGee of Kunhardt McGee Productions began what eventually became the Makers project in 2004. Originally, McGee set out to make a film about Gloria Steinem, but Steinem turned down the proposal. "She didn’t want it to be all about her – she wanted the bigger picture", McGee recalls.[5] McGee named the documentary Makers to emphasize the sense of momentum in a continuing, ongoing women's movement.[1]


The first part of the film begins in the 1950s and 1960s ("Awakening"), and follows the impact of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) on women in the United States. College student Kathrine Switzer runs the Boston Marathon as a registered competitor and challenges the ban on women. The second part takes place in the 1970s, ("Changing the World"), and covers the sexual revolution and abortion debate. The third part of the film ("Charting a New Course") ends in the 1980s and 1990s, and discusses issues facing women in the workforce, violence against women, the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination and sexual harassment.


Makers was produced by Storyville Films in partnership with Kunhardt McGee Productions and WETA-TV, and sponsored by AOL.[6]


The documentary is linked to, a collaborative project between PBS and AOL featuring videos of hundreds of women who contributed to the struggle for women's equality in the United States.[7] Referring to the project, McGee said in 2014, "The goal of Makers is to be the largest collection of women's stories ever assembled."[8] The video project went live in February 2012.[9] The film premiered at Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City on February 6, 2013. The documentary was first broadcast on PBS on February 26, 2013.[10]


David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle called the documentary "one of the best and most far-reaching films about the modern women's movement".[7]

Featured women[edit]

The documentary features Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, Madeleine Albright, Christiane Amanpour, Geraldine Ferraro, Carol Burnett, Condoleezza Rice, Phyllis Schlafly, and women who appear on Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Lesser known women, such as Maria Pepe, who was instrumental in establishing the right of girls to play Little League Baseball, are also featured.[11][12]

Name Image Notes
Betty Friedan Betty Friedan 1960.jpg Friedan's 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, helped influence the rise of second-wave feminism. She questioned the assumption that women should be satisfied with being only a wife and a mother.[1] Author Kate Kelly notes that Friedan's book "gave voice to housewives who were beginning to realize that cleaning house and doing laundry wasn't exactly fulfilling."[13] Inspired by Friedan's book, the National Organization for Women was formed in 1966 with Friedan as its first president.
Marlo Thomas Marlo Thomas 2008.jpg In 1966, Thomas began playing the character of Ann Marie in the ABC series That Girl, the first American sitcom to portray a single woman pursuing a career who didn't live with her parents or depend on her husband.
Katherine Switzer Kathrine Switzer at the 2011 Berlin Marathon Expo.jpg In 1967, Switzer was a college student at Syracuse University. She wanted to run but her school did not have a track team where women could compete. The men's coach spoke glowingly about the Boston Marathon, inspiring Switzer to compete in the event. However, the marathon was an all-male competition. Women were discouraged from long distance running with concerns that running might damage their reproductive organs.[14] Switzer decided to register for the Boston Marathon as "K.V. Switzer", directly challenging the all-male entrant criteria in competitive sports.[1] Jock Semple, the Boston Marathon race official, tried to pull her out of the race but Switzer's boyfriend blocked him and Switzer finished the marathon.[7] Media coverage of the incident brought international attention to women's athletics.
Gloria Steinem Gloria Steinem at news conference, Women's Action Alliance, January 12, 1972.jpg "Before this wave of feminism came along, the majority of people probably thought that male and female roles were due to biology or nature, or God or Freud, or something that you couldn't change. Now the majority of people in this country know that if there is inequality it's wrong, it's unjust, that we're all human beings, and the point is our individual talents. That's a huge change."[15]

Makers Season 2[edit]

Genre documentary
Created by Dyllan McGee
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2[4]
No. of episodes 3[a]
Executive producer(s) Dyllan McGee (Season 2)[8]
Running time approx. 1 hour
Production company(s)
  • PBS
  • AOL
Original channel PBS
Original run February 26, 2013 (2013-02-26) – present
External links

On January 21, 2014, as part of its partnership with AOL in the Makers "initiative", PBS announced a six-episode series that would continue examining the themes of the original three-hour documentary. Each of the series's six episodes focuses on a different career field, and prominent women in that field.[2] The series, referred to as "Makers Season 2" by PBS, is scheduled to premiere on September 30, 2014.[3][4]


No. in series[a] No. in season Title[2] Featured women[2][b] Producer(s)[2] Director(s)[2] Airdate[3]
4 1 Women & War Linda Bray, Valerie Plame Wilson, Molly Moore, Clarissa Ward, Christiane Amanpour, Gen. Angela Salinas, V.Adm. Michelle Howard Rachel Grady,
Heidi Ewing
Rachel Grady,
Heidi Ewing
September 30, 2014
5 2 Women & Space Wally Funk, Jerrie Cobb, Eileen Collins, Shannon Lucid, Rhea Seddon, Kathryn Sullivan, Mae Jemison, Peggy Whitson, Marleen Martinez, Dava Newman Michael Epstein Michael Epstein October 7, 2014
6 3 Women & Comedy Chelsea Handler, Mo'Nique, Sarah Silverman, Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch, Kathy Griffin Heidi Ewing,
Rachel Grady
Heidi Ewing,
Rachel Grady
October 14, 2014
7 4 Women & Business Ursula Burns, Sallie Krawcheck, Cathy Hughes, Martha Stewart, Sheryl Sandberg Leah Williams Jamila Wignot October 21, 2014
8 5 Women & Hollywood Jane Fonda, Shonda Rhimes, Linda Woolverton, Lena Dunham, Glenn Close, Nancy Meyers, Zoe Saldana Rory Kennedy,
Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Linda Goldstein Knowlton October 28, 2014
9 6 Women & Politics Hillary Clinton, Barbara Mikulski, Olympia Snowe, Shirley Chisholm, Rashida Tlaib, Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, Elizabeth Warren, Susan Collins, Tulsi Gabbard Rory Kennedy,
Grace Lee
Grace Lee November 4, 2014


  1. ^ a b Although PBS continues to refer to the first production as a single documentary, the three parts into which it was divided for broadcast are counted here as separate episodes.
  2. ^ Partial lists.


  1. ^ a b c d Elber, Lynn (February 26, 2013). "'Makers' shows women's place is in US history". Associated Press.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "TCA: PBS orders more 'Women Who Make America', Interviews Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman, Shonda Rhimes". Deadline (PMC). January 21, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Makers on PBS". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Home | MAKERS Season 2". PBS. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ McGee, Dyllan (March 27, 2012). "The Making of MAKERS". Makers.
  6. ^ Gates, Anita (February 25, 2013). "Redefining Women's Work". The New York Times. p. C7.
  7. ^ a b c Wiegand, David (February 22, 2013). "'Makers' review: Tracing women's movement". San Francisco Chronicle. p. E1.
  8. ^ a b "PBS Announces Six New MAKERS Documentaries to Air June through September 2014". PBS. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ Storyville Films. MAKERS: Women Who Make America 2011.
  10. ^ *Woodruff, Mandi (February 26, 2013). "Some Of The World's Most Influential Women Showed Up To The Premier Of A New Documentary". Business Insider.
  11. ^ Dolan, Kerry A. (October 11, 2012). "Makers". AOL. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  12. ^ The Amazing Women Who Make America, Telling Their Stories Via Video". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  13. ^ Kelly, Kate (February 25, 2013). "New PBS Program Makers Puts Women's Movement in Context". The Huffington Post.
  14. ^ Stroup, Sheila (February 21, 2013). "'Makers: Women Who Make America,' airing Tuesday on PBS, an eye-opener for young women". The Times-Picayune.
  15. ^ Steinem, Gloria (2013). "Gloria Steinem. Makers Profile: Feminist Activist". Makers.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]