We’re back with our Equality Now Feminist Culture Club, bringing you a round up of recommendations from our staff and supporters of books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts that act as a megaphone for women’s rights. As July marks #DisabilityPrideMonth we’ve included some important work from the disabled community among our recommendations. Want to read more? Head to our Feminist Culture Club archive.
Kuwaiti academic and writer Shahd Alshammari’s memoir of living with Multiple Sclerosis explores the perceptions and stigmas surrounding disabled and chronically ill people in the Arab world. Through excerpts from her own journals and conversations with a former student, Ashammari delves into how her illness has shaped her life and relationships.
A literature professor, Alshammari also reflects upon how her story fits into an intersectional narrative of women in the Arab world. In addition to her personal life, these struggles are brought to bear in Alshammari’s classroom amid an academy where women’s studies and disability narratives are still emerging.
Haben Girma made history in 2013 when she became the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School. Born and raised in California, Girma’s parents were Eritrean refugees who helped to inspire her work to fight for justice and to strive to connect with everyone she met. Now a disability rights lawyer, Girma recalls how an incident at a dining hall when she was an undergraduate helped her to shape her path as an advocate for those with disabilities.
Determined to teach others that disabilities are an opportunity for innovation, in addition to her legal work, Gima also travels around the world teaching employers about the importance of inclusion.
Books for the youngest feminists
Every morning, Loujain watches her baba attach his wings and fly away, dreaming that one day she’ll be able to do the same. This story, inspired by the experiences of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Loujain AlHathloul, who was a part of the successful campaign to lift Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving and was later imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 2018, introduces young readers to the injustice of inequality and reminds readers of all ages to follow their dreams.
Co-authors Laura Ann-Thompson and Sean Qualls tell the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a Ghanaian disability rights activist and athlete. Born with a severely deformed leg, Emmanuel faces many challenges. Although other people doubt his abilities, his mother teaches her son he can still strive to achieve anything, including playing sports and riding a bicycle. When Emmanuel’s mother becomes ill, he rides his bicycle 400 miles across Ghana over the course of only ten days.
Based on a true story, this 2019 Spanish film tells the true story of Gennett Corcuera, the first Deafblind woman to receive a university degree in Europe. At age seven she is adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage by a Spanish woman in 1984. The film follows Gennett from her early struggles with her new life in Madrid as well as in navigating a world — and educational system — built for those with the ability to see and hear, and her eventual work as a teacher.
Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami’s 2015 documentary follows Sonita Alizadeh, a 15-year-old Afghan rapper and undocumented refugee living in Tehran. During the making of the film, which won the World Documentary Prize and Audience Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Ghaemmaghami interfered when Alizadeh’s family attempted to force her into marriage at the age of 16, later helping her secure a scholarship to finish high school in the United States.
The first French-language film commissioned by Netflix, director Éléonore Pourriat’s romantic comedy follows Damien, a brazen chauvinist who, after a bump on the head, wakes up in a society dominated by women. As Damien navigates this alternate universe, he gets a taste of his own medicine as he struggles to adapt to a social order where he is no longer the one whose whims and tastes are catered to — and falls in love with a powerful female author and intellectual along the way.
This new comedy-drama series from Amy Schumer follows Beth, a wine distributor living in New York City, who is forced to confront some old emotional wounds following her return to her hometown. Although Schumer garners laughs, the show doesn’t shy away from addressing some of its serious topics more bluntly. Notably, Schumer included her own real-life struggle with the disorder trichotillomania, a compulsive desire to pull out body hair, as part of her character’s storyline.
If you haven’t already seen Michaela Coel’s hit series you’re in for one of the most gripping watches of your life. I May Destroy You looks at the life of Arabella, a young, successful writer in the aftermath of her sexual assault. Over the course of the series, viewers watch Arabella grapple with the ensuing trauma of trying to piece together not just what happened to her, but also as she begins to question other aspects of her life.
The Invisible Not Broken Network is a series of five podcasts all delving into different aspects of chronic illness and disability. From Invisible But Not Broken, which covers a variety of topics around chronic illness and disability, to Explicitly Sick, which offers a more irreverent take on chronic illness and disability, to Sex and Chronic Illness with Dr. Lee, where Dr. Lee Philips takes on the myth that disabled and chronically ill people do not have sex.
This podcast from Mumbai-based independent media company The Swaddle hosts a weekly conversation on a variety of topics, including rape culture, social media, and relationships. Recent episode highlights include an appearance by Christina Dhanaraj, co-founder of Dalit History Month, and other episodes on the impact of motherhood on career, the ideal of the strong independent woman, and allyship.
Do you have any suggestions for us to share next month? Do send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
Achieving gender equality will happen faster if everyone takes up the challenge. Equality Now is proud to stand with No nonsense in our shared commitment to enduring, inclusive equality for women & girls.