Posted by: kyranixon15 | April 3, 2014

Trying to Look for the Positive: PBS Series ‘Makers’

Although it is true that women still have a ways to go and have been very underrepresented in various aspects of society, such as sports, business, politics, etc., I also think that it is important to be reminded of how far we have come and the progress that has been made. Too often, I feel that the concept of women and leadership leads to negative discussions about women’s lack of power. But, at the same time, I think we should also try to talk about the positive side of women and leadership and the gains we have already made. This way, we are not solely focusing on the negative, like we so often do. I think it’s important to be reminded every so often about examples of women paving the way for advancement, because then this gives us the hope and strength to continue to push even further for empowerment.

This is why I was instantly drawn to an article I saw in the paper a few weeks ago about a PBS documentary series and online digital video initiative that features various clips, interviews, and stories from women all over the world who have made a difference in leadership, empowerment, growth, and change. This especially goes along with our recent discussions about women and the media. The series is called ‘Makers: Women Who Make America’ and it first aired on PBS close to a year ago and new videos and segments still continue to be added online. As I was searching through the website, I saw that women such as Oprah, Judy Blume, Gloria Steinem, and hundreds more are featured while sharing stories about how they overcame their losses and broke through gender barriers.

The Makers website has a blog, documentary link, and hundreds of videos that highlight the personal triumphs of women. As I was looking through some of the videos, I realized that even though we still have much work to do to put more women at the forefront, it truly is remarkable to look back at all of the accomplishments that actually have been made and are continuing to be made. Many of the women featured are women who have stories I never even knew about and even famous actresses, singers, and comedians who we love today are featured. Learning about this PBS initiative also made me reflect upon why there still is more improvement to be made. Especially after thinking about our class discussions, I really do think that homosocial reproduction, or the tendency for people to favor people who are most similar to them, is at the forefront. Maybe because we have so many men in authority positions right now, they prefer to hire other men and so competent women get left behind. I think this is a major reason why women may not be gaining a stronghold and ‘Makers’ does a great job at highlighting how these incredible women have pushed through boundaries like these.

I just think that while we fixate on everything that still needs to be done when gaining leadership roles for women, it is also important to concentrate on the great things that already have been done, as well. This way, focusing on the positive can encourage us to strive for even greater heights in the future. I have attached the trailer to the ‘Makers’ documentary, as well as their official website. I definitely think everyone should take a few moments to look through some of these women’s stories and see that there can be positivity in the face of adversity. What are your thoughts? Do you think it’s just as important to remember how far we have come as much as it is to remember just how much more we have to go?


  1. I love that you posted on the past and how far women have come. I agree that we have a way to go, but understanding, remembering, and acknowledging what other women have been through is a huge part of moving forward. We talked about the importance of girls finding role models, well, this type of video is the perfect opportunity to provide them with real women who have pushed through and seen change. My favorite quote from the clip was, “it wasn’t the guarantee to succeed but the opportunity to try”. In the whole movement of women in leadership, there is never a guarantee to succeed and that is not what women are fighting for. Then and now, women want at least the opportunity to succeed.
    I love this video and the idea behind highlighting what women have done. It is not just about looking to the past to remember, it is also a huge tool for moving forward. Change has happened, and just like with the women from the video braking barriers, change will continue to happen and more women will continue to succeed.

  2. I, too, think that even though it is important to think about how far we still have to go pertaining to women and leadership, it is even more crucial to focus on the labyrinth that women have navigated through to get us to where we are today. Instead of looking at the hurdles we still need to jump over, we need to realize how far we have made it so far! These women have provided excellent role models for young women and have made it easier to grow as leaders! Instead of being so worked up about having female CEOs and presidents, maybe we should focus on how hard past generations have worked to allow us to go to college and vote.

  3. I absolutely loved this post Kyra. I definitely agree with you on the fact that we should not only focus on how far we have to go for women to be well represented but also how far we have already come. While the discussions that we have had in class have been riveting, a lot of them have focused solely on the various issues women face within the workplace or on their journey to the workplace. In addition, we also discuss what should be done to fix the issues and what are the steps towards solving these problems. These are all important issues that should be addressed, but I do think that we all, myself included, get sidetracked and ignore the accomplishments that women have made and continue to make in the world.

    It is ironic that you wrote this post because lately I have had a really big issue with TV news channels. When the hour news comes on every morning or evening about 30-40 minutes of that time is focused on addressing shootings, thefts, death, crime, and any other problems that the local area is facing. The issue I have with this is that while those issues are important, there is hardly ever time where the positive actions done by people in society are mentioned. People are so fixated on the bad things that happen they fail to realize and acknowledge that there are actually people who are doing things to not only better themselves, but others. The topic of women and leadership is the same. Maybe if we focused less on what needs to improve for women to be equally represented and more on what women are actually doing now successfully we would be better off. We could learn from the women of the present and past to work towards creating a better environment for both men and women in the workplace.

  4. This video honestly made me cry. The importance of the revolution for women’s rights has been the biggest social movement thus far, as was said in the video. It affected all and although the same rights are not being fought for, there are more rights to be gained. PBS highlighting the plight of the woman is an important element to understanding how we can achieve equality across gender. So many documentaries and stories are being created to highlight to struggles and good deeds of being a woman that I think are important to bringing forth a new generation of women who will fight harder and better for equal rights in all realms.
    I also agree that, as a society, we do not always take the time out to celebrate the good and we only highlight the bad. When the bad is only focused on, that can show society that there is nothing to fight for. But, also acknowledging the good and push people forward to fight for something greater than themselves: the greater good for mankind.

  5. I completely agree with Camille. This video moved me more than I was expecting. I was taught that we are where we are because we are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. It’s important to remember that despite the continued struggle for equality, women have come such a long way from the perception they had before, and if we can move from the societal structure of the 1950’s, then we can continue moving forward today. I think we live in a world where the majority is unwilling to put forth effort on their part, or sacrifice much for the sake of bettering a cause. I believe the healthiest way to move forward is to remember the bad, celebrate the progress, acknowledge the struggles that may lay ahead and work tirelessly towards positive change. Above all, to remember our historical lineage and understand that our struggles are similar in many ways and we should spend our time uplifting on another rather than bringing each other down.

  6. This is one of my favorite posts because it’s so uplifting! I absolutely agree that we must talk about the positive things in order to make the best of a bad situation. I think when people always talk about how far women still have to come in order to be appreciated, it seems really overwhelming to them and I know it personally gives me the feeling that I should just give up. As all of my other classmates have said, this is a really moving video that impacts you more than you think. But while it’s a great point, I think that it can apply to more than just women and leadership. It can apply to leadership in general or almost any other field. I feel like sometimes we think that women are the only ones that have issues in being recognized as leaders and in other places, but we often forget that other people and other minorities face the same issues when looking for leadership. I think it’s great to place women in a different light, but I think this could also be a great message to help different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, etc. be seen as competent leaders in the same way that we, as women, want to be seen as competent. But I agree that this was moving and uplifting and puts a different spin on an issue that at times seems to be a little bit sad and hopeless. Great find!!

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