In a year when women are mobilizing and running for office in unprecedented numbers, Women, War & Peace returns Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26, 9-11 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). The new series demonstrates how some of the biggest international stories of recent memory are shaped by women. An all-female cast of directors present four never-before-told stories about the women who risked their lives for peace, changing history in the process.
Women, War & Peace II is executive produced by Abigail Disney and Gini Reticker for Fork Films and Stephen Segaller for THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. The original groundbreaking documentary series Women, War & Peace premiered on PBS in 2011.
If today’s movements signal a future marked by gender equality, Women, War & Peace II looks to the past to see exactly—and how effectively—women can make that happen. The first two films look at two movements: one in Northern Ireland, the other in Palestine, in the late twentieth century. Directed by Eimhear O’Neill, Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs follows the all-female political party in Northern Ireland, where years of violent strife compel a group of Catholic and Protestant women to demand a seat at the negotiating table for the Good Friday Agreement—a deal that stands to this day.
Meanwhile, director Julia Bacha takes us to 1980s Gaza, where, as shown in Naila and the Uprising, a non-violent women’s movement formed the heart of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. The film revolves around the tragic and remarkable story of Naila Ayesh, a student organizer and activist who joins a secret network of women in a movement that brings together the disparate organizations protesting Israeli occupation.
The second two films of contemporary women activists and organizers chart the path forward for international peacebuilding and security. A Journey of a Thousand Miles, directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, follows one of the world’s few all-female peacekeeping units. As 160 Bangladeshi women embark on a UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti following the devastating 2011 earthquake, they confront extreme poverty and devastated healthcare systems in their effort to build peace.
Gini Reticker then transports the series to Egypt in 2011, where the euphoria of the Arab Spring quickly runs into headwinds. In The Trials of Spring, the film follows the journeys of three Egyptian women as they fight for the goals of the popular movement: “bread, freedom and social justice” for all. But caught between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, the women soon find themselves being pushed backwards.
Seven years after the original debut of the mini-series, Women, War & Peace II premieres at a critical political moment where women are calling for a seat at the table. In uncovering untold histories of those who have made that possible, the series reveals their transformative power and the long road ahead for contemporary peacebuilders around the world.