Wisconsin Women Making History

The Wisconsin Women Making History Project is an innovative public media initiative designed to advocate, connect, and empower women, girls and their allies across the state to celebrate women as leaders, innovators, and scholars who have transformed our state. The project is part of the national PBS/ITVS Women and Girls Lead multi-year initiative. Women and girls everywhere are becoming leaders in business, the arts, science, and politics – yet they lack equal opportunities worldwide. Women and Girls Lead responded to this gap with a public media campaign that used documentary films to showcase extraordinary women and girls who are changing the world. In collaboration with NGOs, public television, and media partners, Women and Girls Lead engaged audiences and sparked activities that promoted leadership development, violence prevention, and economic empowerment.

Wisconsin women and girls have historically stepped into leadership roles, worked to improve their communities, and innovated in science, the arts, business and governance.  The Wisconsin Women Making History Project will create an online hall of honor, featuring stories of significant Wisconsin women of note or who represent the vital role women have played in the history of Wisconsin.  Through partnerships with the Wisconsin Historical SocietyWisconsin Humanities CouncilPBS Wisconsin Education, and the UW Women’s Studies Consortium, communities will become in engaged in honoring the women of Wisconsin’s past and guiding tomorrow’s leaders.

Nominate a Wisconsin woman

Wisconsin Women Making History is an online resource for students, educators, and anyone interested in learning more about the Wisconsin women who have shaped history in our state and around the world. This site will include a searchable database of biographies, images, and resources about the women who have contributed to Wisconsin, United States, or world history across a broad range of topics. To nominate a Wisconsin woman to be included, fill out this form: bit.ly/WWMH-Nominate

Attend free screenings

Public libraries and other non-profit organizations across Wisconsin have hosted free screenings of films focused on women’s issues.  Each screening is hosted by an expert discussion leader to help further the reach of the film’s message and encourage action within the community.

In partnership with the UW Women’s Studies Consortium and the Wisconsin Humanities Council, Wisconsin Public Television’s Reel to Real program will offer a series of films focusing on women around the world.  These films are available for public screenings, and we will work with your organization to find a subject matter expert to engage your event attendees in a discussion about the topics addressed in the film.  Funds will be available from the Wisconsin Humanities Council to cover speaker fees.

The featured films are:

Wisconsin’s Nazi Resistance — The Mildred Fish-Harnack Story 
This documentary tells the story of Mildred Fish-Harnack — a Wisconsin native who was the only American woman executed on the direct order of Adolf Hitler — from birth in Milwaukee to 1930s Germany and her eventual arrest and execution in 1942.

Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams
Vel Phillips achieved many firsts. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from the UW-Madison Law School, the first African-American judge in Wisconsin, and the first woman and African-American to be elected Wisconsin Secretary of State. This documentary is the first to tell her story.

Six brand-new documentaries in the MAKERS project feature groundbreaking American women in different spheres of influence: war, comedy, space, business, Hollywood and politics.

The creators of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide present a new film that goes to Colombia, Haiti, Kenya, and the United States to uncover the harshest forms of gender-based oppression and human rights violations, and the solutions being implemented to combat them.

Here are some ways to learn more about our Reel to Real project and Women and Girls Lead:

Reel to Real screening events