Living Role Models

Spending a good deal of time on college campuses, enmeshed in the world of contemporary women's issues, I am continually shocked at how little source material there is on the women's movement in America. The question being asked is along the lines of: What women have moved America to where it is today? The easy answers that I, and others I hear, give are often decades old (Eleanor Roosevelt) or assume that leadership for women is limited to how much political power they can assume (Sarah Palin). What makes me so excited about MAKERS is that it has made me challenge my own imagination. Not only will MAKERS make history current, but by providing a range of women who have achieved this living legacy will expand our definition of what it means to be a female leader. These examples will benefit both women who are trying to make it and all who are looking to be inspired by all of human kind.


What I see too often is college students on the brink of their own success (some of them in the midst of it) and yet their view of what is possible is still so limited. They are being empowered (by their parents, by their teachers, by their mentors) to think they can do it all, but without living role models of what is possible and what obstacles remain it’s so much harder for them. I can already imagine that MAKERS will be the perfect antidote and the best inspiration for these young women – exposing women who have achieved and humanizing them through the very simple process of letting them tell their story.


The few chronicles of women’s contributions that do exist tend to be one subject or one person – and too rooted in history, not living history. For instance, the few films that do exist tend to have been undertaken by well-meaning activists, not necessarily seasoned filmmakers. While that made for good facts, it didn't always make for the best story telling. For a project of this magnitude to have heft and trust, I think it crucial that the curators of this process have been those enmeshed in the women’s movement and equally those who haven’t been. A broader perspective on women’s participation is crucial if we are to inspire future generations.


MAKERS is changing all of that -- combining the vibrant history of the women who are making America with the chops of a top rate film production company and distribution vehicles such as AOL and PBS. The end result will surely secure women’s legacy in American history.


When Dyllan McGee and I first met about this germ of an idea, I couldn’t have imagined what has now been willed into existence. Because it was beyond my imagination, I have no doubt that its biggest asset will be moving others beyond their imaginations. 


// Amy Richards has been an advisor to MAKERS since its very inception, many years ago. She is a writer, co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation, and one of the extraordinary Groundbreakers whose story will soon appear on //