Netflix Has a Whole Selection of Documentaries About Women, and Yes, We're Watching Them All
As if Netflix isn't already delivering some of the best content out there (yes, we're talking about Love Is Blind), the streaming service is continuing to impress us, and this time it's with some of the most interesting, empowering, and truly unbelievable documentaries about women that we've ever seen. From Princess Diana recounting her life in her very own words to a look at Beyoncé's historic 2018 Coachella performance, these real-life stories about women around the world will have you at the edge of your seat.
Each documentary portrays the trials and tribulations that come with being a woman, whether it's Taylor Swift opening up about her struggles with an eating disorder or girls in India fighting against the stigma surrounding menstruation. Read on to see the best documentaries on Netflix about women ahead, and trust us when we say that you'll be watching these long after Women's History Month.
— Additional reporting by Corinne Sullivan and Stacey Nguyen
The Goop Lab
From energy healing to the use of psychedelic drugs and everything in between, Gwyneth Paltrow's The Goop Lab dives into wellness topics like never before. You'll be surprised at how much you learn about Paltrow, women's sexuality, and more.
Period. End of Sentence.
This 2018 documentary captures how a group of women in India lead a quiet but powerful sexual revolution. With the stigma surrounding menstruation as prominent as ever, they began manufacturing sanitary pads, which not only gave women access to basic hygiene products, but also helped their community shed the taboos that previously surrounded periods.
Take a peek inside the life of the late star Amy Winehouse in this gripping documentary. With home videos, interviews, and real-life footage of the singer's time here on Earth, this doc dives head-first into how she went from being a fun-loving teen to a deeply troubled star. It's candid, raw, and a must-watch if you're a fan of her music.
Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
Maya Angelou was an iconic writer, poet, actress, and activist who lived a remarkable life until the very end. Her story has inspired generations after her to push boundaries, do what is right, and stand up for what they believe in. This documentary tells her amazing story and makes you realize just how important she is to our culture as a whole.
This 2017 Oscar-nominated film follows three courageous women as they work to restore a small town in West Virginia to what it was before the opioid epidemic took hold. A judge, a fire chief, and a street missionary work together to help their community recover from the devastating effects of drug abuse.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
"Beauty and brains" is one way of describing Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr. As one of Hollywood's leading actresses in the 1940s, Lamarr's glamour, talent, and sex appeal were hard to miss. However, the star had much more to offer than just that. She was a talented inventor who created a radio system that's now considered the basis of Bluetooth technology. (We weren't kidding when we said brains.)
Diana: In Her Own Words
This 2017 documentary will give you chills when you hear the beloved princess detailing her very own life. Made with the recordings that Princess Diana voiced for Andrew Morton's book Diana: Her True Story — in Her Own Words, this film details the life and events that surrounded the late princess.
20 Feet From Stardom
Based on some of the most impressive backup singers, 20 Feet From Stardom highlights the people who don't always take center stage. Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, and Merry Clayton are just a few of the awe-inspiring women featured in this powerful film.
Betty White: First Lady of Television
Betty White: First Lady of Television gives a look into Betty White's exciting life and career. The film features handfuls of behind-the-scenes clips of her work on TV, as well as interviews from her friends and former costars. You can also get a glimpse at how funny and down to earth she actually is!
Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea.
Chelsea Handler takes a deeper look at the realities of white privilege in this one-hour documentary. From how it has impacted American culture to the ways in which it has benefited her career, Handler takes a microscope to the problems in our society that have stemmed from racial injustice.
Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature
After dancing with the New York City Ballet for over three decades, Wendy Whelan prepares to leave the life she always knew. This film follows her journey while she battles a painful injury that's keeping her from dancing and making the remainder of her career uncertain. Her strength, resilience, and hope for the future make this documentary as powerful as it sounds.
Brené Brown: The Call to Courage
Professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host Brené Brown shares her views on courage and vulnerability in this hour-long doc. Her research centers on topics like shame and empathy, which somehow makes this film a mix between a motivational speech and a stand-up comedy special. You'll laugh, learn, and hopefully have more than a couple inspirational tips to take away.
Offering a mix of onstage and backstage footage and intimate interviews, this documentary gives viewers an inside look at the life of pop star Taylor Swift. She covers everything from struggles with disordered eating to her mom's cancer diagnosis and her journey to finding her voice. It's a must-watch for T-Swift fans.
This 2011 documentary provides a major dose of girl power, noting the ways in which mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women in powerful positions. Including interviews with Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Condoleezza Rice, and Gloria Steinem, among many others, the film works to show why there need to be more positive women role models in the media.
Written, directed, and executive-produced by Beyoncé herself, this epic concert documentary follows the legendary artist leading up to her memorable Coachella performance in 2018. The film offers an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the concert, which started as a creative concept and ended up becoming an iconic moment in pop culture.
This documentary focuses on both the public and private life of the country's highest-profile women's rights attorney, Gloria Allred, who is best known for taking on Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. The film makes a persuasive case for Allred's skill and influence, attempting to dismiss her many detractors and haters.
Gaga: Five Foot Two
Leading up to her 2017 Super Bowl halftime performance, this documentary gives an intimate look into the life of Lady Gaga and the pop star's daily physical and emotional struggles. If you're a Gaga fan but don't actually know all that much about her personal life, then this is a must-watch.
Knock Down the House
This inspiring documentary follows the political journeys of four women — a bartender from the Bronx, a coal miner's daughter from West Virginia, a grieving mother from Nevada, and a nurse from Missouri — who challenged powerful incumbents and helped the Democrats win control of the House of Representatives in 2018.
This six-part docuseries follows the nationally ranked 40-member Navarro College Cheer Team from Corsicana, TX, as they prepare to compete in the National Cheerleading Championship held annually in Daytona, FL. Why does this series have a huge following, you ask? Because Coach Monica Aldama is tough AF, the stories of the cheerleaders on the team will make you weep, and — most stressful of all — there are only 20 spots on the mat, so only half the team actually competes. This show is not for the faint of heart.
This documentary tells the little-known story of the women who trained and tested for space flight in 1961, but whose dreams were dashed when only men were selected to become astronauts. These women — known as the Mercury 13 — took part in an unofficial program run by a NASA researcher to give women a place in space, and though the program was inexplicably shut down, this film allows these women to talk about their experience.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
This Oscar-nominated biographical documentary tells the story of Nina Simone, a classically trained pianist, legendary recording artist, and trailblazing civil rights activist. Rare insight is given into the life of the controversial icon, all told through never-before-heard recordings, rare archival footage, and her best-known hits.
Girls Incarcerated: Young and Locked Up
This docuseries profiles various young women incarcerated at a juvenile correctional facility in Madison, IN. From romances to celebrating milestones and to breaking down emotional walls, this show is far more tender than you may expect from a prison documentary.
Surviving R. Kelly
This documentary tells the stories of the women who survived the abuse, predatory behavior, and pedophilia of R&B singer R. Kelly. People from inside R. Kelly's inner circle come forward to tell never-before-heard stories that expose the dark life of the singer. Though R. Kelly has been virtually unaffected and unpunished for any of the many accusations against him, this documentary series works to shed light on the sexual, mental, and physical abuse he perpetrated and bring his survivors justice.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
One of the most important figures of the Stonewall riots, Marsha P. Johnson has been called the "Rosa Parks" of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. But when she was found dead in 1992, her body suspiciously floating in the Hudson River, her case went cold and was ruled a suicide. In this documentary, transgender rights activist Victoria Cruz looks into Johnson's death while paying homage to her friend's strides for the LGBTQ+ community.
100 Years: One Woman's Fight For Justice
100 Years follows the activism of Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet woman who looked into the missing money from government-managed Indian Trust accounts. She sought justice for 300,000 Native Americans whose mineral-rich lands were mismanaged by United States officials, spearheading the largest class action suit ever filed against the federal government in 1996.
Besides Selma, 13th is probably one of Ava DuVernay's most recognized works about race in America. In particular, the director examines the unsettling relationship between race and mass incarceration, bringing in the voices of activists such as Angela Davis.
Feminists: What Were They Thinking?
In this provocative Netflix documentary, women look at pictures from the '70s that capture the women liberation movement and reflect on the urgency for continued activism. Interview subjects in the film include women such as Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Laurie Anderson.
Reversing Roe, as its title succinctly suggests, is about the decades-long efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that established a woman's right to get an abortion. It looks at historical footage as well as new interviews of both proponents and opponents of the right to abortion.
Audrie & Daisy
Though it was released over four years ago, this film is just as topical as ever. It revolves around two young women who live across the country from each other, but who both were sexually assaulted during a high school party while they were unconscious, both by men whom they considered to be their friends. Their stories as survivors will leave you in awe of their strength.
A riveting seven-part documentary series, The Keepers tells the story of the unsolved murder of a Baltimore nun and the chilling secrets that have been uncovered decades after her death. Sister Cathy Cesnik was a beloved nun and Catholic-high-school teacher who went missing in 1969, and to this day, no one knows who wanted her dead. The ways in which her family and friends are trying to find justice will remind you that the power of sisterhood is stronger than anything else.