The Ascent of Woman

Watch The Ascent of Woman

  • Not Rated
  • 2015
  • 1 Season
  • 8.0  (252)

The Ascent of Woman is a four-part documentary series that premiered on BBC Two in August 2015. The show explores the history of women's role in society throughout human history, spanning from ancient times to the present day. The series is presented by British historian and writer Dr. Amanda Foreman, who takes viewers on a journey around the world as she examines the ways in which women have been oppressed, exploited, and marginalized by patriarchal societies. At the same time, she highlights the various ways in which women have been able to overcome these systemic barriers and achieve great things throughout history.

The first episode of the series focuses on the origins of patriarchy, exploring how early societies were more egalitarian and women were often revered for their role as creators of life. However, as society became more complex, men began to take on more dominant roles and women were relegated to secondary status. Dr. Foreman points out that the roots of patriarchy are not biological, but rather cultural and political.

In the second episode, Dr. Foreman travels to different parts of the world to examine how women have been able to overcome patriarchal structures. She talks to women in Afghanistan who risk their lives to fight for their basic rights, as well as women in China who are trying to balance their desire for freedom with the need to maintain traditional family roles. The episode also examines the fight for women's suffrage in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The third episode of the series focuses on women's economic and educational advances throughout history. Dr. Foreman examines the ways in which women have been able to break down barriers in education, like the founding of women's colleges in the US, and how the advent of the industrial revolution changed the roles of women in the workforce. The episode also highlights the contributions of women in science and technology throughout various periods in history.

The final episode of the series examines the modern feminist movement and the ways in which women are still fighting for equality around the world. Dr. Foreman explores the impact of the #MeToo movement and other grassroots movements that have helped to raise awareness about sexual harassment, assault, and violence against women. She also discusses the work that still needs to be done to achieve equal pay and representation for women in politics and other arenas.

Throughout the series, Dr. Foreman draws on her extensive knowledge of history and her engaging storytelling style to educate viewers about the ways in which patriarchy has shaped our societies and the various ways in which women have been able to resist and overcome. The show is visually stunning, with beautiful cinematography and expertly curated archival materials. It is also emotionally impactful, shining a light on the many struggles and triumphs of women throughout history.

Overall, The Ascent of Woman is an important and highly informative series that sheds light on an often-overlooked aspect of history. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in women's studies, history, or gender equality.

The Ascent of Woman is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (4 episodes). The series first aired on September 2, 2015.

The Ascent of Woman
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4. Revolution
September 23, 2015
In this final episode, Dr. Amanda Foreman looks at the role of women in revolutions that have transformed the modern world: from political uprisings to reproductive rights. Amanda discovers through women like campaigner and writer Olympe De Gouges that the French Revolution's promise of equality, liberty and brotherhood would be limited to men; Bolshevik radical Alexandra Kollontai would find that while her fellow Russian Revolutionaries may have put women's rights at the forefront of ideological change, the post-revolutionary world would be as rife with gender bias as the societies they'd helped transform.
3. Power
September 16, 2015
Dr. Amanda Foreman travels to Istanbul, Germany, Paris and Delhi to explore the stories of women behind some of the most powerful empires of the Middle Ages. From 6th century Byzantium to Medieval Europe, the Ottoman Court to the Mughal Empire, Amanda looks behind the male dominated perceptions of these empires to reveal the strength of women at the heart of power and influence.
2. Separation
September 9, 2015
Covering a period from the 1st century AD to the present day, Amanda looks at how Asian ideals of feminine virtue and the division of space between the female world of the home and male world of business and politics became a hallmark of Chinese identity. Part of yin and yang, they have cast a long shadow across women's lives - not just in China, but across Asia.
1. Civilisation
September 2, 2015
Amanda looks at the nomadic worlds of the Eurasian Steppes and the early civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome as she finds out how early civilisations dealt with the roles and status of women.
Where to Watch The Ascent of Woman
The Ascent of Woman is available for streaming on the BBC Two website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Ascent of Woman on demand at Apple TV Channels and Amazon Prime.
  • Premiere Date
    September 2, 2015
  • IMDB Rating
    8.0  (252)