‘Women, War & Peace II’ Returns to PBS in Honor of Women’s History Month

Women War & Peace
Hend Nafea, survivor of torture at the hands of Egyptian security forces, on her way to stand trial for protesting military rule. (Courtesy of: Mohamed S. Amir)

It’s not that women were written out of history, they were never written in and, as a consequence, we are failing to hear voices that ought to be heard.

Women, War & Peace II uncovers the neglected histories of women who played a major role in ending conflicts and building peace. In a year when more women were elected to office than any other time in U.S. history, this series of four remarkable films, all with female directors, delves into the stories of women tackling tremendous obstacles to effect political changes.

@Photo by Derek Speirs

The first two films look at two movements: one in Northern Ireland, the other in Palestine. 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.

Courtesy of: Mahfouz Abu Turk

Meanwhile, Peabody-winning director Julia Bacha takes us to 1980s Gaza in Naila and the Uprising. The film revolves around the tragic remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh, who played a key role in the nonviolent Palestinian uprising known as the First Intifada. Faced with a choice between love, family and freedom, she embraced all three, joining a clandestine network of Palestinian women who led a movement that put Palestinians on the map.


The second two films of contemporary women activists charts the path forward for international peace-building and security. A Journey of a Thousand Miles, directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, follows three Bangladeshi women in an all-female, predominantly Muslim unit of police officers as they 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. The film dramatically shows how this journey forever alters the lives of these three courageous women and their families, shattering every stereotype the world holds about the capabilities of Muslim women.

Courtesy of: Mosireen Archive

Gini Reticker then transports the series to Egypt in 2011 for 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. Chanting “Egyptian Women will never be stripped,” activists call for an end to the increasing political violence targeting women. 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 reveals the transformative power of women and the long road ahead for the contemporary peace-builders around the world.

Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs, Monday, March 25, 9/8c, PBS

The Trials of Spring, Monday, March 25, 10/9c, PBS

Naila and the Uprising, Tuesday, March 26, 9/8c, PBS

A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers, Tuesday, March 26, 10/9c, PBS